Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Activist Philanthropy

I admit that when I think about Philanthropy I usually think about giving money or things. Next I think about giving time. But I did a google search for the definition of philanthropy and found many definitions similar to this: "Active effort to promote human welfare."

And today Darfur has been on my mind. I was cleaning up after dinner and my husband was watching CNN. There was a commercial on about stopping the violence in Darfur. People, white actors and actresses looking very American and upper middle class, stood reading from clipboards what I can only assume are quotes from people living the atrocities in Darfur. Things like "They beat me all over," "I thought I would die," "My daughter was pregnant, and they cut open her belly." (these are not strict quotes from the ad, but my memories of them) Then the news program came back on, and it was about the dangers of the possibility of terrorists hacking into power plants and blowing up their generators, which could leave parts of our country without power. And I was struck, once again, at how there can be so much horror going on in the world, and yet we are focusing on something that might possibly someday happen. And that this was bigger "news".

I watch The View only occasionally - if I'm exercising at that time of day - but one of the things I appreciated about Rosie O'Donnell on that show was her constantly reminding the audience of the death toll in Iraq, her insistence that those numbers not get lost in the focus on celebrity in our media. And I appreciate that people are fighting to keep Darfur in the public eye.

So I began to wonder what I could do about Darfur. This seemed perfect, seeing that Jen M holds Philanthropy Thursdays, and they are a great reminder to us to DO something. But I am broke, broke, and more broke this week - having to close out a bank account to pay the mortgage. But I got online and visited savedarfur.org to see what else I could do. There are no events near me. But I did send an e-mail to President Bush and UN Secretary-General Ban urging them to do more to stop the genocide in Darfur. And it's a small thing, sure, but it is indeed making an "active effort to promote human welfare." And now I am telling you, because perhaps you will feel compelled to do the same (or something similar in your own country).

And thanks for all the great response to last week's post about clicking to give over at The Hunger Site. I know that having the button on my own blog reminds me to go over there, and I've been there daily this past week.

13 comments:

Emily said...

YEAH PM!
I believe it is the simple and sincere steps in a movement that matter. Thank you for the reminder that "doing something" doesn't always include our checkbooks.

carrie said...

I put the hunger badge on my site too -- and I noticed that there is a Darfur link on the side of the hunger site, so it makes sense to investigate that way too!

I am so thankful that there are people out there, like you, who care enough to take the time to actually do something like fire off an email and get the word out.

Thank you. So much.

b*babbler said...

A really good post.

I think that philanthropy really starts with knowing and understanding the issues. The New Internationalist http://www.newint.org is a great resource, and after a month the issues are put online for free. Also, you can do letter writing campaigns through Amnesty International.

Go you for helping in any way you can!

Jen M. said...

Thank you for that perspective - I usually think of money/time, too. Your post is making me stretch my thinking outside the box today.

The other day my daughter's class went to the local university to hear two refugees speak on Darfur. Several of the parents were "upset" that their kids were exposed to such a "graphic" presentation. It made me so sad, especially since so many people do not have the choice of avoiding such "graphic" things in their own lives. I'm so glad my daughter went.

You're awesome! Clicking away on buttons today...

niobe said...

I think it's wonderful that you are so committed to philanthropy --in whatever form it takes.

Rimarama said...

I've seen that ad - it's haunting. Thank you for reminding me about Darfur and expanding my definition of philanthropy, as well.

Julie Pippert said...

Awesome post...awesome effort. Good for you, and thanks. :)

Julie
Using My Words

ewe are here said...

Great post. It really is sad how often we do fail to promote human welfare for all, not just 'our own'... we're all humans after all...

jen said...

Amen.
Save Darfur are good people.

Amy York said...

Thanks for the clicking reminder! I share your frustration with the media focusing on "what if" situations rather than more important issues that are actually happening in real life!

WorksForMom said...

This really is an awesome, powerful post. Darfur is the tragedy of tragedies. You've inspired me to do the same...

Emily R said...

Sorry I have been so behind, and thanks for this post because I often wonder the same thing about what I can do about Darfur.

Jen said...

I put the numbers of the Iraq war cost and a million blogs for peace button on my site today and will add your hunger site links. I'm looking for more activism buttons, too. Great post!