Friday, September 09, 2005

my mother makes an important point

No, I have no shame; I'm ripping off a thought from my own mother. But she sent this email yesterday and I've been thinking about it, and wanted to share.
I think I mentioned to you that when S was at [a social service organization] they had a real problem after 9/11 because everyone was sending money to New York, and nothing was left for the folks here. Well, I know that the Tsunami did the same thing because the last time I brought stuff to [a homeless shelter] I talked about it with the woman in charge of donations.

Today I called [a shelter for battered women and their kids] because I needed to make arrangements to drop stuff off. She was so excited because I "wasn't abandoning them like so many other folks were". So I started really thinking it through. These women and their children, are in some way, in the same position as the Katrina evacuees. They are living in a shelter, under someone else's rules and regs; they have nowhere else to go (except possibly back to an abusive relationship); they can't stay in these shelters forever, and some are now out in the street; and they have no resources.

The difference, as I see it, is that the Katrina folks are going to be getting a lot of help and money from the government, from private donations, from, from, from...they are very visible. The women and kids at [aforementioned shelter] are totally invisible, and aren't getting much from anyone. So, I will continue to do what I do here. Going through our stuff, and collecting from other people, and bringing it to the people that need it in this community. And making sure that they understand that they are just as important.

I know that a lot of people are feeling pretty helpless right now in the face of the disaster, and like they can't do what they would want to do because of their other commitments--family, school, work. But there are other things we can do that also serve; the work we do within our own communities is just as crucial now as at any other time, or even more so.

Thanks Mom. Now step away from CNN already.