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Listen to Fred Rogers’ Mother - Swan Tower

Feb. 1st, 2017

10:06 am - Listen to Fred Rogers’ Mother

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Fred Rogers, the uncanonized saint of American television, said it best: 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.’

(via Making Light)

That is, in essence, what these tikkun olam posts are for: they’re a place to find helpers, to remind yourself that they’re out there, and even to motivate yourself to be one of them. So that when you’re like ickle Fred Rogers, the world might seem a little less scary.

So share your news of how you’re helping, be it big or small. Are you doing volunteer work, either through a formal organization or an ad hoc arrangement with someone you know? Are you changing your own life so that you’ll be a better citizen of your town, state, country, planet? Have you made a donation to some good cause? Don’t feel like everything you mention has to be new; continuing efforts are just as good as one-off or additional things. And remember that everything is fair game, even if it’s not very big. Sometimes the little gestures mean the most.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

This entry was also posted at http://swan-tower.dreamwidth.org/791483.html. Comment here or there.

Comments:

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From:swan_tower
Date:February 1st, 2017 06:47 pm (UTC)
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I'm continuing to call my elected officials about various issues. It gets easier the more I do it, in terms of it not seeming like this big intimidating thing. I've also tried to reach beyond my own officials a bit; I know they take feedback from non-constituents much less seriously, but I called to encourage the governor of North Dakota to support the protestors at Standing Rock, and I asked my mother (who lives in Texas) to call her representatives about the ACA. And I'm signing lots of petitions, on the theory that it can't hurt.

I missed the training for literacy tutoring due to a scheduling conflict, but I went to an "open mosque" event nearby, a thing they do on the second Friday of every month where someone delivers a talk on a particular subject and then there's a Q&A on anything Islam-related people want to ask about. (The questions ranged from things like "how do you handle the five daily prayers if your job isn't one that allows you to pause as needed, e.g. on an assembly line" to "why don't Muslims condemn terror attacks when they happen" -- glad to see that not only the speaker but also the audience leapt to deal with that.) The subject for January was about being a good neighbor; apparently there's a line somewhere in the scripture to the effect that if you pray all the prayers and you fast and you do all the religious things but you're a bad neighbor, you're being a bad Muslim. That idea has been a bit topical for me lately because I've also had several friends who went through surgery in January, so I've been doing much more of the neighborly thing of helping out by running errands for them and so forth.

I've also been to two different protests -- the first I can recall ever attending. One was the ANSWER Coalition's march on Inauguration Day; the other was the protest at SFO airport against this Muslim ban. It's really encouraging, being there and seeing hundreds of other people going to the effort of rallying for these causes.
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From:between4walls
Date:February 1st, 2017 09:37 pm (UTC)
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I remember reading a bunch of bad things about ANSWER, like that they supported the North Korean govt (?). However, one usually can't help who's organizing a march.

I went to a CAIR rally against the ban and also to the JFK airport protest w a friend. And I'm in the final weeks of training to be a rape crisis counselor.
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From:swan_tower
Date:February 3rd, 2017 07:30 am (UTC)
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I hadn't heard anything like that about ANSWER. I don't know much about them; I just know they were the one protest on Inauguration Day I could get to.

The rape crisis counselor thing sounds very hard; good on you for stepping up.
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From:sovay
Date:February 1st, 2017 09:42 pm (UTC)
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So share your news of how you’re helping, be it big or small.

Er . . . since the first of last month, I've attended the Boston satellite of the Women's March for America and the CAIR Boston protest against the Muslim ban and anti-immigration orders, I've taken a BARCC workshop on active bystanding (which I kept meaning to write up, because I found it actually very useful), I've attended a meeting of Jewish Voice for Peace and gotten myself into a breakout group with specific focus on anti-Islamophobia, and I've lost track of the phone calls I've placed to various politicians, including to thank them for doing the right things. People I meet have been asking me where my Black Lives Matter pin comes from and I have been telling them. Also I requested and published new poetry by Tlotlo Tsamaase because she was being treated shabbily by the SFPA—I am especially pleased that the timing worked out because the whole thing happened over Arisia weekend. It doesn't feel like much and yet, especially this past week, I've been exhausted.

Edited at 2017-02-01 09:43 pm (UTC)
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From:swan_tower
Date:February 3rd, 2017 07:31 am (UTC)
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Please do write up the active bystanding thing! I would very much like to read it.
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From:rosefox
Date:February 2nd, 2017 02:21 am (UTC)
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I've been sending lots and lots of postcards! http://tinyurl.com/angrypostcards is my folder of templates for Avery printable postcards. Get a pack, print them on your home printer, and send. I bought a roll of 100 postcard stamps and expect to use them all within a couple of months.

Also, my brother works for CAIR and tonight I copy edited a document for him and reminded him to get some rest. He took that job a couple of months before the election and had NO IDEA that he was going to be doing nonstop protest, advocacy, and legal work, but he's totally stepping up, and I want to support him while he does.
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From:alessandriana
Date:February 2nd, 2017 04:43 am (UTC)
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Tell your brother keep up the good work! :)
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From:rosefox
Date:February 2nd, 2017 04:59 am (UTC)
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I will! I'm really proud of him. :)
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From:alessandriana
Date:February 2nd, 2017 04:51 am (UTC)
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Lots of phone calls. One protest against the travel ban; planning to attend another this Friday.

Donated to Karam Foundation, International Rescue Committee, International Medical Corps, Collateral Repair Project, (not including standing donation to ACLU). Subscribed officially to Slate Plus, since I enjoy their reporting.

Attended a Welcome Dayton orientation today, which is a local gov't program that helps make our city more welcome to immigrants and refugees, although it sounds like a lot of their activities are one off events rather than standing things I can help with.

I've kind of had to take the last two days off though, since I over-exerted myself this weekend and haven't been sleeping.
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From:swan_tower
Date:February 3rd, 2017 07:33 am (UTC)
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I've backed off the last day or two myself. It's important to take breaks.
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From:cgbookcat1
Date:February 2nd, 2017 06:09 pm (UTC)
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Last weekend I donated to the International Rescue Committee. I looked up my congressperson in hopes of attending a town hall, but he has none on his calendar, so I will call or write instead.

I've also listened to several worried college students who dropped by my office for hw help and wanted an ear for their politics worries. I want to support them in every way I can.
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From:swan_tower
Date:February 3rd, 2017 07:34 am (UTC)
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Yeah, I feel especially bad for the younger generations. We need to leave them a better future than the one Trump promises.
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From:tiger_spot
Date:February 2nd, 2017 07:38 pm (UTC)
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I've started volunteering to pick backyard fruit for assorted local organizations with Village Harvest, in addition to delivering the oranges from our tree straight to the Day Worker Center near our house. (This week the good orange tree is all done, but the marmalade oranges aren't quite ripe yet. They tell me they can use those too, so once they're ready they'll be going over too.)

I'll be helping my friend sort at the food bank nearer her house again this month.

I've got a couple of upcoming local political events on my calendar (coffee with the mayor, a Community Building Forum, a meeting of my county's Democratic Party). I may not be able to make all of them but I'm hoping to get more familiar with how the local level works beyond voting funding measures up or down.

Once all these cabinet nominees are sorted out one way or another I may be able to actually get through to my senators' offices on the phone again, but in the meantime I've been sending emails and occasional letters.

Oh, and Morgan and I filled out "Warm Wishes" flags at the library -- messages of inclusiveness and love for our community that they're stringing up around the building. Much like the Women's March, the sheer numbers are heartening.
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From:swan_tower
Date:February 3rd, 2017 07:34 am (UTC)
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I'm trying to find my entry point into local level politics, but haven't yet figured out how to do that.
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From:tiger_spot
Date:February 4th, 2017 10:14 pm (UTC)
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Today I had coffee with the mayor at a local shop. There were three other people there, which is apparently pretty standard. It sounds like the useful level for a lot of these things is county level (for sanctuary city issues especially -- "Because that's where the jails are"). I found the coffee a surprisingly good way to get the lay of the land and find a few avenues to investigate further! (There's a series of Civility Round Tables I might find interesting, and I should look into the Community Emergency Response Team program.)
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From:swan_tower
Date:February 5th, 2017 08:27 pm (UTC)
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But how did you even find out about the coffee shop event?
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From:tiger_spot
Date:February 5th, 2017 11:21 pm (UTC)
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It was mentioned on the City of Mountain View G+ account.

Does your city have a city hall website? They're often badly designed, but I'd expect it to have a community calendar, or schedule of city council meetings, or something along those lines. The other place you might check to get started would be the public library -- the information desk might have flyers for upcoming events, or there could be a community bulletin board.

Around here they're very good about publicizing meetings about traffic or park planning or stuff like that, which is a less obvious in but if you show up early or hang around afterwards you can ask whoever's presenting where the more relevant resources are.
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From:pathseeker42
Date:February 3rd, 2017 11:48 am (UTC)
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I was invited to teach a self-defense class to women at a local mosque, and I began volunteering to teach Tae Kwon Do to kids at the local city park. The idea was that they would learn to defend themselves and others if need be, and also that kids who take martial arts tend to be more confident and less likely to grow up into the thin-skinned bully currently in the oval office.

I'm also calling my senators.

Thanks everyone for your work! Little candles will light the world.
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From:swan_tower
Date:February 5th, 2017 08:27 pm (UTC)
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That self-confidence really matters.
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From:lokifan
Date:February 14th, 2017 08:47 pm (UTC)
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I went to the London Women's March, and I'm researching finding a possible volunteer gig teaching refugees - I teach English as a foreign language which seems like a transferable skill.
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