Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Activism: Making a difference

Jack Weinstein (L) from Facing History and Ourselves and Mark Hanis (R) founder of Genocide Intervention NetworkRecently we attended a Community Conversations program presented by Facing History and Ourselves and Allstate Foundation. The speaker was amazing young man, Mark Hanis. He is one of several students at Swarthmore College that founded the Genocide Invention Network (GI-Net) in the fall of 2004. Today, GI-Net educates and empowers individuals and communities with the tools to prevent and stop genocide. GI-Net has created effective tools to lobby elected officials and to fund raise directly for civilian protection. They are a non-profit member-based organization that advocates for civilian protection in areas where genocide and mass atrocities are occurring.
Genocide Intervention Network
It is very easy to start taking action against genocide. Doing nothing helps the oppressor and encourages the tormentor. The world's leaders need support and pressure from us in order to act — below are some actions you can do right now and have a hand in stopping genocide.
1) Join the Genocide Intervention Network: GI-Net provides the necessary tools to transform concern into effective action.
2) If you are a student or otherwise connected to a college/university or high school, start a STAND chapter. Even if you are unable to start a chapter, sign up on the website for STAND news, local events, advocacy talking points, and more. STAND: A Student Anti-Genocide Coalition is the student arm of the Genocide Intervention Network. There are more than 800 chapters at schools around the United States and a growing number of international chapters.
3) Contribute to the Genocide Intervention Network: Support the peacekeeping mission in Darfur through donations. More than half of your contribution will go directly to support civilian protection. The remaining amount will fund programs, advocacy efforts and provide membership support for the network.
4) Join the Rapid Response Network: There are instances when we need members to take immediate action. You will receive GI-Net action alerts in real time, ensuring that your action makes the maximum impact.

Enjoying the Ecumenical Hunger Program crab feedOn a different note but still impactful on a local level, we attend a crab feast benefit fundraiser for Ecumenical Hunger Program (EHP). This 34 year old, non-profit, community-based organization located in East Palo Alto provides emergency food, clothing, case management, and household essentials to families in need in East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Palo Alto. We ate pounds of fresh crabOur neighbor hosted us as her guest. We had a great time eating and bidding on silent auction items. All the proceeds benefited EHP programs. EHP is always looking for community volunteers. Several of E’s boys have volunteered there in the past.

Immigration EqualityAn important GLBT issue working it way through congress in Washington is the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). This significant piece of legislation would “right a gross unfairness,” according to the Washington Post, by “[allowing] gay and lesbian Americans and permanent residents to sponsor their foreign-born partners for legal residency in the United States.” Click here to let Congress know that Immigration Reform will not be comprehensive unless all families are part of it – including gay and lesbian families. More information at Immigration Equality.

2 comments:

Steve S said...

Since Prop 8 passed, we have become very active politically. Down here in Salinas, there was no organization in the gay community, there still are no gay meeting places, and the overall mood in the town is very conservative. But my husband and I have funded the Salinas Valley Equality website which has helped the group grow from about 6 to almost 300. We have a marriage subcommittee, a diversity center subcommittee, a social subcommittee, a youth/high school subcommittee, a transgender one, we are incorporating into a non-profit, all this is due to Prop 8.

Our goal is to get a diversity center in this town for youth as soon as possible (probably 2 more years), and to turn the sentiment around in this town for when a repeal of Prop 8 hits the ballot (the town majority was for Prop 8).

We now have gay and lesbian bowling night...I'm rambling, but since Nov. 4th, this conservative central California region has seen a boom in gay activism, and I can't describe how great it feels for us to spend our time doing something that makes us feel like we are working towards a worthy cause. Before Prop 8, we spent our evenings in front of the tv. How that has all changed.

Great things are happening down here!

GDad said...

Excellent post.

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