Giants Fever In New York City

It was beautiful to be amongst New Yorkers and folks filled to the brim with Super Bowl joy! The experience was bitter-sweet. Located opposite of City Hall Plaza, through the bare, winter trees, the new, unfinished World Trade Towers, could be bee seen. I couldn’t help but to be reminded of 911 soot that once lay thick on these streets, where confetti and team pride materials now lie happily under everyone’s feet for the moment. There were 2,977 reasons to mourn and we did, for each and every life taken, and now we had one big reason to celebrate, the Super Bowl, and so we did that too, in the same place, on the very same grounds of 911.

It is my hope that there are always more positive events than negative ones that serve as a catalyst and a reason for people to unite and come together.


New World Trade Towers in progress of construction, I can’t help but to think of 911, located right across from thousands of raving New York Giants fans.



Is Wiki’s B. Harris Pulling Our Legs?

I ended up on Wikipedia’s site from a Google search, and clicked a giant blue link leading to Brandon Harris’s open letter to the public and damn, it’s pretty good, so good that I’m re-posting it here on my blog as an example of how to write a damn good fundraising letter (see at the end of this post).

Brandon Harris’s letter wailed on my heart strings, and so  I’ve emptied my already empty pockets to support Wikipedia. Does this make me a sucker? Is Brandon pulling my leg? Our legs? Well, my head isn’t totally in the clouds, and I can sense the contemptuous and weary or downright bitter folks cringing at the computer screen, offended by the nerve or the cojones of this global force we know as Wikipedia, asking for donations from the public – the same public who has been economically bulldozed to an oblivion, including the arguably wealthy (dare I mention).

Global force or not, why shouldn’t  Wikipedia ask  the public for support when its the public that it serves? Did you ever use it?  Many will not contribute to Wikipedia’s fundraiser simply due to the sentiment that somebody else will do it or the general thought that Wikipedia will be just fine because they are already a force, huge and influential.  (The idea that someone else will donate because there are millions who use it reminds me of a point made in Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tippoing Point regarding The Power of Context to which I won’t go into details here – we could go off on a tangent later.)

So why do I care?

Brandon’s letter appeals to me NOT because of a gullibility factor (which some may feel inclined to assert), but because I am a budding writer amidst a growing, grassroots fundraiser campaign called 500NAMES to which I recently donated and hope to see reach its fundraising goals. Like Wikipedia’s own  Brandon Harris (a Programmer) lending his voice to raise awareness and funds for his cause and place of work, there is New York City’s own, Rock WILK who is fundraising too, but without global appeal, 113 names into his 500NAMES campaign with $3,740 raised in a little over a week. Rock WILK is working not only as a Playwright, Composer and Performer but also as a business man, engaging his audience and followers, and gaining the support  needed to fund a commercial run of a fully produced show, his life’s work, BROKE WIDE OPEN, a musical, the true life story of his adoption and search for identity and home.

Two fundraisers, two totally different worlds, one shared purpose; to raise funds that will help sustain and make accessible something very valuable and meaningful to the public –  I support both (Wikipedia for obvious reasons and 500NAMES because I support theater arts and the sharing of incredible true life stories). Whether grassroots or global, in the media or under a rock, if I use it, enjoy it, learn or grow from it why wouldn’t I consider supporting it? Why wouldn’t you?

More —->Wikipedia’s Fundraiser

More —–> 500NAMES Fundraiser

Here’s Brandon’s letter that I thought was pretty damn good:

From Wikipedia programmer Brandon Harris

I feel like I’m living the first line of my obituary. I don’t think there will be anything else that I do in my life as important as what I do now for Wikipedia. We’re not just building an encyclopedia, we’re working to make people free. When we have access to free knowledge, we are better people. We understand the world is bigger than us, and we become infected with tolerance and understanding. Wikipedia is the 5th largest website in the world. I work at the small non-profit that keeps it on the web. We don’t run ads because doing so would sacrifice our independence. The site is not and should never be a propaganda tool.Our work is possible because of donations from our readers. Will you help protect Wikipedia by donating $5, $20, $50 or whatever you can afford?I work at the Wikimedia Foundation because everything in my soul tells me it’s the right thing to do. I’ve worked at huge tech companies, doing some job to build some crappy thing that’s designed to steal money from some kid who doesn’t know it. I would come home from work crushed.You might not know this, but the Wikimedia Foundation operates with a very small staff. Most other top-ten sites have tens of thousands of people and massive budgets. But they produce a fraction of what we pull off with sticks and wire. When you give to Wikipedia, you’re supporting free knowledge around the world. You’re not only leaving a legacy for your children and for their children, you’re elevating people around the world who have access to this treasure. You’re assuring that one day everyone else will too.
Thank you,
Brandon Harris
Programmer, Wikimedia Foundation
# # #
By the way, after writing this post, I noticed that there are several Wikipedia letters  out there for public consumption that are all really great and so, Brandon’s letter just happen to be the first one that I saw. As of today, I’ve only seen ONE letter, and its from the founder of Wikipedia himself, Jimmy Wales, and still, its all good!

500 NAMES Campaign Logo – My Design Makes The Cut!

Is it possible to grow as a designer or an artist without constructive criticism? I submitted my previous design for the 500NAMES campaign and received great feedback. Rock WILK, the client (and amazing artist) requested that I fix ONE thing about the previous design. He wanted me to increase the visibility of the text “FIVE” (located behind “500”). That was it, at least at first. He then  mentioned wanting to be able to use the text “500Names” portion of the design as a logo – which was vital. I changed the opacity of the “FIVE” and it no longer felt strong to me, it felt dark and heavy, and so  I  was compelled to re-approach this project with new eyes, bearing in mind the logo idea. I did the unthinkable and started from scratch, only retaining some portion of the font treatment. The end result is posted above and was submitted. This is the first time that I’ve ever incorporated an  image within the text/characters, which wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t get the feedback that I got. Constructive criticism goes a long way and its important for me as a designer to be open to it and apply it as best as I can.

Rock WILK has already incorporated this design on his website!  Check it out LIVE here.  I think I will still build upon this design and incorporate the names of his donors as I did in the first iteration …the mental wheels are turning…

500 Names Fundraiser Broke Wide Open

Design by Ebony Brown: 500 NAMES

New graphic design work! I’m waiting to hear back from Rock WILK, to see if he likes this design. What do you all think? I usually make two or three iterations of a design for a client but this time I only made ONE – for some reason, I felt very strongly about it, although I’m not quite sure how this design unfolded without  the use of a single photograph. I’ll have an opportunity to add some later because for every 50 something donors, I could possibly create a new poster  listing the latest contributors until the campaign goal of 500 names/donors is reached AND it will be reached – I believe in this artist. I happen to be a proud donor, the very first one for this particular fundraiser and if you dig Theater Arts, music  and true life stories that heal, help and inspire people of all ages, from all walks of life, then take my word and learn more about this project and consider donating too – wow – that would make my day! I don’t know any other artist out there right now that deserves your donation more. Rock WILK is a massive talent and an incredible human being. Help me, help him! If you do actually donate, please let me know.

I’ve seen Rock’s Musical, BROKE WIDE OPEN three times and each time that I’ve seen it, I’ve been moved to tears, to laughter, to deep gratitude, and to a keen sense of renewal, awareness, loss and love. Performed nationally and internationally, the next show  is scheduled for March 2012, in Trenton, New Jersey at the Passage Theater – save the ball park date! More information is on his website.

To learn more about the 500 Names Broke Wide Open Fundraiser  Campaign and to donate, go to


UPDATES #1 Dec. 19th:

Stephen Young, your name has been added to the list at as #59 (see below), 439 names to go! $2268 raised so far!


El Grito De Poetas – Founding Member, Tito Luna

 Tito Luna, Founding Member of  El Grito De Poetas performing his spoken word.


Vintage Car in New York City

I stumbled across this little gem when I was in New York City.


Dear Black Friday, Good Riddance And Thanks!

So, how did you fair?  Did you get that ridiculously insane sale you were hoping for? Did you shop online or in stores?  Dare I openly utter that, I, “Ebony Brown” stood up Black Friday [ Gasp] which could be the best or stupidest decision I’ll own – I feel OK with this for now – but I will probably kick myself just a little bit when I find out all that I could have racked up on.

Photo Credit:

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