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About the Author
Doctor Raven is a upcoming freelance journalist for the Goth community who originally got his start in the Christian Goth fanzine, The Unscene Zine, a publication of The First Church of the Living Dead located in Decatur, IL. He has featured articles and interviews with multiple bands in the Christian Goth scene as well as talented secular Goth acts including the very talented, Voltaire. Since then, he has made it a point to profile all aspects of the Goth community, including recently having a band interview featured in Drop Dead magazine. When not devoting spare time to his family, writing for Goth Magazines and Fanzines, or scheduling interviews with upcoming Goth acts, he devotes his time to his favorite hobby: Aracnoculture and Tarantula care. Dr. Ravens FAQ can also be found on his MySpace page.
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Photo Courtesy Rebecca Hohm

Goth Help Us
Doctor Raven
One of the hardest issues many in the Goth community have to continue to address regularly is the stereotypes applied to our subculture, our world view, and our lifestyle. For years, in an attempt to educate people on the fringe of our culture or outside of it entirely, many well meaning individuals have attempted to breakdown the horrid stereotypes erroneously applied due to harsh aesthetic we prefer.
Throughout the Goth communities early days, a falsehood continued to be erroneously applied. Held over from the Punk and Metal eras of music history, many conservatives maintain Goths continue the Punk stereotype of being lazy and/or violent people. From this, a continued media portrayal showed the Goth culture in a poorly cast role: that of the neglected and isolated freak bent on eventual snap and nihilistic destruction of self. The question a great many Goths continue to ask and attempt to find an answer to: Could something positive be found in our community that is regularly vilified and can we use that more presentable idea to improve the image of our own subculture?
The Goth community has long been part of restructuring and humanitarian efforts despite many negative articles about the warnings of the dangers of ‘The Gothic Rock Threat’. Reporters quickly seeking to write some lurid article profiling the mysterious underground scene never touch on the positive elements within our dark community. On a grassroots level often only in small local scenes, Goths have organized minor efforts in their respective communities the world over. Small blood drives, litter patrols for their favorite cemeteries, and toy drives for the terminally ill children are common sights we see in small pocket Goth communities. Even during the rebuilding of the nearly destroyed New Orleans, local Goths networked with other Goths in small numbers to lend helpings hands to the rebuilding effort of the once beautiful city.
Through art, community activism, and charity work, many of our earlier examples of the Gothic culture showed the world that one could be revolutionary without being destructive; we as a community are able to create something unique from the long gone and sometimes forgotten ideals of bygone days. Sometimes that included a rare commodity in this modern era, compassion through humanitarian aid. No effort was wasted in giving something back. For every “Kimveer Gill” out there, a thousand more people like Rebecca Holm and Ashton Nyte stood up to give back again. But no large scale effort had been launched to network the underground before.
Recently an international organization has risen up to network those Goths with a passion for volunteerism. The newly created “Goth Help Us International”, founded by Rebecca Hohm describes the community outreach as “An organization helping humanity, therefore changing the worlds attitude to the Gothic community”. This group allows Goths to network first locally within their cities and states along with national and international groups of Goths willing to put together a great effort to portray the Goth community in a better light.
From its initial founding date on April 1, 2006, the organization originally titled “Goth Help Us” began with only three members. Its rapid growth via internet networking and underground communication has created a complete network community of 27 chapters in over seven different countries comprising over 4000 members. Each chapter is organized within major local city regions holding events to assist with local charity and humanitarian needs. With the addition of chapters in Birmingham and London UK, Sydney, Australia, Tokyo, Japan, and chapters in the Netherlands, Spain, and France, the organization adopted the name Goth Help Us International. They are continually adding new chapters across the globe.
Initially reactions from the Goth community seemed mixed. Many people wanted to believe that “Goth Help Us” was another faith based group attempting to convert Goths and Punks to another bombastic monotheistic rhetoric. In true Goth form, the organization takes the newfound ideology of coexistence with all faiths, creeds, and ethnicities to be itís paramount ideal. Goth Help Us International does have several members and volunteers who are Christians but they do not as an organization place any special importance or rank on its Christian members above and beyond its Bahai, Buddhist, Mormon, or even Satanist members. In fact, all faiths and creeds are welcome to attend and contribute to the grassroots organization freely. The goal is to contribute as an underground community to lend credence to the idea that Goths are not violent sociopaths. Rather, it lends truth to the idea that we continue to pick up the broken and forgotten pieces of society and put them back together in new and inventive methods.
While many continue to hold a skeptics eye, media attention has proven to be remarkably positive at “Goth Help Us International” gatherings. Although the media was quick to profile the ‘Violent Goth’ before, the example presented by “Goth Help Us International” in recent media interviews is anything but violent or destructive. Working as a humanitarian organization, the group works with all forms of Charities from Homeless Shelters, The Humane Society, Habitat for Humanity, and The Red Cross.
Many of the current examples of volunteer projects that “Goth Help Us International” has started include:
  • Drivers for ride shares in a Need-A-Goth program for people under the influence
  • Escorting and assisting grieving elderly individuals at cemeteries
  • Food service at homeless shelters for adults and children
  • Blood drives
  • Toy drives
  • Beach clean-ups
  • Housing cleanup for the disabled
  • Animal care for the Humane Society as a volunteer caregiver walking and exercising animals, in food preparation, or even protesting of animal cruelty
The organizations founder, Rebecca Holm, has also been a volunteer at Rape Crisis centers and Suicide Awareness centers to assist those people who are most hurting. The list continues to grow as new chapters to the organization are added daily and new ideas come in on a regular basis.
Many bands and acts have expressed direct interest in “Goth Help Us International” and their humanitarian efforts. To date however most benefit shows primarily feature local bands and acts depending on the chapter area and its coordinators. With growing media attention however, a number of larger acts are beginning to express an interest in performing benefit shows featuring information about “Goth Help Us International”. Many Goth acts currently already have an existing cause or charity that they work with and support. Networking other interested Goths to lend support or financial assistance seems a natural conclusion.
As an international organization, “Goth Help Us” has acquired outside interest from other international music acts including the recent addition of Ashton Nyte of the popular South African Goth act The Awakening. Ashton recently joined as Goth Help Us Internationals’ new Minister of Peace and Unity, and plans a full US tour in the fall of 2007 with plans to heavily promote Goth Help Us International and its efforts as a major theme of The Awakening’s upcoming act.
For further information on how to volunteer or perhaps start or join a chapter in your area locally, the following information may prove useful. Many Goths hide inside their homes briefly venturing out for fear of what the world thinks of us. There is no need to fear judgmental attitudes, all are welcome to attend the events and contribute ideas, Goth and Non-Goth. Make a break from stereotype conventions and support community humanitarian needs. “Goth Help Us International” welcomes any and all contributors willing to lend support.
Photos courtesy of founder Rebecca Holm