Nearly 60 years ago, I received a letter from my twin cousins who were attending college in Florida. They were very involved with sit-ins in restaurants and “five and dime” stores to encourage management to allow black people to visit their establishments. Jim and Dan were asking for financial support so they could continue their social justice work without having to have part-time jobs. I was fascinated by their dedication and impressed with their bravery (they were injured and jailed for their efforts), but I was also in college and unemployed. I sent them what I could. (I found out decades later that I was the only family member who gave them financial support.) Their efforts fired up my life-long interest in social justice and activism.
Recently I went through the many requests for funding that fill my mail box, trying to decide what I could afford to give. Reading the detailed stories of the work of all these organizations broke my heart. I can’t give them much money, but I can share some of the work they are doing with you:
Southern Poverty Law Center – defended the voting rights of people with disabilities, made a case for restoring the Voting Rights Act, distributed more than $11,000,000 through their Vote Your Voice programs to 55 different grass roots organizations, provided a data base on hate and extremism consulted by 4.5 million people, tracked 1,221 hate and extremist groups across the country, freed over 20,00 people from immigrant detention Centers, prompted Department of Justice investigations into the Georgia Department of Corrections’ treatment of LGBTQ people – and much more.
Doctors without Borders provides medical care to refugees and displaced people all over the world. 48 million people are internally displaced or forced to move within their home country. 30.3 million people are refugees forced to flee their home country. 41 million people are seeking asylum and waiting for a decision on their refugee status. In 2017, Myanmar security forces launched a campaign of violence targeting the Rohingya ethnic minority group. Roughly 700,00 people fled across the border into Bangladesh where they settled in already overcrowded refugee camps. Doctors without Borders manages ten facilities in the Cox’s Bazar camp, providing specialized healthcare to tens of thousands of refugees each month as well as improving sanitation by building sustainable latrines and wells where residents can access clean waters.
According to the Carter Center, just 15 human cases of Guinea worm disease were reported in 2021, the lowest number ever recorded. When the Carter Center started leading the global eradication campaign there in 1986, there were an estimated 3.5 million cases in 21 countries. In addition nations on opposite sides of Africa have reported milestones in the fight against river blindness. Transmission has been eliminated in several states and regions.
Feeding America maintains a network of more than 200 food banks, 21 statewide food bank associations, and over 60,000 partner agencies. They have provided 6.6 billion meals to tens of millions of people in need last year.
USA for UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) provides services to refugees and displaced people fleeing desperate, life-threatening circumstances in Ukraine.
World Central Kitchen – fed an island after Hurricane Maria destroyed Puerto Rico. They fed tens of millions struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic. They put boots on the ground when a blast devastated Beirut, bushfires ripped through Australia, and a volcano transformed a Spanish island. They were under a bridge with thousands of asylum seekers in Texas, in a demolished Kentucky town after brutal tornadoes, on the Louisiana coast when yet another enormous hurricane made landfall. They are now in Ukraine feeding hundreds of refugees.
These are a few of the organizations that I try to help. They need the support and prayers of all of us to continue the work they are doing around the world. Let me know what groups you support. Let’s spread the word!