I didn’t blog last month, and I almost didn’t blog this month — I didn’t have the words. It’s hard to write something that seeks to bring attention to yourself and your business when so many others — their pain and sickness and anguish and poverty — need the attention so much more. Especially when things aren’t going so badly for you, all things considered.
Right now, the abundance in my life is the influence of some really awesome professionals who not only make it OK to be me; they push me to be a better person. So in this blog, I’m going to signal-boost a few causes that are near and dear to my heart and could use the business a lot more than I could.
The Freelance Journalists Union organizes freelance writers like me and spearheads direct-action campaigns when publications fail to pay invoices on time — or at all. Currently there’s a GoFundMe campaign to help the Industrial Worker, the official publication of the Industrial Workers of the World, pay its writers rather than ask for volunteer writing. $100 may not sound like a lot, but it can certainly pay a bill or feed a couple of people for a week. Donate here!
A lot of people think journalism should be doing better, but attacking us — verbally or physically — isn’t the answer. The Freedom of the Press Foundation “fights for journalists detained at the border, reporters arrested covering protests, and whistleblowers prosecuted for telling the truth.” Its Press Freedom Tracker documents these and other incidents. Make a donation here.
You can also help Black journalists in need of mental health support. The Black Journalists Therapy Relief Fund has a GoFundMe for those facing financial hardship who are unable to pay for the mental health support they need during this time.” Readers / viewers expect both objectivity and context before my colleagues have even processed their own feelings. Doing both simultaneously while being uncertain of your income has to be a mindf*ck. Please give if you can.
Want to improve our profession another way? The Nieman Foundation’s mission is “to promote and elevate the standards of journalism.” You can make a donation here.
Writing has been my voice even at times in my life when I didn’t feel I deserved one. Two organizations are working to afford others the same opportunity to find and use their voices:
The Writers Well Youth Fellowship is a creative resource that focuses on encouraging Black girls ages 14-19 across South Carolina to find their voices through writing. Your support can fund a free one-year fellowship for one of these girls — donate here!
Writers Resist is “challenging all things that diminish our nation’s quest for equality, freedom, justice and a healthy planet for all—while having a bit of fun.” Yes they published my short story “Tayaran” in 2018 and just accepted another short story, “At Heaven’s Door”; they also publish essays and poetry. You can support a fellow writer for just $10, and/or subscribe for free!
Speaking Down Barriers focuses on healing rather than division, and it’s a sense that imbues every one of their gatherings in Upstate South Carolina and beyond — most recently on Zoom. (They are behind the Writers Well Youth Fellowship.) I’ve attended several of their sessions and learned so much. Please donate what you can to their mission.
The International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals seeks to achieve “ the consistent representation of women and minorities in cybersecurity through programs designed to foster recruitment, inclusion and retention – one person at a time.” There are multiple ways to get involved with this organization, from membership to sponsorship — find out more here!
In the incredibly supportive ADHD and autism communities on Twitter, a few voices stand out because of their consistent encouragement and leadership. Their cartoons and insights are a mix of funny and relatable, and they’re an oasis of positivity on a platform that can be really pretty toxic at times. Here are some of my favorites:
- Rene Brooks (Black Girl, Lost Keys) coaches Black women with ADHD, and she also has a store.
- Christa Holmans a.k.a. Neurodivergent Rebel has a Patreon and a store as well as PayPal support.
- Pina Varnel (ADHD Alien) draws comics — you can support her at her Patreon.
- Dani Donovan is another comic artist who also has a Patreon as well as a store.
- Erynn Brook is a fellow ADHD writer. Support her at Ko-fi or Patreon.
I also strongly encourage support for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), whose motto “Nothing about us, without us” reflects the tendency of some organizations to assume autistic people cannot self-advocate. As the autistic community on Twitter shows, nothing could be further from the truth! Donate here to help empower the community.
Wildlife rescue & rehabilitation
Izzie’s Pond is the rescue in South Carolina where the Living Wild Side by Side series got started thanks to my chance to feed and observe baby raccoons growing up — and to understand that there is no justice that doesn’t make room for all living things, or in the words of Albert Schweitzer: “Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace.”
It’s “baby season” now — the time of year when baby animals are born and at higher risk for being orphaned because some human decided their mom was a “nuisance.” Orphan rehabilitation is expensive and time-consuming, and Izzie’s Pond — or a rescue more local to you — are always in need of both goods and dollars! Donate via their website.
The organizations and individuals listed here are certainly not exhaustive — just the ones that are currently top of mind. Want to recommend a cause that’s putting good out into the world? Leave a comment with their name and donation link!