The news broke last night that a Grand Jury determined not to indict the officer that shot Michael Brown to death in Ferguson, Missouri. At about the same time, Marissa Alexander accepted a plea deal in Florida. Ms. Alexander was facing decades in prison for firing a warning shot – hurting no one – at her abusive husband. Her case has been held up in contrast to both George Zimmerman’s in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin a few years ago and this recent case in Ferguson. As you can imagine, both my Facebook and Twitter feeds are flooded with..conversation. In a lot of ways, these cases demonstrate the title of this blog. And with all of my white privilege, I have a sense of despair. But I am trying to listen more than I talk.
24 hours later, Ferguson is still burning and there have been a lot of suggestions tossed around about What We Can Do. One that I saw more than once was something like, “Ferguson schools are closed today, but its library is open. Donate to help the community.” Now you all know I am in favor of voting with my pocketbook, and I think libraries are the cornerstone of civilization. But somehow, my head keeps going back to Marissa Alexander.
Domestic violence. Self-defense. Stand your ground. Oh, how I hate guns.
Crowdrise, my favorite online giving tool, is having a – very well sponsored – fundraising campaign over the holiday season. I used it to donate to the WINGS Program.
The WINGS Program is “one of the largest domestic violence service and housing providers in the state of Illinois. Single women and women with children are able to receive temporary safe shelter through WINGS housing while staff provides one-on-one, individualized assistance that allows women to set personal goals that will enable them to work, continue their education, and care for themselves and their children.”
Instead of fighting racism, I am helping women. Instead of helping Ferguson, I am going local. But this Thanksgiving week, this is where I can find some meaning in the madness. I hope you can find some, too.