Bail Funds

Cash bail enables people to afford it to buy their way out of jail. It is unjust that people who can not afford to post bail must stay in jail when fellow cell-mates with access to funds can get out in a matter of hours (full disclosure, I bailed myself out using a credit card when I was arrested at Occupy LA in 2012). This financial requirement to obtain freedom disproportionally burdens (and thereby incarcerates) people of color and people living in lower economic brackets.

Every day in the United States there are over 450,000 people in jail who have not been convicted of a crime. They simply could not afford to post bail.

In the past 13 days of protests, over 10,000 people have been arrested across the United States. This week we donated to bail funds to assist people who have been arrested at the protests get out of jail.

Please consider supporting people in this way and also exploring the carrd for information about other actions you can take.

Black Lives Matter

Right now, in the United States, people are responding to 401 years of state-sanctioned slavery, oppression, injustice, abuse, and murder of Africans and African Americans. The nexus of racist and white supremacist politics, policing, economic, and environmental justice that is at the foundation of the American system needs to change. It needed to change 401 years ago when the first African was brought to the US in chains, it needed to change in the 19th century at the height of slavery, it needed to change in the early 20th century with the rise of the Klu Klux Klan, it needed to change under Jim Crow, it needed to change in the civil rights era, and it needs to change today. From the other side of the world, in solidarity with those fighting for this change, each week for the month of June we will make a donation to an organization advocating for black lives, fighting for systemic changes needed to protect black people, bailing out protestors, and civil rights.

Our first donation was made today to Campaign Zero – an organization that analyzes policing practices across the US, identifies solutions to end police violence, provides technical assistance to other organizers in this space, and develops model legislation and advocacy to end police violence nationwide.

Please join me in learning and taking action to bring an end to state-sanctioned violence against African Americans in the United States. If you want to learn about ways to get involved, please look at Campaign Zeros’ recommendations for Immediate Action and this collection of Ways You Can Help.

COVID-19 in Indigenous Communities

The COVID-19 pandemic is the most recent colonial scourge on indigenous communities.  In the Amazon basin, people who have been defending the forests against colonial capitalism are now falling ill with this most recent disease from the outside.  This is particularly tragic because of their remote locations they do not have easy and equal access to the healthcare required to treat the debilitating and life-threatening symptoms of COVID-19.  Among the United States, there is exponential growth of the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among Hopi and Navajo and among the highest death rates in North America.  This is again a function of settler capitalism that continues to threaten not only the health of indigenous communities but also created a situation where they are more vulnerable due to historical lack of access to resources including clean water, food, and modern healthcare.

This month we have donated to both the Amazon Emergency Fund and Navajo and Hopi COVID-19 Relief.

It is my hope that you will join me in supporting these efforts to assist indigenous peoples during this time. 

Ayni at Home

Masks for Hands of Love school & community in Kariobangi, Nairobi, Kenya

As the world is reeling from the precautions that must be taken to stop the spread of the coronavirus until scientists are able to develop a vaccine or a cure and governments are able to distribute them, I decided that this month we would give our support closer to home.

I have been funding the production and distribution of masks in two communities in Nairobi, where I live – the community around Hands of Love school in Kariobangi and the communities in which Taka Bank Community Champions are identifying the most vulnerable in the communities; providing information in order to make the most effective interventions; sharing information about preventing, identifying, and managing Covid-19; and bringing resources to those in need.

In the informal settlements in Nairobi – people are not able to wash their hands after every activity and stay six-feet apart. People live without running water, families live in one-room homes, and 20 families can be sharing a public toilet yards from where they live. In these living conditions, masks are the the best option to prevent the spread of the virus.

Thus far, my friends and I have delivered over 3,000 masks and have another 2,000 on order. If you are able to join us in this effort, please visit Empower Venture Partners for information on how to contribute and updates on the number of masks we have provided.

Thank you, be safe, and stay healthy.

Flooding on the Bobonaza River

Image @helenagualinga Instagram

The Bobonaza River runs through the Ecuadorian Amazon region. It recently flooded, destroying the homes and food gardens of thousands of indigenous people.

The floods, a result of climate change and deforestation, are threatening the lives of people who are on the front lines protecting forests and fighting the encroachment of extractive industries.

This month, we made our donation to Amazon Watch’s effort to provide shelter, food, and clothing for people affected by the flooding as they rebuild their communities. Please join us in supporting them in their time of need.

Wet’suwet’en

The five clans of the Wet’suwet’en have full jurisdiction over their land. Canadian Federal and Provincial governments can not legally grant permits to industries with interest on Wet’suwet’en land.

The Wet’suwet’en have opposed all pipeline proposals and have not given free, prior, and informed consent for Coastal Gas Link pipeline owned by TC (formerly TransCanada) to work on their lands. Yet the Canadian government is not upholding Wet’suwet’en rights and the people are now blocking the largest hydraulic fracturing (fracking) project in Canadian history.

In December 2019, the court granted an extension to CGL’s injunction, allowing Royal Canadian Mounted Police to continue to arrest and remove anyone they consider could be involved in preventing the works and RCMP has begun to restrict supplies going to the camps.

Please consider joining me in supporting the Wet’suwet’en exerting their legal and lawful rights to their land, tradition, and heritage.

Lakota People’s Law Project

This month I chose to support the Lakota People’s Law Project. They are a powerful and dynamic team that came together to protect Native children and families and are now, in partnership with Native communities, “protect sacred lands, safeguard human rights, promote sustainability, reunite indigenous families, and much more.” I invite you to learn more about and support their work.