by Michelle Palmer
“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”
Some weeks it’s really easy to know what to write about. There’s one thing dominating the headlines that deserves some thoughtful unpacking. Other weeks, increasingly it seems, there are so many it’s hard to even think about them all without losing hope.
So, today, I just want to remind us, like I did in the post on Syria, of what Mr. Rogers said:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”
In the midst of so much tragedy, so many events that outrage and infuriate us, I want us to look for the helpers. My purpose in this is twofold.
- First, I want to give us some hope. (There are helpers. There are people doing something to make things better.)
- Second, I want our outrage to lead us to action. (We can be helpers too.)
The issue of gun control has come up (again) in light of the Las Vegas tragedy, as it so often does.
[SIDENOTE: If this seems like a particularly controversial issue for us to be tackling without much context, consider this: The majority of Americans are in favor of sensible gun control measures (reports here and here). And according to the CDC, there are an average of 33,880 gun deaths per year from 2011-2015, and those numbers are on the rise for 2016 and 2017.]
When I looked for organizations working for gun control, I found several lists, but there were four organizations that appeared on every list I saw. (This article from Bustle is particularly helpful.) These organizations are linked below, and each website has an action section.
- Everytown (article: Whatever Happened to Michael Bloomberg’s Anti-Gun Crusade? It still exists—and it’s starting to work.)
- Moms Demand Action (article: These Women Are the NRA’s Worst Nightmare)
- The Brady Campaign
- Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
I also came across an article that I found particularly interesting, “What If We Made Gun Culture Uncool Like We Did Cigarettes?” Here’s an excerpt:
“On the legislative front it seems America has made its choice and there is little chance for legal reform in the near future except at the margins deemed acceptable by the gun industry and a current generation of gun owners who believe that ‘things happen’ is an appropriate reaction to gun deaths. When lawmakers can’t lead, a social solution is certainly worth a shot.”
Full disclosure: My love for Lin-Manuel Miranda knows no bounds. However, I can honestly say his Twitter account is an amazing resource for finding ways to help Puerto Rico. His feed is chock-full of ways to help, donation drop-off locations, and links for donating money. Click here: https://twitter.com/lin_manuel
Lin’s twitter feed can get a little overwhelming, so here’s a more concise list from NBC: How To Help Puerto Rico Right Now
Also, go listen to “Almost Like Praying” on your iTunes or Spotify or Amazon or wherever you listen to your music. It’s catchy, it’s beautiful, it has Gloria Estefan, and all the proceeds go to hispanicfederation.org.
And if you need a smile on your face, check out THIS VIDEO of Stephen Colbert’s #PuberMe challenge to see how much he and Nick Kroll raised for Puerto Rico.
Despite all the arguments regarding secondary issues (respecting the flag, the right to protest), the purpose of the protests from the start has been to bring attention to “systemic oppression against people of color, police brutality and the criminal justice system.” (Source.) If you’re still unsure about the protests, this is the best thing I’ve read on the issue, “What You Might Be Missing in the Kneeling Debate” by Ed Uszynski. And if you’re unsure about the issues being protested, we have lots of information on our Resource List page, and Channon and I would be more than happy to answer your questions.
The organizations below tackle the very issues that led to the protests, and again, each one has ways to support and get involved.
There is so much heartbreak in our world, so much to be outraged about today. If the thing pulling at your heartstrings right now hasn’t been addressed here, and you have little hope or don’t know how to help, let us know, and we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on Facebook.
Whatever you do, don’t give up hope. Let your outrage move you to action.