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Every Mother Counts: Christy’s Voice

Christy Turlington Burns

We asked guest blogger Christy Turlington Burns to describe the creation of the Every Mother Counts CD from her point of view. Christy’s documentary about worldwide maternal health, No Woman, No Cry, airs on May 7 at 9:30 p.m. EST/PST on the OWN Network.

It was exactly this time last spring when I woke up early to get my kids off to school and head back into the edit room to finish, No Woman, No Cry. Our deadline was looming as the Tribeca Film Festival was literally upon us, where we were slated to premiere the film (after nearly 2 years of hard work).

As was my usual routine, I scrolled through emails. I gulped my coffee down and nearly choked when I noticed an email had come in from Howard Schultz. I had met Howard briefly in fall 2009 at the home of a mutual friend and was surprised to hear from him.

Howard’s email to me read more or less like: “… it has come to my attention that you are currently making a documentary about maternal health and Starbucks would like to find a way to support your work” …

This was one of those emails that you read several times to be sure you have read what you think you have read. I responded immediately with a very enthusiastic, yet somewhat controlled, “Yes, I would very much welcome an opportunity to partner with Starbucks for maternal health.”

What followed was a conference call with my producer and friend, Dallas Brennan Rexer, and several people from Starbucks: Laura and Vivek Varma, Chris Bruzzo and David Legry, (the man, father and walking music lexicon) who had brought my project to his team at Starbucks after reading an article about the documentary I was making.

One year later, after a great deal of hard work, dedication and utter persistence, we celebrated with the launch of the Every Mother Counts CD in participating Starbucks stores across the United States and Canada.

I am so proud of this CD, as it represents the link between the film and an audience who likely has yet to learn about the global tragedy of maternal mortality. This incredible, soulful collection of songs contributed by these powerhouse-artist-mamas is exactly the aim of the Every Mother Counts campaign – to engage and mobilize mainstream audiences to action. There is perhaps nothing more engaging and universal than music. If you listen closely, what comes across most is the absolute strength and vulnerability of our moms. What better way to celebrate our mothers than by elevating our very existence through these “sweet and bittersweet” songs about motherhood?

Our goal is to engage people who never considered how big this issue is with a message that you can help and make a difference. I invite you to learn more by visiting everymothercounts.org. Join our Facebook community, and share your own story about what it felt like becoming a mom with a tapestry of moms from around the world all united by this universal issue.

Thank you for listening, for caring and for sharing, if it so moves you. Remember, $8 from the sale of each Every Mother Counts CD in Starbucks stores will be donated to CARE, in association with Every Mother Counts, to support maternal health care worldwide. Your purchase of this CD will help to benefit maternal health programs in coffee-growing countries, which just so happen to carry some of the highest burdens of maternal deaths.

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