I came upon a local organization in Denver: the ACC, the African Community Center. They are a sister organisation to the Ethiopian Development Council founded in 1983 as a response to the Ethiopian famine, and a warm and welcoming center for refugees and asylum seekers. Please see http://www.acc-den.org.
Today the world around me and the mood about refugees and asylum seekers sadly seems to be changing and not in a positive way. I think about my own family arriving in the USA in 1961, where we were received with open arms. Or my grandparents escaping hunger in Ireland and arriving in Buenos Aires in 1889 where they were warmly welcome. And the many who came through Ellis Island to seek a new life and found it in the loving arms of this incredible country.
So I have to admit I am a bit shell shocked by last week's horrible events but even more by the backlash in the US. Just a few minutes ago, the House approved tougher screening for certain refugees, when our screening process is the toughest in the world. But I will not allow violence and terror to confuse me, make me afraid, or have me believe that one refugee is different from another.
If this is the new normal, then the poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty needs to be done away with.
But don't worry: I am not giving up. We are all victims of terror if we step back in fear, in anger or in despair.
I think we can do something here and I am asking for your help: ACC in Denver is in need of some items, namely children’s winter coats, used or new, new children’s shoes, and car seats for babies. Also, dry foods such as rice and beans.
Would you look in your closet and in your pantry? I did, and was not surprised to find “too much” everywhere I looked. I counted five or six winter coats, and heck! I am kid size so off they go!
I can be the collection point and easily pick up any extra items you want to donate. If you have no “in kind” donations, I can take monetary donations through my paypal account (firstname.lastname@example.org) and shop in the local thrift stores.
Easier yet, I ask that you consider making a direct financial contribution to ACC, most especially during Colorado Gives Day, as there is an additional boost for the participating organizations including ACC. Please see https://www.coloradogives.org/index.php?section=organizations&action=newDonation&fwID=27246. Please note that you can give today in advance of the day.
Please consider even a small, recurring donation. I was the CFO of a huge non for profit and our biggest source of funds were very small recurring donations from grandmas all over the world who contributed as little as $10 a month. Please don’t back off because you think ten dollars is nothing! And remember that if you work for a corporation with a matching gift program your donation is doubled.
This world is one. We are all the same. We are at war, a war against all that is decent and loving and compassionate. A war against the very fiber of humanity. A war we must win because our enemy favors prejudice, because it assumes it is their way or the highway, and because it does not consider the evils committed by both sides.
We are a beautiful kaleidoscope of people. I am proud of my background as an immigrant of Irish Italian Argentine heritage. I love the jig and spaghetti and empanadas, and still have the same hope in my heart that I did when I landed in this great country in 1961.
We can only win this war with love. I choose love. Won’t you help?
“The first step in the evolution of ethics is a sense of solidarity with other human beings.”