I’m a huge believer of mass action. One of the major purposes of this blog was to try and encourage myself, and my readers, to stay involved — to be more than just an armchair activist. I’m one of those bright-eyed, bushy-tailed true believers who thinks we’re here on this planet to make a difference (yeah, I know, cue the beads, braids, and Beatles music). Writing, for me, is a daily act of raising awareness, stimulating discussion, and (hopefully) changing minds, but nothing beats hitting the streets, participating in a letter-writing or phone-banking campaign, or donating money.
Sure, each individual action seems tiny and pointless, but if a whole bunch of people do just a little bit… whoa!
A couple of days ago, I encouraged readers to help in the relief efforts in Haiti in the wake of a massive earthquake that demolished Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas. One of the primary options was to donate via text message — sending the word “HAITI” to 90999 on your cellphone would send a $10 donation to the Red Cross International Relief Fund (appearing on your next monthly phone bill).
This campaign started on the Red Cross Twitter feed and was publicized on the White House blog. It was quickly picked up on Facebook (where I first heard about it). Word spread quicker than a zombie infection (yeah, I’m playing Fallout 3 right now so zombies are on the mind) — this morning, CNN reported that over $8 million dollars had been donated to the Red Cross, and as of three hours ago, the Red Cross twittered that the sum had now reached $10 million dollars.
$10. Million. Dollars. — more money than many foreign governments in Europe and Asia are individually committing – and most of it donated $10 at a time by people all over America. $10 million dollars from hundreds of thousands of people each spending less than thirty seconds of their day and giving up the cost of a meal for two at McDonald’s.
$10 million dollars. Pardon my French, but holy fuckin’ shit.
Or, put another way — naive romantic idealists: 1, skeptics and cynics: 0.
Here’s my re-post of how you can help raise the next $10 million:
- Donate $10 to the American Red Cross International Relief Fund. You can donate online, or specify your donation to the disaster relief in Haiti by texting “HAITI” to 90999 on your cell phone. If you choose the texting option, you are making a one-time donation via mGive.com, which directs 100% of your donation to the American Red Cross. The amount will appear on your next cellphone bill. If you would like to publicize this option on your blog, feel free to use this button I made for my site.
- Donate to any of the agencies verified by InterAction as conducting relief efforts in the wake of the earthquake in Haiti.
- Become a blood donor; the Red Cross is shipping donated blood as part of its relief efforts, which draws from the already depleted national blood bank supply. Donating takes just an hour of your time and is pretty painless, yet only 1 in 100 Americans are currently a blood donor.
- I’ve heard through Facebook that Partners in Health has less overhead than the American Red Cross, so if you’re worried about how much of your donated money goes to Haiti versus to administrative efforts, try donating to PIH.
- The New York Times has also compiled a list of organizations participating in relief efforts in Haiti.