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Emails to my Therapist

Where to Donate? What to Do?

Dear Nicholas, I’m looking for a racial equality and justice group that pretty much agrees with me on strategy and goals. Has to be non-violent, faster-moving than simply a long-term education approach, and not insistent on total immediate dismantling of law enforcement, instead on radical rebuilding.

Obsessively Searching

Have been agitatedly looking, asking for recommendations on where to donate my small contributions. The search was disturbing, partly because of the need for it and  also because the most extreme stances on any side can be pretty hard to read.

Then I took a break and opened my morning devotional reading and saw this from Maya Angelou: “Do the best you can until you know better. And when you know better, do better.”

How to Know Better?

I like this. At the same time, I’d like to know enough to be sure I’m not supporting something that I think might do more harm than good.

For a long time, I gave a little to a racial justice group I felt was doing right, and then started questioning their choices. I wasn’t the only one. Their old leadership is gone now.  Now that I know better about their practices, I want to do better with some other outfit. But best that I don’t get hung up on “trying to get it right.”

The Monstrous Gap

I have no doubt that racial inequality is still monstrous and needs repairing now.

I also think that demonizing all of any group–police, boomers, bankers, Generation X, SUV drivers, white people–will not help the cause. I’m guessing that even hard-core white supremacists are more often won over by connection than by telling them how bad they are. I can only imagine how difficult that is to do for people of a race so badly abused by injustice. Murderous rage and desire for revenge are understandable.

At the same time, I am worse than unresponsive to political ranting. I have to fight the impulse to declare a ranter wrong, even if I agree with them.

Repairing the Breach

Having narrowed down the possibilities, I’m leaning toward throwing my two cents in with Repairers of the Breach, headed by North Carolina’s Rev. William Barber. They’re focused on what’s needed rather than who they’re against. “The positions are neither left nor right, nor conservative or liberal. Rather, they are morally defensible, constitutionally consistent, and economically sound.” They want to retrain and demilitarize the police, protect the environment, raise the minimum wage, etc. It’s a list I think could bring together the majority of us. Their stands are well-researched, thoughtfully considered and argued.

And of course there’s no reason to choose only one group. I’m still awaiting other folks’ ideas. And wondering what to do differently in my daily life–that I’m willing and able to do–that would be constructive.



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  • June 10, 2020 at 8:08 pm Reply

    In addition to the ACLU, I’m donating to the Equal Justice Initiative. In the past 5 days, writers have donated $22k. I’m also going to check out the group you’ve found – it sounds very good and thanks for sharing it here!

    The Equal Justice Initiative is an outstanding organization working to end mass incarceration, excessive punishment, and racial inequality. As events unfold globally in reaction to George Floyd’s horrific death–our streets full of protestors rightfully demanding a world with justice for all–we are motivated to act. We all want to do something with impact, even those with health matters that keep us at home. We felt an urgency to gather our community of writers together and be part of a positive change.
    Please join us! Any amount IS significant in this cause.The first 30 contributors who donate $100 or more, will receive a copy of Jabari Asim’s book of essays, We Can’t Breathe, a finalist for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award. EJI has an
    A+ rating from Charity Watch. Please share this post with writers, and friends and family, who believe in the Black Lives Matter movement and an end to systemic racism in the United States. Donations are tax deductible.

    Spread the word: #Writersagainstracialinjustice, #Blacklivesmatter, #justiceforgeorgefloyd, #ican’tbreathe,#

    If you know anyone who isn’t on FaceBook that would like to donate, please be sure to ask them to put the word JUSTICE in the Comments Box when they contribute to

    Thank you with all of our hearts!

    Delia Cabe, Lise Haines, Michelle Hoover, Jessica Keener, Elizabeth Searle and Rosie Sultan

  • kenju
    June 10, 2020 at 8:14 pm Reply

    I wish I knew how I could help. I proclaim loud and strong on Facebook when I read of injustice….but I often suspect that I am preaching to the choir…..and that the people who may need to read my diatribes don’t…..and scroll on to something they agree with.

    • Peggy Payne
      June 10, 2020 at 8:32 pm Reply

      Hard not to scroll on, kenju. I do it, for sure. Don’t want to linger over the other stuff. And proclaiming even to the choir likely does some good.

  • June 11, 2020 at 2:29 am Reply

    I respect and admire your long research to find best organizations for donations now, Peggy. And I agree with your choices. I’m participating only in virtual demonstrations till it’s safe to go out again, so I’ll be at Reverand Barber’s Repairers of the Breach virtual march on Washington DC June 20.
    See ya there, bob

    • Peggy Payne
      June 11, 2020 at 2:03 pm Reply

      Thanks for noting the virtual march on Washington on the 20th, Bob. Yes, see ya there.

  • Lee Grohse
    June 17, 2020 at 1:23 pm Reply

    Thanks for bringing Repairers of the Breach to attention. Had heard of this group but never bothered to look into it until I read your post. Agree strongly with their moral priorities and goals and the strategies seem reasonable and safe. I’ll definitely add them to groups I donate to. Thanks. Lee

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