Ten Causes

Nov. 13th, 2005 03:28 pm
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I've decided that encouraging other people to support worthy causes is more important than fitting into Maimonides' higher level of tzedakah, so here are the ten causes--one each for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and each of the eight nights of Chanukah--I'll be supporting this holiday season. (You may remember that I was going to do eleven, but I only came up with ten that truly meant something to me. Maybe by New Year's I'll come up with one more.) This is by no means an exhaustive list of causes I feel are worth supporting, but these are ten that grab me this season.

ACLU
The ACLU is at the front lines of protecting our civil liberties. While organizations like the ACLU are always important, they're especially needed in this era of increasing attacks on our civil liberties in the name of the "War on Terror."

Butte Environmental Council
The Butte Environmental Council is a local nonprofit dedicated to environmental preservation, advocacy, and education. Their most visible event is the annual Endangered Species Faire which brings together educational booths on all kinds of environmental issues. We used to go every year when I was growing up, and our environmental club had a booth when I was in high school. I've found as an adult that it's much more fun if you are or are with a small child, but it's still fun to walk through and have Guzzetti's crepes for lunch.

Catalyst Domestic Violence Services
Catalyst is the local domestic violence organization. They have an office in our building, and one of the ways they do outreach is to put fliers with a short questionnaire ("if you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may be in an abusive relationship") and tear-off phone numbers at the bottom up all over the building, including in the bathroom stalls. The rate at which those phone numbers are torn off is rather alarming. On the one hand, I think it's great that people are getting help. On the other hand, I think it's terrible that so many people need that help.

Chico Friends of the Library
The Chico Friends of the Library support and lobby for the Chico branch of the Butte County Library. The Chico Friends of the Library service you all may be familiar with is the infamous book sale. Every Saturday (except holiday weekends), the Chico library conference room turns into a used book sale with tables filled with popular and odd selections. They now have so many books that there are flats of paperbacks stacked on top of each other on the shelves in the back room. The books at the book sale are incredibly cheap--the most I've ever paid for a single book was three dollars--but it's staffed by volunteers and all the inventory is donated. In addition to this, the Chico Friends of the Library buys books and other materials for the library and helps lobby the Chico city council to continue to kick in money to keep the library open 60 hours a week.

Chico Performances Lois C. Adams Adopt-A-Class Program
Chico Performances is the arm of the local university that brings varying sorts of performances to Chico. I fondly remember going on school field trips to Chico Performances field trip performances, and I think every child in our school district should have the same kind of experience. The Lois C. Adams Adopt-A-Class Program sends classes to Chico Performances productions at no cost to the student.

Child's Play
I've mentioned Child's Play twice before, and I still think it's an extremely worthy cause. Gabe and Tycho from Penny Arcade decided one year to do something to show the world that gamers aren't evil, and in that first year, gamers and geeks donated over $120,000 in cash and toys to the Seattle Children's Hospital. It's only grown since then, and this year they've even expanded to Canada and the UK. Just thinking about how amazing Child's Play is makes me tear up. This is gamers and geeks making a difference in the world. This is gamers and geeks making life easier for hospitalized children and their siblings. This is an amazing use of online community.

EFF
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is at the forefront of protecting our rights and freedoms on the electronic frontier. They work on such issues as privacy and copyright in a digital age. They lobby and bring lawsuits. These are the good guys, and they depend on our donations to keep them going.

KIXE
KIXE is the local PBS station. I grew up in a household where our TV viewing was limited, at least in my younger years, to PBS and the occasional After School Special and yearly viewing of The Wizard Of Oz. I grew up with Sesame Street, MisteRogers' Neighborhood, 3-2-1 Contact, and Square One. PBS is under attack these days, and that's just not right. Children should be exposed to the fantastic, entertaining, and educational programming that PBS provides. As an adult, I love The Inspector Lynley Mysteries and their Saturday night old movies are often classics.

Planned Parenthood
There's a Planned Parenthood satellite office in our building. They're only there for four hours two days a week. For those eight hours, our lobby is filled with teenagers waiting to be seen. This is, to me, the most visible service we provide, and I think it's just awesome that teenagers are getting their sexual health needs met.

Youth for Change Thanksgiving and Holiday Giving Projects
Every year, Youth for Change provides Thanksgiving baskets, each of which includes a turkey and everything needed to make a full Thanksgiving dinner, to 150 families on the Ridge. We also have a Holiday Giving project which provides Christmas gifts for a similar number of children. The kids get to make their own lists, which are put on tags on the Giving Tree at the mall. For most of December, our hallway is completely filled with boxes overflowing with toys. We get books, Barbie dolls, video games, and CD players. Community groups call and ask to sponsor a whole family. One community member always donates a number of bicycles. Every year, the sheer number of toys dazzles everyone who sees them and nearly causes a fire hazard as they take over our hallway. If there's a giving tree in your community, consider pulling the tag for a teenage boy; they're usually the ones we have to use our cash donations to buy things for.
rsadelle: (Default)
BB hits the spot.

I visit BBspot nearly every weekday. The satire varies quite a bit in quality, but the webcam parodies of the Personal of the Day and the Polls are always amusing. However, the real reason I visit BBspot is to follow the Daily Links. The links from the main page are varying sorts of geek-related/cool things. The links from the Politics section are, obviously, political in nature, and it's for these that Brian really deserves recognition. While geek culture can often be amusing, it's also too often sexist. Imagine my surprise and delight, then, to find feminist commentary popping up on BBspot's Daily Links. There have been a few other examples, but the one that made me particularly happy was from November 7, 2003. When I saw the list that day, I thought, "Count the Women? Huh?" Surely, I thought, it would have something to do with women and voting. Or maybe women in positions of political power. But no. The link is to this picture of Bush signing an anti-abortion bill. It was a week later that I saw the same commentary in print.

Best ex-listmom ever.

There are a lot of reasons I could hold Melle up for some public recognition. She runs femgeeks.net which provides a home for RPS and RPSers. She's a great friend, both in the fandom arena and in other matters. She's been a true defender of a fan fic writer's right to write about whatever she/he/it wants/needs/chooses to write about. Those would all be good reasons, but they're not the one that I want to highlight. Back in the day, Melle founded RareSlash. Since then, it's been through a few different listmoms, and I'm the current one. Even though it's not her list anymore, Melle has been fantastic about being the resource and sounding board for all my questions and concerns.

This just in: gamers are not evil.

The folks over at Penny Arcade read one too many gamers are evil articles and decided to do something about it. Thus was born Child's Play, an absolutely amazing geek-and-gamer fueled, internet run and organized toy drive to benefit the Seattle Children's Hospital. I'm just in awe of how much stuff and money they've managed to gather using only the internet and advertising only to gamers and geeks. This is what we mean whenever we talk about the good things that can come from the power of online promotion and internet-based communities.

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Ruth Sadelle Alderson

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