Horror and Ways to Help

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Oh, has it been a hard weekend.

I’ve been sitting with my family here in America, all of us distraught over what’s happened in Charlottesville this weekend. I am…well. I have so many reactions all at once, it’s hard to unpack all of them. But:

I cannot believe that anyone could grow up in America learning WWII history and somehow come up with the takeaway: “Nazis are cool!” Sorry, what?! I mean, I know I’m somewhat biased in that half of my family ancestry is Jewish, but all the same…really?! How???

I am thinking of Heather Heyer, a woman who died doing what was right, standing up to racism, white nationalism, and Nazism. I hope that we can all be inspired by her courage. Her last Facebook post said, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” We should all be outraged.

I am beyond enraged that the president of our country couldn’t even bring himself to denounce the KKK, Nazis, or other white supremacists by name until two days had passed after Heather Heyer’s death. (No, it’s not a surprise – he’s never been willing to denounce those groups before – but that doesn’t change how wrong and enraging it really is in the president of America.)

I am thinking of all of my friends and readers who aren’t blue-eyed and white and thinking how exponentially worse and scarier this must all feel for them. (I may be lots of things that Nazis hate, but they would never guess it from looking at me, which gives me a lot of privilege in this situation.)

And as always, I’m trying to figure out ways to help. These are the links I’ve come up with so far:

You can donate here to a general fund being raised to support the victims of the terrorist attack and neo-Nazi violence of the so-called “Alt Right” demonstration in Charlottesville.

You can donate here to help with the medical fees for Natalie Romero, one of the people injured (her injuries include skull fractures) in the vehicular attack.

You can also donate here to help Marcus Martin, who pushed his fiancée out of the way of the car but suffered serious injuries himself, leading to scary hospital bills and lost wages.

Sara Benincasa put together a really good list of larger organizations we can donate to to help.

And Celeste Ng wrote a really useful tweet-thread of suggestions for other positive actions we can take.

It’s so easy to sink into despair as we watch all of this happen. I felt that way yesterday. I just wanted to huddle under the covers and not even go out.

But I went and petted baby beavers with my kids instead. I took long, deep breaths, and petted baby Bella (shown in that picture!), whose fur felt very, very soft and whose tail felt hard and plasticky. Baby Bella was friendly, inquisitive and affectionate despite the painful history that had led to her being taken in by the wildlife refuge where we met her. It was impossible not to feel buoyed by spending time petting and playing with her. (You can see more pictures of her here.)

I came out ready to square my shoulders again and face the world.

Every single step we can take to help really counts.

Let’s all try together.

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