#timesup

I Received an Amazing Email...and I'm going to share it with you...

Holy crap, last week was an emotional roller coaster ride for me.

THE BEGINNING:

As you know, (one of the things) that keeps me up at night is our situation at the border. In an effort to take action and help in any way I can, I decided to do a drive to collect in-kind donations for the Kino Border Initiative. I felt super excited about this! So I carefully crafted an email and sent it out to all my friends in SF last Saturday! Annnnnnnnd...CRICKETS! (Well--for the most part--one friend responded!)

I waited and still nothing. It is that strange feeling of putting yourself out there--I wasn't just voicing an opinion or even sharing something personal--I ASKED for something. That felt really raw and vulnerable. And the fact that nobody (except one) responded felt like personal rejection. I mean...really...I was spiraling downwards into a pool of self-pity. It was super fun to be around me!

BUT THEN:

Last Sunday I asked you guys to write me back and tell me how you're dealing with the overwhelm. I LOVED HEARING FROM YOU ALL! BTW--I'm still working my way through the responses but I promise I'll get back to all of you!

One email really blew me away. Check it out:

Randi Berry, Executive Director and Vice President of the The Indie Theater Fund, responded to my email with the following:

"I wanted to let you know about something I've been doing to try and make a difference. Something you can do too if you have the bandwidth. A few of us (it's now organically turned into hundreds of us, but it started with just a handful of us ) collected a bunch of supplies to donate to kids that were shipped here and are being housed in Harlem. We had such an overwhelming response we didn't want to stop. So we got in contact with an immigration attorney we heard on TV who was talking about a client, Yeni Gonzalez, who was separated from her three kids who are in NYC and she was being detained in AZ. we started a go Fund me for her. We posted her bail, got her out, did a drive share relay from AZ (since she can't fly without the right ID) and she arrives in NYC tomorrow night. We have a free place for her to stay, money for food, clothes and metro and will have a coordinated effort to accompany her to her appointments and meet ups with her three children, who she will now be able to see daily until they are released to her. Connected her to a Spanish speaking therapist etc."

We are working on a blueprint for what we did so it can be easily replicated over and over to get these children their freaking parents. So many people have reached out to help. So many pissed moms. Don't fuck with a pissed mom."

MIND. BLOWN.

And then, when I texted her and asked if I could share her story here she responded with:

"You definitely can mention whatever you want. We've bailed three moms out so far. Fourth one is being fundraised for now. Check out the Now Politics video on my page. That's our group and two of my friends who are in NYC (I'm in Florida so couldn't be there) who have been doing a lot of the organizing right now. I've just arranged a team of Spanish speakers in Miami to help receive mom number 2 who's kids are here in foster care. Crazy time."

This is the video she mentioned in her text.

 

SO INCREDIBLY INSPIRING.

Randi--THANK YOU to you, your friends, and all the amazing humans who are SHOWING UP POWERFULLY and TAKING ACTION. I'm so inspired. I'm in awe.

AND THEN:

Inspired by Randi, (and after some pep talks from friends) I decided not to give up on raising in-kind donations so I posted my request on Nextdoor.com. And guess what? PEOPLE ARE SHOWING UP! I've currently got bags and boxes of toiletry kits and men's and women's underwear (the things that are most in need currently) in my house! I'm going to send them out by the end of the month. I'm getting so much that I'm slightly concerned about the cost of shipping! And that's an awesome problem! AND--many of my friends did end up responding to that original email so really I just needed to be patient (not my best trait).

Maybe it's a small thing to do--sending supplies so that people can take a hot shower and shampoo their hair--but it does feel good to help. It feels a heck of a lot better than sitting around.

A woman came by today to drop off the toiletry kits she had meticulously put together and as we were talking about everything that is going on that is overwhelming us and keeping us up at night, we agreed that doing something--even the smallest thing--helps.

After all...small things add up.

I hope this is inspiring for you. There are so many good people out there doing good things. Please remember that the news is intentionally designed to give you an adrenaline rush and it aims to scare the crap out of you. There's lots of beauty out there that simply isn't being reported on.

I feel very warm and fuzzy about all the people on my newsletter list. I've coached so many of you and emailed with many more of you and I know how extraordinary you are. It's pretty awesome. Thank you. You definitely make the world a better place.

Sending love,

Elijah

Children at the Border. This is Not Political. This is about Humanity.

Hello dear one. I am writing from a place of anger and despair today. I am writing about the situation at the border where children have been taken away from their mothers and fathers. This email doesn't (nor could it possibly) contain all my thoughts, ideas, or knowledge on this subject. I need to say that because you may feel I left something important out, or maybe don't go into enough depth. I'm sure both these things are true. Still, this is the best I can do today.

This is not a political crisis. This is a HUMANITARIAN crisis.

Every single morning my son climbs into bed and snuggles with me after he wakes up and we get to giggle and talk about the day ahead. I get to hold him and hug him. I get to read to him at night and tuck him into bed.

My son has the incredible luxury it seems, to feel SAFE. He gets to know where his parents are. He gets to be HUGGED by his parents. He has enough food to eat. He has a cozy bed to sleep in. He can walk out into the world and not feel unsafe or afraid.

My son has what parents want for their children. Love, safely, belonging...and freedom to dream of his future.

The thought of my son being taken away from me and placed into some huge, austere detention center rips my heart to shreds. The image of him all alone, terrified, confused, and wanting his mama kills me. The idea that he wouldn't be safe there--safe from verbal, mental, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse (all of which have been reported in these centers) shatters my soul.

All I have to do is think of one little seven year old, torn away from their parents, alone and afraid, and I crumple. It doesn't matter that it isn't MY CHILD. Children--ALL CHILDREN--need and deserve our protection.

Children are vulnerable by nature and incredibly susceptible to abuse. They look to adults to guide and protect them and it is that trust that enables people to hurt them.

By separating them from their family WE ARE CAUSING IRREPARABLE TRAUMA TO THESE CHILDREN.

And on the note of ALL CHILDREN needing and deserving our protection-I need to acknowledge the inherent racism and bigotry that is occurring at our borders. Make no mistake-it is easier for a lot of people to stomach this because these humans are "not like us."

The idea that there is a limit to compassion is dangerous.

I've read a lot of people online saying, "Well, Obama did this, too!" then others replying, "No, George Bush Sr. started this!" AS IF POINTING A FINGER IN BLAME WILL CHANGE ANYTHING. I have learned that this policy has been going on for decades in our country. It is in the news now because of the incredible escalation and high numbers at which is it occurring under our current administration. But I personally don't think it is helpful to point fingers on this. Whoever started it, whichever administration allowed it--they are all wrong and I hold them all accountable. I'm sick of the partisanship around this. Humans need to get in touch with their own moral compass outside of what party they vote for!

There's a lot I don't know about all of this. I am learning. Maybe you know more than me. Maybe you're learning, too. Awesome. The question becomes, WHAT CAN WE DO?

HERE'S A LIST OF SOME OF THE THINGS YOU CAN DO:

1) Call and write your US Representative and Senators and let them know how you feel. Do this even if you already know they are against this--they need to hear from their constituency so that they know it is something they should devote time and political will towards. Read this to find out how to call your members of Congress.

2) Speak up and stand up for what is right and good. Engage in dialogue. That said--if it is clear that someone isn't actually willing to have an actual dialogue it is okay not to engage. That's a boundary you should keep because otherwise you're going to become too despondent and cynical to have the energy to create the change you wish to create. But there are a lot of really good, caring people out there that just don't know but would be happy to know...they are dealing with their own crazy lives and maybe haven't had the emotional bandwidth to stop and think about this stuff. (I understand. God knows I often feel like hiding from these issues as they are so intense.)

3) Donate money. Here are some reputable organizations doing good work:

4) Collect in kind donations to send to groups. Call the organization and ask what they need before sending anything. Often a bag of toiletries in incredibly helpful (shampoo, conditioner, razor, soap). I am going to be organizing in kind donations in my community and sending them to the Kino Border Initiative (at least to start).

 

Our song for today is a repeat because I think of it as an anthem for doing good in the world. It's called Legacy and it asks the important question of what we want our legacy to be.

She sings:

What do you stand for?

What brings you to your knees?

What do you live for?

What are you dying to see?

What did you come here for?

And what will you leave?

When you're gone what lives on as your legacy?

 

NINA GRAE - LEGACY

 

 

Sending you all so much love.

Elijah