I hope you all had a great weekend -- DC is all blue sky today! -- and that you take some time to remember the reason why some of us have today off. I think Dr. King would be proud of the way we have banded together to support Haiti and the efforts we have made to promote equality for all, regardless of race, gender, country of origin, sexuality and ability or disability.
However, I think we all know we have a long way to go. There's no question in my mind that Haiti was ignored by all of us for far too long -- even before the earthquake struck many Haitians were living on less than $2 a day; some had to resort to mixing mud with salt and shortening to feed their families.
Both inside the third world and out, people are faced with incredible adversity every day -- gay people in Uganda are being threatened by legislation that would give them the death penalty, many women have zero freedom to choose to live their lives as they please, and are frequently trafficked against their will. There is also great work that needs to be done here in the U.S., where it might be nice if we all stopped acting like women have an "expiration date," reformed our education system to make sure no teen feels like dropping out is their best option, empowered and educated people to make good decisions about their health -- and, frankly, to provide health care when they have no other option.
So I'm incredibly proud of everyone who donated a bit of money in the past week, but I just wanted to take a few moments to remind us all (myself included) that we need to work to address the root causes of inequality constantly -- education reform, unequal rights under the law, political instability, etc. Whether you choose to do so through monetary donations, volunteering, political activism, shopping responsibly or just by living a life that exemplifies your principles, you will be making a difference, as cliche as that sounds.
Thank you for letting me turn this blog into my little soap box today -- there's no question that the world has a lot of very complex problems, with even more complex answers. So let's keep thinking about them...
To close out, there are about a million and one worthy causes to get involved with, but two that I strongly recommend checking out are Women for Women International and DC Central Kitchen. I'd love for you to share other great organizations in the comments.