This month’s Share + Give post is going to get just a tiny bit political, which I said I wouldn’t do in my introduction post, but I hope you will let it slide. The political climate of the past year has been weighing on me. The 2016 election and the current administration have left me feeling hopeless, worried and to be completely frank, depressed. I am worried about my friends and people in my community who are not white or Christian. I did not see or feel any love for black, brown, LQBTQ, non-Christian, not native-born and low-income people in this past election. Every time I turn on the radio or watch an episode of shows I usually enjoy, I feel the weight of this worry, pressing down on me. This election was not about love or kindness and it breaks my heart.
For the time being, I’m on a news cleanse no NPR, no Daily Show, no Samantha Bee, no John Oliver. I have stopped notifications for all of the political groups I belong to on Facebook. My husband and I don’t talk politics right now. I’ve been “news-free” or as much as I can be, for a week and a half now. I’m honestly surprised by how lighter I feel. I also feel guilty, I feel like I should be calling my representatives every day and keeping up on the news. But I know that I can’t help anyone if I’m too depressed to do take care of myself.
I want everyone to be happy, feel loved and safe in their home and community. No matter what your political beliefs are, I feel that is something we can all agree on. While I am not currently engaging in politics, I am working to make a difference, small as it may be, in my community. One of those ways is this project, Share + Give.
For the month of February, I have chosen to donate to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati or NURFC for short. NURFC seems like an obvious choice since February is Black History month, but I also chose NURFC because it gives me hope right now.
Not only does NURFC center educate its visitors about the history of the Underground Railroad and African American history, it also focuses on the efforts of Modern Abolition. Yes, the Modern Abolition, as in efforts to end slavery that is currently happening. Slavery didn’t completely end with President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. NURFC estimates that there are approximately 27 million people currently enslaved around the world. The center hopes to educate, inspire and encourage ordinary people to take actions every day to end slavery. The heroes that they highlight are ordinary people who have worked with others to do extraordinary things.
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center was opened in Cincinnati, right on the bank of the Ohio River, in 2004. Over 100,000 people visit this museum every year to learn the history of the Underground Railroad and about the modern freedom heroes who work to end slavery and human trafficking today. The center serves to create a dialogue on freedom and human rights. The mission of NURFC is to share stories about freedom heroes, from the time of the Underground Railroad to today.
I find the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center inspiring, especially now when I have been feeling discouraged. This quote by Bill Clinton, from the video about NURFC above, seems particularly relevant today.
We never struggle to be free so that we can be divided. We struggle to be free because equality was required for us to be one out of many. That is now the challenge that faces us in an interdependent world. It is the most important thing of all. More important than any specific position on climate change or terror or anything else is whether we are capable of living with the absolute conviction that as wonderful as our differences are, our common humanity matters more.
– Bill Clinton, 2007 International Freedom Conductor
I love that line – “… whether we are capable of living with the absolute conviction that as wonderful as our differences are, our common humanity matters more.” I’ll say it again, OUR COMMON HUMANITY MATTERS MORE. This is my new mantra.
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center gives me hope and reminds me that there is a lot of love in the world, even when I don’t see it on the news or hear about it on the radio. My small donation will help NURFC continue their work, using the lessons of the Underground Railroad to teach, encourage and inspire the modern fight for freedom.
The following six people inspire me to be a better person, some of them on a daily basis (thank you, Facebook!). They also serve as a reminder of how many wonderful and caring people there are in the world.
They also serve as a reminder of how many wonderful and caring people there are in the world.
I am making my donation in honor of:
- Monica – a friend from my library days, Monica constantly reminds me on FB to be kind. Just today she posted a picture that said “Be the reason someone believes in the goodness of people” a quote from Karen Salmansohn. With the picture, Monica wrote, “I don’t always get this right, but I strive to do it when I’m able.”
- Regina – my hairstylist when I lived in Columbus, Regina makes me laugh on a daily basis with her snarky political posts and inspires me with her fantastic yoga poses.
- Antuan – a friend from my library days, Antuan made me feel so welcomed when I came to work with him at a different library branch in Cincinnati. I am grateful that FB has allowed us to keep in touch!
- Jamie – I know Jamie from my Columbus days when I was a member of the Emerging Museum Professionals group. She shares my love of social media and is so bright and positive! She works at NURFC and I think of her as a role model for my own work.
- Nate – Nate owned a coffee shop, called Perks, that I used to frequent when I was at Ohio U. He hosted my very first photography show in Perks. I’m grateful for that first solo art show, but I’m more grateful to be able to read what Nate writes on FB. He writes so elegantly about his family, life in Athens, spirituality and what it means to be loving and accepting of others.
- Tim – Tim is a fellow coffee professional and writer whom I met through a coffee event last year. Since becoming friends online I’ve come to know Tim as a very kind and compassionate person who is so open-minded and willing to really talk to (and listen) people whom he does not agree with.
Happy Share + Give 2017!
If you feel like sharing the love by sharing this post on your social channels and/or by giving to National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in honor of a friend or family member, please use the following hashtags in your post! You don’t have to donate to share the love, just re-tweet or share on FB or regram on Instagram! Let’s see how far we can Share + Give!
#cincyusa #mynurfc #revealstories #inclusivefreedom #blackhistorymonth