When Others Said It Best …

I haven’t been as vocal about Social Justice recently. At least, not here. I haven’t known what to say, the schedule had been booked months if not years ago, I had fatigue, I can only handle dealing with this at work – not online, I didn’t want to offend … but it’s important to speak up. To say something in a public place and stand for it when it’s something you believe in. We are not living in a post-racial society, and anyone saying that is misguided, or willfully ignorant. I don’t know.

I hope you’ll watch the videos/read the text, and think about the message. Speak up when you see injustice or racism – even if it’s not overt. Maybe it’s seeing the white person acting like a person of color isn’t there and cutting in front of him/her in line. Say something. Silence, or “not wanting to make a scene” hurts too. Maybe it’s making more of an effort to get to know and befriend people who aren’t like you – be it color, socioeconomic class, or ideology.

I recently came across this Australian ad that made me cry.

And … I think all of us know about the shootings that took place at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina yesterday. These are President Obama’s remarks, and what he says is better than anything I could come up with. I’ve also included the full text mostly from the Washington Post below the video in case you’d rather read than watch it.

Good afternoon, everybody.

This morning, I spoke with and Vice President Biden spoke with Mayor Joe Riley and other leaders at Charleston to express our deep sorrow over the senseless murders that took place last night.

Michelle and I know several members of Emanuel AME Church. We knew their pastor, Reverend Clementa Pinckney, who, along with eight others, gathered in prayer and fellowship and was murdered last night, and to say our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families and their community doesn’t say enough to convey the heartache and the sadness and the anger that we feel.

Any death of this sort is a tragedy. Any shooting involving multiple victims is a tragedy. There is something particularly heartbreaking about a death happening in a place in which we seek solace and we seek peace, in a place of worship.

Mother Emanuel is, in fact, more than a church. This is a place of worship that was founded by African Americans seeking liberty. This is a church that was burned to the ground because its worshipers worked to end slavery.

When there were laws banning all-black church gatherings, they conducted church services in secret. When there was a nonviolent movement to bring our country in closer line with our highest ideals, some of our brightest leaders spoke and led marches from this church’s steps.

This is a sacred place in the history of Charleston and in the history of America.

The FBI is now on the scene with local police, and more of the bureau’s best are on their way to join them. The attorney general has announced plans for the FBI to open a hate crime investigation. We understand that the suspect is in custody, and I’ll let the best of law enforcement do its work to make sure that justice is served.

Until the investigation is complete, I’m necessarily constrained in terms of talking about the details of the case. But I don’t need constrained about the emotions that tragedies like this raise.

I’ve had to make statements like this too many times. Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times.

We don’t have all the facts, but we do know that once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hand on a gun.

Now is the time for mourning and for healing. But let’s be clear. At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.

And it is in our power to do something about it. I say that recognizing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now. But it’d be wrong for us not to acknowledge it, and at some point, it’s going to important for the American to come to grips with it and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively.

The fact that this took place in a black church obviously also raises questions about a dark part of our history. This is not the first time that black churches have been attacked, and we know the hatred across races and faiths pose a particular threat to our democracy and our ideals.

The good news is I am confident that the outpouring of unity and strength and fellowship and love across Charleston today, from all races, from all faiths, from all places of worship, indicates the degree to which those old vestiges of hatred can be overcome.

That certainly was Dr. King’s hope just over 50 years ago after four little girls were killed in a bombing at a black church in Birmingham, Alabama.

He said, “They lived meaningful lives, and they died nobly. They say to each of us,” Dr. King said, “black and white alike, that we must substitute courage for caution. They say to us that we must be concerned not merely with who murdered them but about the system, the way of life, philosophy which produced the murders. Their death says to us that we must work passionately and unrelentingly for the realization of the American Dream.

“And if one will hold on, he will discover that God walks with him and that God is able to lift you from the fatigue of despair to the buoyancy of hope and transform dark and desolate valleys into sunlit paths of inner peace.”

Reverend Pinckney and his congregation understood that spirit. Their Christian faith compelled them to reach out not just to members of their congregation or to members of their own communities but to all in need. They opened their doors to strangers who might enter a church in search of healing or redemption.

Mother Emanuel Church and its congregation have risen before from flames, from an earthquake, from other dark times to give hope to generations of Charlestonians, and with our prayers and our love and the buoyancy of hope, it will rise again now as a place of peace.

Thank you.

SAPAHM: Chinese Massacre of 1871 in L.A.

“The largest incident of mass lynching in American history.

So … I’m not really sure how to go about writing this post. I know most (all) of the Heritage Month posts that I’ve put up are celebratory. And basically all the posts here generally. I’m not posting an image because the only ~relevant one I can find is a group of the corpses which … no. I’m not really going to say much more because I just want to put the information out there. I might add my thoughts later … I might not.

Despite going against the grain, I think this is a really important topic, and it speaks to an area of Heritage. And little known history. I learned about the incident some time last year while researching a different Heritage topic/group. I was … shocked. I mean, I knew of course that Asian [Pacific] Americans experience racism just like any other minority group in America. I also knew a little bit about the horrible conditions of railroad workers and the like – The Chinese Exclusion Acts … (America really hated Asians…) but … I had no idea that the victims of [one of] the largest mass lynching in American history was a group of Chinese Americans. If you’re like me, I think you’d have assumed that dubious title would be attributed to some atrocity in the south against African Americans. But no.

At least 17 Chinese men and boys were lynched as a result of the incident. Most of them were innocent of any wrong doing. It appears that only one had been a bad actor (and fired bullets into a crowd indiscriminately). Some articles say eighteen, others nineteen men  and boys were lynched. And … isn’t it that much more of a tragedy that what are legitimate sources report different numbers.

The greatest unsolved murders in Los Angeles’ history — bloodier than the Black Dahlia, more coldly vicious than the hit on Bugsy Siegel — occurred on a cool fall night in 1871. Seventeen Chinese men and boys, including a popular doctor, were hanged by an angry mob near what is now Union Station, an act so savage that it bumped the Great Chicago Fire off the front page of The New York Times.

That’s a quote from an article in LA Weekly. I had a really difficult time reading that article. Here’s another quote that describes the incident – with one man protesting the mob action. It also gives you a snapshot of the sentiment toward (against) Chinese Americans at the time.

Goller was a model citizen, a former city councilman, respectful husband and dutiful father. He objected bitterly as the Chinese were hoisted outside his windows. There are small children inside, he protested.

“You dry up, you son of a bitch,” growled a teamster as he leveled a rifle at Goller.

As the Chinese were hauled up, a man on the porch roof danced a jig and gave voice to the resentment many Americans felt over the Chinese willingness to work for low wages. “Come on, boys, patronize home trade,” the man sang out.

The bloodlust was not only in the men. A woman who ran a boardinghouse across the street from Goller’s shop volunteered clothesline to be cut up for nooses.

“Hang them,” she screamed.

A boy came running from a dry goods shop. “Here’s a rope,” he called helpfully.

Of all the Chinese in Los Angeles, Dr. Gene Tong was probably the most eminent and beloved among both his countrymen and Americans. He could have made much more money hanging his shingle in the American part of town. But Tong stayed in the Alley, dispensing both traditional and modern cures from a small shop in the decrepit Coronel Building.

As Tong was dragged along the street, he tried to strike a bargain with his captors. He could pay a ransom, he said. He had $3,000 in gold in his shop. He had a diamond wedding ring. They could have it all.

Instead of negotiating, one of his captors shot him in the mouth to silence him. Then they hanged him, first cutting off his finger to steal the ring.

Eight men were convicted, but their convictions were almost immediately “thrown out for a bizarre technical oversight by the prosecution.” No one was prosecuted again.

This incident appears to have stemmed from conflict between two existing Chinese factions – but I think this tragedy can be considered as both a separate and a whole. There were rival gangs warring, an officer went into Chinatown and was shot, which led to a mob of [whites] descending on the area and just … destroying Chinatown.

You can read the JSTOR article here, which gives you the background as well.

These were the instructions the judge gave to the jury for the lynching trial. (I screencapped the JSTOR article.)

One of the judges I used to work with would swear in witnesses, ordering them to tell the truth “as you shall answer on to God.” Pretty heavy stuff.

SAIHM: Some Obscure History on Native Americans

I think this is something we all know … but not really. As in if you really think about it, you’ll be like “oh, well, duh.” And then you’ll feel sad … because it’s horrible. What am I talking about? Slavery. I know, it’s ugly and horrible … but it’s important to remember. After all, it’s American Indian/Native American Heritage Month … and a big part of history – for the States, and I’d say for the world.

In South Carolina, and to a lesser extent in North Carolina, Virginia, and Louisiana, Indian slavery was a central means by which early colonists funded economic expansion.

Earlier in the article, it says this

The African “role” encompasses the transportation, exploitation, and suffering of many millions in New World slavery, while Indians are described in terms of their succumbing in large numbers to disease, with the survivors facing dispossession of their land. This paradigm—a basic one in the history of colonialism—omits a crucial aspect of the story: the indigenous peoples of the Americas were enslaved in large numbers. This exclusion distorts not only what happened to American Indians under colonialism, but also points to the need for a reassessment of the foundation and nature of European overseas expansion.

So yeah.

Many other Indians were moved hundreds or thousands of miles within the Americas. Sioux Indians from the Minnesota region could be found enslaved in Quebec, and Choctaws from Mississippi in New England. A longstanding line of transportation of Indian slaves led from modern-day Utah and Colorado south into Mexico.

Lastly, this.

The paradigm of “what happened” to American Indians under European colonialism must be revised. Instead of viewing victimization of Africans and Indians as two entirely separate processes, they should be compared and contrasted. This will shed more light on the consequences of colonialism in the Americas, and how racism became one of the dominant ideologies of the modern world. It is time to assess the impact of slave trading and slavery on American Indian peoples, slave and free.

All those quotes were taken from Indian Slavery in the Americas by Alan Gallay. Which of course I understand is just one article, but I think it’s really thought provoking. You can also read the “About” article but I found that one really basic. Or even the Wikipedia article which… you know. Mixed bag there.

And of course if you want more general knowledge, The History Channel appears to have a great page on Native American Cultures.

I wanted to write this post because, well, social justice is important to me, but also, I heard a blip on NPR this week, that really made me think. How something so huge and so important in history just … isn’t talked about. It matters. It matters as to how we think about our history, and it matters because there is so much going on with the various tribes that are still [“relatively intact”] today. I don’t want to discuss that now because I haven’t done enough research but … it’s important. And if you feel so inclined as to do more research or have other questions, I’d love to hear it and help with what I can.

Using Social Media for Good to Make a Difference: Fighting ALS, Ebola, and for Child Refugees

​Social Media for Social Good, our annual charity campaign is in its fifth year. Can you believe that? I know I’ve been more absent than not this year, so unlike the previous years, SMSG14 will be more conversational. I promised Lori in 2012 that ALS would be the focus, and I’m definitely including it, but with so much else going on this year, a few months ago I decided to add Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres; MSF) because of the Ebola crisis, ​and then I saw a report on Syrian child refugees, so we’re adding UNICEF as well. *ETA I specifically chose to start SMSG14 on Make a Difference Day. :)

On ALS from Lori:

This year awareness has been increased so much by the #IceBucketChallenge. It’s awesome that so many who didn’t know anything about ALS are sharing and caring. But the real need is for donations. For research for a cure – and we are closer than ever.

I will walk this year with a mix of sadness and hope. My sister-in-law Sue lost her battle with ALS in March 2013, but I am determined to help fund research for a cure or treatment. So many more are still living with ALS, and we must do all we can to support them.

As a respiratory therapist, I took care of my first ALS patient in 1994, when the amazing Mr. Hoang and his family touched my life. Their strength, courage and humor never ceased to amaze me. I was privileged to know them and be a part of Mr. Hoang’s care team.

Fast-forward 15 years, and our own family was devastated to learn that my brother’s wife Sue was diagnosed. Her spirit and fight, and her resolve to beat this disease filled me with awe. She was an amazing woman, and together with my brother, raised two amazing daughters. I am so privileged that she was my sister for 30 years.

You can find information about Ebola and Child Refugees on both the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and UNICEF “Humanitarian Issues/Crisis” pages respectively. You might want to look and the following is why.

Some facts on Ebola and MSF:

  • The Ebola outbreak was officially declared on March 22, 2014.
  • MSF is currently active in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, with six Ebola case management centers
  • If contracted, Ebola is one of the world’s most deadly diseases. It is a highly infectious virus that can kill up to 90 percent of the people who catch it.
  • According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report issued October 15, 2014, the mortality rate for Ebola cases in West Africa is nearly 50%
  • The situation is so dire the first ever UN emergency health mission, the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) has been set up
  • The WHO also says the situation in Africa is deteriorating.
  • MSF has been the first — and often only — line of defense against Ebola in West Africa.

There is hope.

  • Nigera was officially declared Ebola free on October 20, 2014.
  • In 2007, MSF entirely contained an epidemic of Ebola in Uganda.

They need our help. You can read one MSF worker’s account here. From the beginning I’ve been hearing the most about MSF doing work on the ground, so that’s why I picked MSF over other organizations at this time.

And this is why I also decided to add UNICEF. I saw a report and just cried my eyes out.

I have a major soft spot for children, and seeing ones who are so young – 10 years old or younger – working all day out in the field, then excited to go to school … I had to help make that happen.

  • A UN report back from February found that more than 10,000 children have been killed.
  • Syrian children have been sexually abused and tortured, used as human shields and recruited as child soldiers.
  • As of July 7, 2014, 6.5 million Syrian children—an increase of more than two million compared to last year—now need immediate humanitarian assistance.
  • More than 8,000 children have arrived at Syria’s borders without their parents.
  • More than 37,000 Syrian babies have been born as refugees. You can see more on a UNICEF infographic here.
  • A Doctor's Account
  • That is what a doctor is saying about their situation. From February. I cannot imagine the situation has gotten any better. Especially since they said they were running out of funds.
  • $15 can buy pencils and notebooks for an entire classroom, $4 can buy a text book for a child, $4 can buy a story book for a child

There’s so much more to say and so much more information out there, but I just wanted to share a little bit about each. If you have additional information please feel free to share. I’d love to learn about what’s going on and more charities.

I definitely understand giving, and giving quietly. I know it’s not about the adulation you get. I’m making this public though, and encouraging more to do the same because I believe it does spur people to give. (Like the opposite of public shaming!) I also explain why we’re doing a comment drive. I know it’s still tough for so many. If you can’t afford to give, you can still help! Each comment raises money, so comment away. Send your friends, family, enemies. Your pets, anyone! *ETA: Also if you donate but don’t want your name or amount given listed would you please email me to let me know so I can add the amount to the tally? Thank you! <3

I’m down for $1,130. (My break down is $500 for Doctors Without Borders, $315 to the ALS Walk, and $315 to UNICEF)
Amara Royce is making a pledge of 25¢ per comment
Katje is giving $25 + 1¢ per comment to Doctors Without Borders
Melanie and Loupe are going in together for 25¢ per comment
Lucy Monroe is down for $500, and she’ll give an additional $100 when we reach 500 comments
Ayelet Waldman is matching dollar for dollar donations to Doctors Without Borders across all her social media platforms up to $2,000
Laura K. Curtis is donating $10 per comment up to $100

You can donate to ALS at various places, such as the ALSA. This is Lori’s Walk Page.

.
I contacted Doctors Without Borders about setting up a campaign but have yet to hear back, so if that changes, I’ll update here. For now though, donate here. You can also donate through UNICEF and right now (at least for those in the USA your donation will be matched dollar for dollar by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.)

.
UNICEF donations to Syrian children can be made here. For those in the USA, this is a direct donation page.

Won’t you join us? We can do so many amazing things!
And thank you all for your generosity and support.

(I’d also like to note since all of these are non-profit charitable organizations, your donations are tax deductible. Also, considering seeing if your employer will match your donation!)

Let’s do this!

An Update, SMSG14 Information, & Giveaways

Hello my friends and darling readers who are much better people than I am. I wanted to say thank you, and that I’m sorry.

I took away the hiatus message … but it is obvious I’m still not really on top of things. I will continue to try, and attempt to post on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. We’ll see. Life really really kicked my ass this year. And considering I’ve had a time where [we] had to deal with six deaths in a month … yeah.

Anyway. I’m sorry. I really REALLY appreciate you sticking with me.

So, that’s the update. There’s just so much going on in bookland that is holy fucking crazy that I don’t even want to mention it here. Honestly if you don’t know, I say avoid it. It’s toxic. However, if you’re one of the “curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought him back” types like I am … I generally comment on “the things” on twitter.

Now! For … happier things. This year I’m just clearly not on top of things, but I’d been planning SMSG14 for honestly the last two years, unofficially. In 2012 I promised Lori that ALS would be the focus charity of 2014. I definitely still think this is a very noble cause and important issue. I’m adding other issues because of a few reasons. First of all, the ice bucket challenges that raised so much awareness and money this year. Secondly, there are major humanitarian crises out there. (Crises is the plural of crisis yes?)

So, the basics. If you’re new here… SMSG stands for “Social Media for Social Good.” It’s my annual charity fundraiser where I ask the romance community (and frankly everyone) to open their hearts and their wallets for a worthy charitable cause. In 2010 (I did this at TGTBTU) – and the charity was (RED) to help fight AIDS. 2011 there was the famine in East Africa so the charity I chose was Save the Children. In 2012 I chose charity:water which helps build wells so people and places that need it can have safe and accessible clean water. 2013 the focus was child human trafficking, and we went with Love 146. (And then Typhoon Haiyan happened so we split the proceeds.)

This year, along with ALS, I’d like people to donate to Doctors Without Borders because of the Ebola crisis in Africa. And you know, anywhere else – it’s just I think the USA is freaking out a bit too much. (No thank you, 24 hour news cycles.) Then also, UNICEF. (Because why wouldn’t you want to support children in need?) But this especially because … yes another humanitarian crisis. There are too many child refugees from Syria. (In fact the situation was on the front page of MSF – Doctors Without Borders – when I visited.) Did you know many of the child refugees have become field hands? They’re hired to work, as young as 8 years old, because it’s cheaper to hire children than adults. Then after a long day in the field, they’re happy to go to school. I believe I read that $15 is enough to provide for a classroom. (I’m not going to give more details at this time because the main post will be coming next week.)

Kickoff of Social Media for Social Good 2014 will start on [International] Make a Difference Day, which is October 25, 2014. Saturday.

Would you or anyone else be willing to make a pledge? I also say this is a social media fundraiser, because I know times are tough for people, and maybe monetary donations aren’t a possibility at this time. That’s why I ask people who can afford to give make a pledge based on the number of comments. Comments help because it makes the fundraiser something we all can own. You have a goal and a vested interest. I have talked about it and explained my rationale in the past.

I know many people don’t want to announce their amounts – which is cool too. I go both ways – why brag? But on the other hand – many an amount will spur others to donate as well. You know – competition. We all have a part of that in us. I use SMSG14 as my main “tithe” (let’s not even go into explanations there.) – so this year I’m pledging $1,130. I don’t know how I’ll divvy it up, but for now that’s what I’m putting up for sure. I’ll say I’m giving it if we hit 1,000 comments on the main post. [But pssst I’m good for it regardless.]

Would anyone else like to make a pledge? Someone want to take 50 comments? 100? 150, 200, 500? Whatever? 33? Pick a number?

Any moneybags want to do a per comment amount? $1 per comments? ;D Hell, 10¢ per comment?

And then … the giveaways. You might not have noticed, because it’s “just” in the sidebar, but author Michelle M. Pillow has bought ad space at ALBTALBS (yes I offer it!) for all of 2013 and 2014. So pretty much she has single-handedly kept this site afloat. (Thanks Michelle!) I asked her a question somewhat related to SHHM … and you know what? She offered up an audiobook for one of you! Yes! Someone can win a copy of Barbarian Prince! Tell me in the comments if you’d like to win this. Then also, a few weeks ago The Ohio State Buckeyes won a game with more than 60 points … so *I* am having a giveaway too! Someone will win the kindle copy of Frost Maiden, Love Potions, or Fierce Competition. (>.> I may or may not have!!! picked them based on the covers – and that they were either first in the series…)

Lastly? Another giveaway! (Sorry, this is only for friends in the US or Japan …) because it’s a free one month subscription to hulu plus!

Anyone interested in any of those things? 😀 Let me know! Any or all of them! (Also if you make a pledge now for SMSG14, I’ll add you and whatever link you like to the main post!)

Thanks all! Xoxo

Kindle Some Fires for Charity

Social Media for Social Good (SMSG) has been extended… because I don’t think I did a good job spreading the word. In fact, I meant to do that all of January too – but that was fail. What is SMSG? Read about it here: http://www.tartsweet.com/2013/10/26/smsg13-we-can-help-stop-human-trafficking/

Nevertheless I want to do that now. I’m going to create a rafflecopter… :X soon.

We can discuss prizes – it could be a kindle fire, a box of books, or something else, such as jewelry. I do want to note the prize will be *something that I have already. Why? I don’t want to spend money on this because I feel like if I were to spend money, it should go to a donation for charity. Does that make sense?

I hope you all understand.

How will this work? Any person who gets someone to comment on the SMSG13 post, or donate, or both, gets an entry. It’s your job to keep track. So, regardless if I do a rafflecopter or not, you can keep track in the comments of this post.

Ready? Set, GO! SMSG ends on VDay so let’s do this up big! Maybe we can raise a[nother] thousand. Or more! <3 I know I can depend on you!

*NB – the prize will be something NEW. I wouldn’t foist a white elephant type gift on any of you – especially not when it’s for something as brilliant as helping out a charitable cause!

Secondly, I’m closing comments here – because I want all your comments and questions to go to the SMSG post – because remember, each comment helps raise money for charity!

#SMSG13 Thoughts

My friends, I’m sure you’ve all seen and heard about the terrible devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan.

The NYT has a stark page of images – one from each day. News is coming in that the death toll might be much less than the early estimate of 10,000, which of course is good news, but the problem is there is such great need now.

I was wondering – what do you think of switching the focus of SMSG from Love 146 to typhoon relief/aid? I’d go with Save the Children we’ve given to them before, and they’re one of the organizations already on the ground helping.

What do you think? Any objections?

I’d especially like to hear from people who have donated already. If you have an opinion, let me know. I’m more than happy to split it up – or I might go $300/Love 146, $300/Save the Children.

Let me know please. Thank you <3