Tag Archives: Social Justice

Using Social Media for Good to Make a Difference: Fighting ALS, Ebola, and for Child Refugees

​Social Media for Social Good, our annual charity campaign is in its fifth year. Can you believe that? I know I’ve been more absent than not this year, so unlike the previous years, SMSG14 will be more conversational. I promised Lori in 2012 that ALS would be the focus, and I’m definitely including it, but with so much else going on this year, a few months ago I decided to add Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres; MSF) because of the Ebola crisis, ​and then I saw a report on Syrian child refugees, so we’re adding UNICEF as well. *ETA I specifically chose to start SMSG14 on Make a Difference Day. 🙂

On ALS from Lori:

This year awareness has been increased so much by the #IceBucketChallenge. It’s awesome that so many who didn’t know anything about ALS are sharing and caring. But the real need is for donations. For research for a cure – and we are closer than ever.

I will walk this year with a mix of sadness and hope. My sister-in-law Sue lost her battle with ALS in March 2013, but I am determined to help fund research for a cure or treatment. So many more are still living with ALS, and we must do all we can to support them.

As a respiratory therapist, I took care of my first ALS patient in 1994, when the amazing Mr. Hoang and his family touched my life. Their strength, courage and humor never ceased to amaze me. I was privileged to know them and be a part of Mr. Hoang’s care team.

Fast-forward 15 years, and our own family was devastated to learn that my brother’s wife Sue was diagnosed. Her spirit and fight, and her resolve to beat this disease filled me with awe. She was an amazing woman, and together with my brother, raised two amazing daughters. I am so privileged that she was my sister for 30 years.

You can find information about Ebola and Child Refugees on both the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and UNICEF “Humanitarian Issues/Crisis” pages respectively. You might want to look and the following is why.

Some facts on Ebola and MSF:

  • The Ebola outbreak was officially declared on March 22, 2014.
  • MSF is currently active in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, with six Ebola case management centers
  • If contracted, Ebola is one of the world’s most deadly diseases. It is a highly infectious virus that can kill up to 90 percent of the people who catch it.
  • According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report issued October 15, 2014, the mortality rate for Ebola cases in West Africa is nearly 50%
  • The situation is so dire the first ever UN emergency health mission, the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) has been set up
  • The WHO also says the situation in Africa is deteriorating.
  • MSF has been the first — and often only — line of defense against Ebola in West Africa.

There is hope.

  • Nigera was officially declared Ebola free on October 20, 2014.
  • In 2007, MSF entirely contained an epidemic of Ebola in Uganda.

They need our help. You can read one MSF worker’s account here. From the beginning I’ve been hearing the most about MSF doing work on the ground, so that’s why I picked MSF over other organizations at this time.

And this is why I also decided to add UNICEF. I saw a report and just cried my eyes out.

I have a major soft spot for children, and seeing ones who are so young – 10 years old or younger – working all day out in the field, then excited to go to school … I had to help make that happen.

  • A UN report back from February found that more than 10,000 children have been killed.
  • Syrian children have been sexually abused and tortured, used as human shields and recruited as child soldiers.
  • As of July 7, 2014, 6.5 million Syrian children—an increase of more than two million compared to last year—now need immediate humanitarian assistance.
  • More than 8,000 children have arrived at Syria’s borders without their parents.
  • More than 37,000 Syrian babies have been born as refugees. You can see more on a UNICEF infographic here.
  • A Doctor's Account
  • That is what a doctor is saying about their situation. From February. I cannot imagine the situation has gotten any better. Especially since they said they were running out of funds.
  • $15 can buy pencils and notebooks for an entire classroom, $4 can buy a text book for a child, $4 can buy a story book for a child

There’s so much more to say and so much more information out there, but I just wanted to share a little bit about each. If you have additional information please feel free to share. I’d love to learn about what’s going on and more charities.

I definitely understand giving, and giving quietly. I know it’s not about the adulation you get. I’m making this public though, and encouraging more to do the same because I believe it does spur people to give. (Like the opposite of public shaming!) I also explain why we’re doing a comment drive. I know it’s still tough for so many. If you can’t afford to give, you can still help! Each comment raises money, so comment away. Send your friends, family, enemies. Your pets, anyone! *ETA: Also if you donate but don’t want your name or amount given listed would you please email me to let me know so I can add the amount to the tally? Thank you! <3

I’m down for $1,130. (My break down is $500 for Doctors Without Borders, $315 to the ALS Walk, and $315 to UNICEF)
Amara Royce is making a pledge of 25¢ per comment
Katje is giving $25 + 1¢ per comment to Doctors Without Borders
Melanie and Loupe are going in together for 25¢ per comment
Lucy Monroe is down for $500, and she’ll give an additional $100 when we reach 500 comments
Ayelet Waldman is matching dollar for dollar donations to Doctors Without Borders across all her social media platforms up to $2,000
Laura K. Curtis is donating $10 per comment up to $100

You can donate to ALS at various places, such as the ALSA. This is Lori’s Walk Page.

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I contacted Doctors Without Borders about setting up a campaign but have yet to hear back, so if that changes, I’ll update here. For now though, donate here. You can also donate through UNICEF and right now (at least for those in the USA your donation will be matched dollar for dollar by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.)

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UNICEF donations to Syrian children can be made here. For those in the USA, this is a direct donation page.

Won’t you join us? We can do so many amazing things!
And thank you all for your generosity and support.

(I’d also like to note since all of these are non-profit charitable organizations, your donations are tax deductible. Also, considering seeing if your employer will match your donation!)

Let’s do this!

*ETA: SMSG13 We Can Help Stop Human Trafficking & Give Typhoon Relief Aid

SMSG13 is Social Media for Social Good 2013. This is our fourth year, and the target is to stop human trafficking. A lot of these facts are alarming. And I have to let you know if you research statistics – even your state, it might trigger trauma. But I think that’s why this is so important. Some of the things I read made me a bit queasy.

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. Victims of human trafficking are subjected to force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of commercial sex, debt bondage, or forced labor. They are young children, teenagers, men and women. Trafficking in persons occurs throughout the world, including in the United States.

  • There is a total estimate of 29.8 million people in modern slavery.
  • Globally, the average cost of a slave is $90.
  • 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year. More than 70% are female and half are children. U.S. State Department
  • 1.2 million children are trafficked each year   UNICEF
  • An estimated 26% of all forced labor victims are children. This means there are 5.5 million child victims at any given point in time. It is also estimated that children make up 21% of forced sexually exploited labor in the private economy.  The International Labour Organisation
  • People are reported to be trafficked from 127 countries to be exploited in 137 countries, affecting every continent and every type of economy
  • Estimated global annual profits made from the exploitation of all trafficked forced labour are $31.6 billion USD
  • In 2006 for every 800 people trafficked, only one person was convicted.
  • Only 0.4% of victims are identified.
  • Human trafficking not only involves sex and labor, but people are also trafficked for organ harvesting.
  • An estimated 30,000 victims of sex trafficking die each year from abuse, disease, torture, and neglect. Eighty percent of those sold into sexual slavery are under 24, and some are as young as six years old.
  • According to a 2009 Washington Times article, the Taliban buys children as young as seven years old to act as suicide bombers. The price for child suicide bombers is between $7,000-$14,000
  • Human trafficking occurs in all fifty states in the U.S. (You can check your state “grade” which might be alarming.) The FBI estimates that over 100,000 children and young women are trafficked in America today. They range in age from nine to 19, with the average being age 11. Many victims are not just runaways or abandoned, but are from “good” families who are coerced by clever traffickers.
  • After drug dealing, trafficking of humans is tied with arms dealing as the second-largest criminal industry in the world.
  • In the European Union alone, about 880,000 people are in forced labour, according to ILO estimates. That’s 1.8 in every 1,000 persons.
  • Human trafficking is a $9.8 billion domestic industry, with at least 100,000 children being used as prostitutes in America each year.
  • Two children are sold every minute.

And a testimonial of sorts:

They forced me to sleep with as many as 50 customers a day.  I had to give [the pimp] all my money. If I did not [earn a set amount] they punished me by removing my clothes and beating me with a stick until I fainted, electrocuting me, cutting me.

Kolab, sex trafficking survivor from Cambodia

The charity I settled on is Love 146. I’m still debating on how – let me know if you have an opinion re: paypal or me setting up a Crowdrise campaign. (It may also depend on the handling fees of either.) I really like that Love 146 acts to prevent, but also provides aftercare.

Love 146

I’m pledging $1 per comment for the first day, maybe the first week. (I have to max out at $600. I’m hoping we hit 600 comments before the first week is over. Either way, it doesn’t matter. I’m all in.) I definitely don’t expect everyone to make large donations. Any amount is helpful. $10, $5, $1. 50¢. Whatever you can give. Or if not, hit up your rich friends to donate. Parents, relatives. Have them comment because here’s the kicker with SMSG – even a comment on this blog post helps raise money. Amazing!

Initial pledgers are:

Shiloh Walker will donate $50, and if we hit 100 comments on the charity drive post, another $50, for a total of $100.
SpazP will donate $50
has pledged $100 once we reach 500 comments
Amara Royce
Rissatoo

Remember – every comment helps. As part of this being a fundraiser it’s also a comment drive. We want to raise awareness and spread the word. Together we can make a difference. <3

*ETA: The fundraising page is now live:

**Second ETA: I know we’ve all heard about the tragedy and devastation left by Typhoon Haiyan. It’s horrifying, so what I’ve decided to do is do a 25/75 split with the funds raised.  (25% will go to Save the Children to their specific Typhoon Relief Fund.) This is because yes, aid is greatly needed in the Philippines … and I know we all want to help. But the world is watching. I asked people who had donated, and they felt it was important to also bring attention to human trafficking. And … that’s true. I personally have met three suspected victims of human trafficking the past two weeks, and learned about new recruiting places. It’s terrifying, so I really hope you’ll join me. Just the cost of a cup of coffee or lunch out would really help. Even 100 people giving $1 would make a huge different. Please consider contributing.

Thank you!!!!

Planning for Social Media for Social Good

Hi friends! Some of you might remember my annual Social Media for Social Good drive. (SMSG) – I started it in 2010 because I saw talk of “Make a Difference Day” where (RED) and maskable had a big project. I then saw blogs that said something like “I’ll donate $1/comment on this post up to X amount.” And I thought about it, then said to myself, “I can do that.” So I posted to TGTBTU (where I was a reviewer/blogger at the time.) It was incredible. In less than twelve hours, the romance community raised more than $1,337.

I couldn’t let this opportunity pass, so in 2011, I researched charities for a long time. I wanted to find something I cared about, and that would be reputable, and international. There was sadly a humanitarian crisis going on in the Horn of Africa – so I decided to choose Save the Children. (Regardless of your politics, or how you feel about your country’s involvement in the area… I can’t se how you’d hold it against children.) I decided to go for a full month, and we raised $8,484.50.

For the past year I’ve been considering at the back of my mind which charity to chose. (It is incredibly difficult to find a reputable organization that is international, and won’t cause offense to anyone.) I decided to go with charity:water.

Everyone needs water to survive. Everyone. And it’s something every person can relate to, and sympathize with. We take water for granted. Some of us refuse to drink anything but filtered water. I can’t even imagine what life would be without easy access to clean water.

So starting on Saturday, October 27, Make a Difference Day, I’m starting a charity drive. Social Media for Social Good is a way to get everyone involved. It’s a fundraiser, and an attempt to raise awareness.

How can you participate? Give money. Spread the word. I know it’s hard out there right now. Some of us can give a lot, some of us can give a little. Believe me, as someone who is making painfully less than the poverty rate, I know it’s difficult. But this is my pet project. I’m asking you to give what you can. Even a dollar makes a difference. Imagine, if a group of people can spare a dollar, that’s huge. 10 people, 15, 25, 100. Whatever.

Some of you might wish to have a correlative rate. E.g. $5 for every 50 comments. Whatever you think is best, or you can afford. A flat rate is fine too. I’ve had people say they’d pay $100 for 100 comments – at different levels. Because remember, the idea is to get as many people involved as possible. (E.g. One person will donate X amounts when we get 100 comments. Another person will donate Y amount when we hit 200 comments, and so on.) I’ve also talked about why I decided to go with a comment drive, and not something else.

I’d love to have something in place before the “official” post goes live.

So – tell me – are you in?

(International!) Pay It Forward Day!

Hi friends!

I only just learned it’s International Pay It Forward Day. 🙂 So… nothing hugely organized – but, I wanted to ask – is there anything I’m able to do for you?

I asked on twitter too.

If so – just let me know. I’ll do my best.

Did you know about it? Will you try to do anything? (I’m being lazy and staying in…)

Somewhat along those lines… National Make a Difference Day is coming up in the fall – and I always have a Social Media for Social Good fundraiser. I’m still trying to pick a charity. One that does something that matters, is a 501c3 (at least in the states), is well run, and ideally, international. If you’ve got suggestions I’d love to hear them.

Also – I know charities can send a lot of mail. Like a lot of solicitations. I’ve gotten so much mail from Save the Children, from last year and previous years. And other organizations. (I’m sorry about that.) I wanted to know then – if I started a collection on paypal or something – would you be more or less interested in donating? (That way you wouldn’t get the email/paper mail solicitations.) Paypal would take a slight fee, so it wouldn’t be a 100% donation – and all the other issues, but it would save you the junk mail.

Thoughts?

Brace Yourselves… (Bleeding Heart Ahead)

I know it hasn’t been something I’ve focused on for a while, but a passion of mine that equals, if not exceeds my love of books is social justice. There’s just been so much going on in the world that I’ve been a bit overwhelmed. (And then with me personally. Life and I have been disagreeing on many levels.)

But there’s something I saw today and it just… well broke my heart. If you watch the video – which is lengthy, grab tissues. I cried. This is the article: Killed at Home: White Plains, NY Police Called Out on Medical Alert Shoot Dead Black Veteran, 68. (I’m going to try and embed the video, but for some reason WordPress has always hated me…)

Police Called Out on Medical Alert Shoot Dead Black Veteran

There’s just… I don’t even have a response for that, other than sorrow, and an utter sense of wrongness. That it was police – responding to a medical alert call doing this makes it… I don’t think I’ve been as horrified since I learned the police duty (or lack thereof) to the public when it comes to you the individual as a member of the public, in Torts.

I can’t believe this happened last year that Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr was shot dead. By policeInside his own home. And nothing has happened.

Where’s the national outcry and outrage about this? (That’s a whole new can of worms though… but you have to admit – there’s the whole sensationalist/popular opinion thing. Not to say I don’t think it’s important to care about and fight for justice with Trayvon Martin’s family – but … consistency. Slow and steady.)

Like with FoxConn taking the heat – so many people are throwing around words like “I’m never buying Apple again! I’m going Dell (or insert other electronics) all the way!” It’s just so… *facepalm* to me. I’ll help you out. Hewlett-Packard, I.B.M., Lenovo, Motorola, Nokia, Sony, Toshiba and others. (Also according to reports FoxConn has changed the factory conditions, and is also limiting everything to a (less than 60 – I can’t recall the exact hours now) work week, with no decrease in pay. Expect to see Apple products reflect that in their prices soon, because I just can’t see the company heads eating that cost. Unless they take it out on their other working grunts.)

So we’ve hit a few issues. I’m obviously not going to, and cannot detail everything.

But – let’s go one more with a death that should never have happened.

On March 21, a woman was beaten to death in her home. There, the police actually did their job [they a) didn’t kill her themselves, and b) launched an investigation] – so um, +1 I guess? (Sorry – you can tell I’m pretty salty about the other cases.) Shaima Alawadi was an American citizen, and an Iraqi-American. If you read about the circumstances, I can’t see how it’s not a hate crime. I’m glad the FBI is stepping in, and I hope they catch the killer(s). I know we’re all still tense about 9/11, especially with the recent incidents with flight attendant(s) and pilot(s) losing their minds… but still.

There might have been media stories about this, but I haven’t seen or heard them. Of course, I’m someone who oftentimes distrusts media spin too…

This isn’t a very happy post, I know. But I think it’s important to think about, and know about. We’re obviously not the happy melting pot we’re supposed to be in America. And for all that people say they’re colorblind, many obviously aren’t. And beyond that, to say one is colorblind proudly… I don’t think that’s actually right or helpful. Obviously race/ethnicity/color is a factor, and pretending that it isn’t is basically sticking your head in the sand.

Nota Bene – I am not not not saying that one incident is more important than the other, or trying to point fingers with the “why care about this and not that?” Or even about everything – because honestly – it’s inhuman to expect being able to keep up. No single person is able to know about every incident, everywhere, and to do something about it. But it’s important to care in general, and do what we can. It’s about raising the level of awareness, and concern.

And uh – if you managed to make it this far… believe it or not, I was mentioned elsewhere! Yes! Lil ‘ol me! And she even made me sound good! What’m I talking about? Elise Rome included me in her Bloggers/Readers section for her insane March Madness giveaway/project/thing. I don’t even have words-  I couldn’t handle it. Anyway, if you want, go visit me there and I’ll… um respond? (Yeah sorry  – can’t offer prizes etc, but if I ever win the lottery I totally would!)

p.s. – I know I didn’t post winners Saturday. Sorry – they’ll be up this week though!

Mish Mash! Stuff I Figured …

That you might want to know.

First of all, me! That’s right – I’m elsewhere on the web today! Guest blogging/interviewed-ish by author Mandy M. Roth at her blog! I think it’s interesting (hah well obviously, right?!), and for those of you who don’t know me as well it might give you a better idea of who I am. (I’m realizing I haven’t really done a lot of “about me” or “editorial” type posts here.)

Secondly… Swagbucks. Yeah, yeah, them again. 😛

“March Swagness has come to Swagbucks – it’s all about you earning bonus Swag Bucks while doing all of the things you’re already doing on Swagbucks. Every day thy’ll give you an earning goal, which you’ll find on their homepage. As you earn Swag Bucks throughout the day, that meter will fill up and when it’s full, you’ll have earned your bonus for the day. The bonus will always be 10% of that day’s goal.
Be sure to check in everyday, as the earning goal for any given day could be higher or lower than the day before. Your total bonus amount will continue to accumulate each day, and your bonus amount will be applied at by April 5th – this special promotion runs through April 2nd. If you hit the earning goal every single day of March Swagness, your bonus amount will be doubled!

EVERYTHING you earn on Swagbucks counts towards March Swagness – including (but limited to) Search, Surveys, Tasks, Swag Codes, Special Offers, Referral Bucks, Winning TTPTP, Hashtag and Comment hookups – if you earn it from us, it counts towards the day it was earned!

Get your March Swagness on starting today, when the goal will be 50 Swag Bucks

And lastly… I was going to talk about Trayvon Martin. I feel like a number of the issues facing women are important to mention, but thankfully a lot of other people are talking about them as well. The latter I think we all know about right? The crazy legislators that have absolutely lost their pea-brain minds? It has nothing to do with politics. What I’m talking about? It’s not a party/ideology thing – it’s a) being a woman, and b) being a human being. So if or when the chance comes – vote.  If you want to do more – write your representative or senator. Call. Email. Go to town hall meetings. Protest – there’s an organized protest where women are marching on state capitols.

I’m also glad Trayvon Martin’s story is finally being publicized more. I heard about it a few weeks ago – a week after it happened, actually, and… I was sickened. If you haven’t heard about it – you can read about what happened here. The United States Department of Justice is looking into it now too. And a Grand Jury was formed – I started with the most recent article. And that’s a good thing.

National Make a Difference Day!

That’s today! So… I guess I started my “making a difference” thing a bit early. 😉 Otherwise? Today? I puttered around with my dad. Does keeping family peace etc count as doing good/making a difference? 😉 Maybe not doing that would’ve made a bad difference…

I can’t promise I’ll stop harping on issues… but do let me know if it ever gets annoying or I should slow it down a bit. Apparently I’ve already offended some people… so… whatever. Can’t win ’em all, of course, but I never want to be a nuisance, you know?

My Sadeyes don’t have a game today – it’s our bye week so I’m not glued to the tv. Did a lot of cooking – maybe I’ll share the recipe for one or two. Do you guys like sweet/savory food? I actually don’t, which made today interesting…

How’s everyone doing? Did you know it was Make a Difference Day here in the States? Did you do anything to help make a difference?

And! What books are all of you looking forward to? I want to know – would any of you ever be interested in writing a review for me if you got an ARC of a book? Of course it’d have to be reviewed in a timely manner… but hey – you’d get an ARC! I’d love to know if this is something I should consider pursuing. Thanks!