How to Find the Radical Relievers in a World of Hurt
November 20, 2015
This week has been hard. Syrian refugees, Paris under attack and in my trans world, I’ve been preparing to commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance so I’ve been reading stories about those of us who didn’t survive on top of all of the other hurt in the world. Everywhere my eyes fall, I am processing pain and after a while, I simply don’t want to look anymore. Then Mr. Rogers comes along.
Lots of my bright and liberal social change friends have been posting one of his more famous quotes. You know the one? Here, in case you haven’t read or seen it yet:
“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.”
He was a pretty cool guy sometimes. At least he was for me when I was a wee queer who would watch his show and get excited about the trains and even now I kinda think my partner dresses like him with her little cardigan and tie which is super nerdy and adorbs….I digress.
But the whole beautiful neighborhood concept…the helpers…the ones who cultivate community…that’s what I needed to see this week and desperately. After I had processed all that I could process, I wanted to see the ones who HOLD OTHERS UP when they’re in pain. And, at times, I was the one who needed to be held.
So, how do we find the helpers in a world of hurt? Well, I’ve discovered that if I set up my World of Resilience ahead of time, then I get these awesome messages of goodness and hope when things go bad in the world. I’ll add a list of those places and people I follow at the end. But first, we need to talk about the RADICAL RELIEVERS.
My goal in life is to be a RADICAL RELIEVER. That’s someone, imho, who works on building a revolution based on empathy, understanding, peace and all the while, HELPING others. Mr. Rogers called them “the helpers.” I call them the RADICAL RELIEVERS.
So, when things were going down and I was looking around for my fellow Comrades Who Care, I found a lot of love. Here’s just a FEW of who I see doing good to both RADICALLY RELIEVE the international crises and provide RADICAL RELIEF in the transgender community during our time of remembrance.
I see….French journalist, Sylvain Lapoix, and his moment of clarity when he began the simple yet profound movement of #PorteOuverte. Porte ouverte means open doors in English. Lapoix tweeted, “Those who can open their doors, geotag your tweets and [use] #PorteOuverte to indicate safe places.” And tweet they did. His original message was tweeted over 700 times and now has over 800,000 mentions. All over the world people are opening their doors to people who are stranded in the U.S., lost or in need of shelter.
I see….wireless phone companies making their services FREE for a period of time so that people can contact their loved ones and make arrangements. According to HuffPost,
“A number of phone and tech companies are making it easier for families and friends to stay connected to loved ones in the wake of the Paris attacks by offering free international services. AT&T customers, for example, can call and text France for free through Nov. 17. Google also made all international calls to France via its Hangout app free. And for the next few days, Skype users can make international calls to mobile phones and landlines in France free of charge.”
I see….Governors saying they’ll take in Syrian refugees who need support. When so many others are saying we should turn people away, the Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Wolf, the Connecticut Governor, Dannel Malloy, are dedicated to helping Syrian and other refugees with shelter and resources.
I see… Kaoru Watanabe, who invited all the children from her neighborhood to draw their emotions. Wantanabe invited in nine children from her neighborhood to come into her home and express how they were feeling through art. She hopes to display the artwork for people to heal from in the future.
I see….that Love is Revolutionary. “The ‘Love is Revolutionary’ video series seeks to highlight the love stories of Black transgender couples and discuss why for them, loving OUT loud as proud transgender and queer Black people is a revolutionary act.”
I see….Casa Ruby’s new employment center. “Casa Ruby is the only bilingual multicultural LGBT Organization providing lifesaving services and programs to the most vulnerable in the LGBT community” (Casa Ruby website). They provide an array of services which now includes an place where queerfolk can look for jobs! Follow their hard work and donate when you can!
I see.…trans and queer artists transforming TDOR from “remembrance” to RESILIENCE. Coordinated by multiple organizations, Trans Day of Resilience seeks to offer an alternative for the traditional somber nature by reclaiming power and hope. Their artwork is provocative, inspiring and beautiful.
I see…FORGE’s #30DaysofAction series of daily practical suggestions to reduce violence against trans people. Just like what I said earlier, we all need reminders that we CAN take action to reduce violence in the trans and GNC communities. That way, you know, someday we won’t be adding all these names to the TDOR list, right? I mean, that’s kind of our goal. So, we devised dozens of ways you can decrease violence in the lives of trans and GNC people. Follow our work on FB, Twitter, and Instagram for more campaigns like this.
I see….the Ali Forney Center’s two new campaigns for homeless transgender youth. The first is a housing program specifically for transgender clients. The second is a hormone therapy program. The Center says,
“In conjunction with our transgender housing program, this is a vital resource for our transgender clients who are seeking hormone replacement therapy. Many of our clients are obtaining hormones through unsafe methods on the streets or are on lengthy waitlists to begin hormones at other clinics. The Institute will work with AFC to ensure that clients obtain hormones in the safest and least expensive fashion.”
And, the list could go on forever.
Want to build a community of RADICAL RELIEF around you? Want to be a RADICAL RELIEVER, too? Here are some ways I’ve structured my relief system.
- FORGE. Ok, obviously I’m going to list us! But seriously, we do some amazing things by way of resources and campaigns that are positive and good. So, if you haven’t, follow our work.
- Huffpost Community Kindness. HuffPost has a TON of cool media for you to choose from including LGBT issues as well as environmental issues. But, this one is special. It’s ALL good things that people are doing in their communities. Also check out HuffPost Good News.
- The Breathe Network, a national network connecting sexual violence survivors with trauma-informed, sliding-scale, healing arts practitioners. They are committed providers who genuinely care and are instrumental in transform the lives of those who have been touched by sexual violence.
- NSVRC’s “Feel Good” tumbler blog, containing only “feel good” images, messages, and quotes. Their goal is to create an atmosphere of healing and support. Posted content will be positive and will never require a trauma warning. We intend this to reach those who work with folks impacted by the trauma of sexual violence in any way.
- The Honest Guys. Need a break (or two) from listening to all those stories on social media and need to relax for a few minutes? The Honest Guys is, “made up of three dedicated individuals who are all keen to bring the amazing benefits of guided meditation to anyone who needs it.” And, best of all, their YouTube meditation guides are bountiful and FREE. They’re “honestly” pretty awesome.