things you can do today.

June 19, 2018

It is easy to be decent to speechless things.
To hang houses for the purple martins
To nest in. To bed down the horses under
The great white wing of the year’s first snow.
To ensure the dog and cat are comfortable.
To set out suet for the backyard birds.
To put the poorly-shot, wounded deer down.
To nurse its orphaned fawn until its spots
Are gone. To sweep the spider into the glass
And tap it out into the grass. To blow out
The candle and save the moth from flame.
To trap the black bear and set it free.
To throw the thrashing brook trout back.
How easy it is to be decent
To things that lack the capacity of speech,
To feed and shelter whatever will never
Beg us or thank us or make us ashamed.

The Capacity of Speech by Austin Robert Smith*

Four things you can do today to take a proactive stand to end family separation:

+ Donate: Last night I compiled a short list of organizations that we can support in their work to provide legal aid, support, and services to families affected by the current administration’s zero tolerance immigration policy that’s separating families. You can find links to organizations in my Instagram story highlight called “Act Now.” Today I’m asking folks to join me in giving to RAICES. I’ll be donating $100, but I’m hoping that together we can raise $5,000 before the end of the day. Venmo money to @readtealeaves and I’ll donate all funds raised by 5:00 pm tonight (June 19, 2018). UPDATE: As of 2:30 pm ET, we’ve met our 5k goal. Let’s double it. 10k by 5:00 pm.

UPDATE: Together we raised $15,000 in less than 24 hours (to say nothing of the many, many reported individual donations from folks who let me know they’d donated independently). I sent all funds to RAICES this morning and will continue to donate any additional money that comes in. Endless thanks to everyone who contributed, in whatever way you were able.

UPDATE: Together we raised more than $23,400 for RAICES. Enormous thanks to everyone who made that possible. All funds have now been donated. If any continue to trickle in, I will send those along, too, but as ever, please don’t hesitate to send directly to the organization yourself. (June 22, 2018).

+ Read: Misinformation abounds. Educating ourselves is imperative. Here are a few concise overviews of the issues at hand, including some of the most salient points to understand and mentions of places to direct our help:

On Stopping Family Separation

Stop Family Separation

What to Know About the Detention Centers for Immigrant Children Along the US-Mexico Border

How To Help Migrant Parents & Children Who Are Separated At The Border

Bearing Witness to America’s Cruelty 

+ Organize: A national march is being planned for June 30th by Families Belong Together. Organize in your communities. Travel to a nearby march. Spread the word any way that you can.

+ Call: We live in a democracy where elected officials are required to listen to their constituents. Call them. Make your voice heard. If you have a republican official who you fear won’t listen, all the more reason to call.

*Poem found via Stephanie Madewell

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  • Reply Lara Shihab-Eldin June 19, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    thank you for this, Erin. I just donated to RAICES. the poem is helpful, I am so angry and distraught at the lack of decency with this awful inhumane tactic, and so many issues.

  • Reply Jess June 19, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    I’m donating directly & really appreciate your work to share information & encourage education + action. I’m just curious why the venmo route, is there some sort of benefit to having a single larger donation from one source?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE June 19, 2018 at 1:39 pm

      So glad. Thanks, Jess. Venmo felt like the simplest way to encourage folks in a community effort. Seeing other people donate to a joint cause really helps folks feel inspired to give and feel like they’re being held accountable. For folks who use the app, Venmo makes it incredibly simple to direct funds and by channeling the funds to one place we can all watch our joint donation grow. It’s not a perfect system and it certainly relies on folks to trust me to follow through, but it felt like the quickest, easiest way to make a big impact.

      • Reply jacquie June 20, 2018 at 11:31 am

        I think it would be great to post the link directly, I was also confused by your use of Venmo. Also these large direct donations also have matching funds and link people to more information. When I donated I also received information fromRAICES about their work and about a new organization for Immigrant support they are forming.
        Here is the direct link

        Here is a matching one that has already raised 15M, which I think also makes us feel part of a larger community than just this site

        • Reply ERIN BOYLE June 20, 2018 at 11:47 am

          Hey there: Absolutely glad for folks to donate directly. Using Venmo was a really simple way for folks to make their donations quickly, without so much as putting down their phones. You would be astounded at the number of folks who emailed to tell me that they made their donations while nursing babies or sitting with their kids at the playground. So grateful for all of the many ways that all of us can contribute.

    • Reply Stacy Hyatt June 20, 2018 at 5:32 pm

      Hi Jess and Jacquie — Simply put: Venmo is INCREDIBLY EASY for many people to use. It allows them to use their phones and simply forward money. It can take literally less than a minute. Donating directly can often take longer and a lot of people can easily just put it off until they have that time to commit. Then perhaps they forget.

      When I saw Erin’s request for donations, I remembered there was $25.70 in my Venmo balance that I hadn’t moved to my bank account. 30 seconds later, that money was on its way to Erin. It’s not an ideal route for everyone, but for some — like me! — it was one more easy way to do something immediate.

  • Reply Emma June 19, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    Thank you for this—this is breaking my heart. Something you can do with your kids is encourage them to write postcards to government officials, and share the pictures with the hashtag #postcards4families. A Facebook fundraiser is donating $5 to RAICES for every postcard shared. It’s a great way to get kids involved. I’ll share the link below—I hope it works!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE June 19, 2018 at 2:21 pm

      Thanks so much, Emma.

  • Reply Sophia June 19, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    Donated! I am heartbroken about this. Thank you so much, Erin, for your continued and thoughtful engagement in this community.

  • Reply Brittany June 19, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Thank you. Another thing you can do is call your representative and ask them to specifically cosponsor and support S.3036.

  • Reply Marianne June 20, 2018 at 10:04 am

    Thank yo for this post! I donated directly but I am wondering where one can find this flag print?!

  • Reply Joanna June 20, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Also have been donating and calling. And also wondering about the peaceful hand-holders on the beach print?

  • Reply CathyMA June 20, 2018 at 11:22 am

    thank you! Donated the other day. Praying now. Those are the 2 things I feel I can control at the moment.
    Lovely poem.

  • Reply Jaspreet June 21, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Thank you for all your passion and commitment. By any chance, do you know of organizations that could use volunteers? I am an attorney and would love to help. I do not live in a border state, but am happy to help. Since I have two kids, remote possibilities would be best.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE June 21, 2018 at 10:40 am

      Amazing. I’m sure there are folks who could use your help! Will see if I can find any!

  • Reply Jaspreet June 22, 2018 at 11:46 am

    This is an option if people want to volunteer:
    You do not have to be an attorney. You could help unaccompanied minors in Chicago, Houston, San Antonio, Harlingen, Phoenix, Los Angeles, New York, or Washington, D.C.

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