This Fall I had the opportunity to be a part of this amazing group of folks who came together to be a part of a Giving Project for Social Justice Fund. Here is a description of who this group is:
The 2017-2018 Immigration Justice Giving Project brings together 23 activists, cultural workers, students, mothers, musicians, nonprofit administrators, plant lovers, counselors, and more. Many of us are immigrants. Among our loved ones are refugees, green card holders, DACA recipients, US citizens, and people without US documents. We have ties to hundreds of places, including India, Chicago, Texas, China, Michoacan, Bellevue, Laos, the DRC, Boston, Ecuador, and the Philippines. We’ve come together to move resources to the folks who are building grassroots power and leading the struggle for migrant justice.
In about 6 months we raised over $247,000 for incredible organizations in the Northwest doing grassroots organizing around immigration justice.
When I first heard our fundraising goal of $225,000 I thought it was impossible, and we actually increased our goal from $125,000 because our team captains thought we could do it!
As the news highlights injustice day in and day out against immigrants to be a part of something that was supporting immigrants know their rights, learn to start their own businesses, obtain emergency housing, leave domestic violence situations, change the dynamics of restaurants where immigrants and people of color are primarily in the back of the house, sue the Montana State Patrol for discrimination, and so much more was a deep experience.
As a citizen from a family settled in the U.S. for at least 4 generations my immigration story is mostly lost. My ancestors’ migration stories were not talked about when I was young, and we traded in our German-ness for whiteness. To reconnect to the grief and longing to what I lost as I attempted to uncover some of my history was important work for myself, and a needed aspect of looking at the ways whiteness has hurt my family and myself.
Each of us in the Giving Project asked our friends and families about giving, immigration and migration. We shared why we chose to spend our time doing this work, and we asked our friends and family to support this work. We all made our own meaningful gift, and I gave the largest gift I’ve ever given.
We read grants and had painful, honest, real and difficult conversations about which organizations to site visit and which to cut.
We spent our weekends going to OR or MO or different organizations in Seattle to meet the leaders and members as well as witness the impact of their work. The grants many times did not come close to seeing how profound the work was. I had the privilege to visit Mujeres Luchadoras Progresistas. I would highly recommend following them, and buying a wreath from them during their holiday wreath drive. Many immigrant women lose income near the end of the year and this program is a way to develop entrepreneurial skills as well as supplement lost income. Mujeres also has house parties to share information about women’s health and knowing your rights, which makes it more accessible for folks fearful of driving due to racial profiling.
I started this journey after Trump’s election when I decided I wanted to do something, I wanted to connect to the resistance that has always been there. I heard about previous Giving Projects that were transformative and I decided after a bout of hopelessness this was somewhere I could focus my energy. I found the Giving Project gave me hope, I learned a ton about the immigration system, I learned a ton about myself and I learned more about the power of people and the power of community. I learned that impossible endeavors can be possible.
If you feel drawn to a Giving Project sign up! It will offer you opportunities to grow, to learn, to look at your relationship with giving and money, and to support some bad ass organizers all over the Pacific Northwest. Go here to learn more about Social Justice Fund.