This, my friends, is a different sort of post than those I have put in this space before. It is an unabashed, undisguised and unapologetic appeal for support – moral, intellectual, personal and financial. With the many natural and man-made crises going on in the world today it is all too easy to just turn our backs on the unpleasantness and declare it all to be beyond our power to change or even understand. It is easy to forget that these terrible things are happening to real people: people with families and dreams and the same rights as the rest of us to make our way in the world and raise our children to do the same.
There are ample crises to choose from these days, any of which are worthy of support. I am particularly involved right now with the refugee crisis near our home in France. Wendela and I are deeply involved with a new volunteer group we helped to start to help Syrian refugees arriving in this area to make their new life here. More specifically, we are working with 9 – 12 families (it varies but the number is likely to get bigger before it gets smaller) who arrive here with their resources (financial, physical and emotional) exhausted. They are homeless, hungry, sick and traumatized in varying degrees and ineligible for government assistance until they can submit a request for asylum and have it accepted for consideration. That process requires several weeks during which they are pretty helpless. Once their applications are accepted they qualify for minimal government support but at least they have decent housing, access to medical care and a small stipend. But, advancing to the ranks of the “very poor” is a step up for them.
These are real people with real faces, personalities, children, histories and issues. The current political climate in the U.S. (but not only in the U.S.) is turning them into a dehumanized issue and treating them like a problem – for the rest of us. Trust me, any problems they may create for the rest of us are trivial in comparison with the problems they have dealt with in having their homes and homeland destroyed around them and in just getting here.
I am not going to bore you all with a lot of facts and figures that I am sure you are already aware of. I am going to urge you to pay attention, do some research, get involved. One way to get involved is to support the crowdfunding campaign that Wendela and I have started to help fund the activities of our group here. We have no staff, no overhead, no anything to dilute the direct application of whatever funds we receive to helping make the situation of these people just a little bit more tolerable. Don’t be deterred by the fact that we have nearly met our stated goal already. That is just a number. Whatever amount we receive will be put to good use. I guarantee it.
Check out the internet and you will see many other ways to get involved as well. One good thing we can all do is to seek the truth and speak out. Don’t let the right wing politicians and the xenophobes win. This crisis is a really big deal and we cannot afford to let the naysayers, liars and general bad guys win.