Tag Archives: hugs

Upstanding one hug at a time

Today was a strange day.
First, one of my professors leaned on me. During class I could see that she was struggling. I waited after class until everyone else had left and said, “You okay? You look like you could use a hug.” She broke. I held her. We had an intense moment together while she told me about her family and her heritage and the ways this election not only puts her at risk, but also tells her pretty explicitly that there are millions of people who don’t value her life. We connected in a way we hadn’t before – she’s always kept herself aloof. I shared my fears, and my determination to be a better ally, to offer support and comfort and aid whenever I could, in whatever ways I could.
Then, I went to a shop on the hill to get some supplies before my next class. The woman behind the counter was Asian. We started talking and when I told her that I was upset and ashamed about the way the election went, she confessed her fears, and those of her children. She wept when I held her hand and looked her in the eye to tell her that I was glad she was here, that her children were here and to promise them that I was fighting for them, and would continue to fight for their safety and their right to be here. I assured her that she is not alone. We hugged.
There were other smaller events, smaller moments of connection, moments where I saw someone hurting and made my allyship explicit and told them in no uncertain terms that I had their back, that I would work and fight and do everything in my power to keep them and those they love from harm, and that I was not alone in this effort.
Friends, again, I ask you – stand up, speak up, reach out – protect those who are feeling abandoned by their nation, who feel threatened not just by this president, but by the people who voted him into office. Recognize their fear, and offer them support.
I see people asking what the big deal is, I’ve seen and heard people joking about deportation… This is not a joke, this is not a drill. During this campaign people were threatened in direct and explicit terms, and the person who threatened them is now our president-elect.
Feel that. What would you need in order to feel safe in that environment? Offer that. Exude that. Being an ally requires action, it requires compassion, it requires letting your guard down enough to see, and it requires owning that fixing this mess is our job.
Let’s get to work.
pretendhug

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Filed under Naive idealism, Rant, Things that work

A Let’s Make it Better App

So, there is a person that I follow on twitter. She’s been having a rough go of things lately. She’s not whining about it, or asking for favors because of it.

She is documenting it because her experiences are part of a larger social justice struggle. The things she experiences daily are things that I simply don’t have to deal with, things that I would guess the majority of my readers don’t have to deal with. But they are her daily lived reality. And they are the daily lived reality of many other people like her.

I was scrolling her feed the other day and trying to find ways to support her. There’s the easy and obvious, reply to her with words of encouragement. I did that, but I am a small voice in a sea of hate on her bad days. And – I’m a stranger. I follow her, but she does not follow me. We are not friends. We are simply fellow travelers, and I am eavesdropping on her conversation at the bar. I am an intruder in her space and my voice simply does not travel as far inside as that of a friend.

Now, at a regular bar if this happened, I could have my server, or the bartender, send over a drink or some food. Some small token from one human to another, “I see you, I hear you, I feel you. This too shall pass.”

But, on twitter… There is no way to do something that tangible.

I did send her a message and offered the usual – a shipment of chocolate or cookies, or even homemade jam. (Remarkably, yes, sometimes strangers do accept shipments of jam from me.) She didn’t reply. Again, I’m a stranger, and for me to send her anything she would have to trust me enough to give me her address – and she has no reason to do that.

And then I thought about other times that I have reached out to people on the internets to send them emergency chocolate, a box of cookies, coffee and tea gift baskets, a handwritten letter, and yes – jam.

And I thought about all the people I follow and interact with, people I have never met, probably never will meet, people who have absolutely no reason to give me their address (Have you seen the ranty shit I write!?! Would you trust me with your address?!?) and I had an ah-ha! moment.

I am not normally an app kinda gal, but… There should be an app for this.

There should be an app that allows someone like me to send a cookie gram, or chocolate gram, or flowergram or emergency teddy bear to someone on twitter or facebook or next-hip-social media space – even if their handle is the only thing I know about them.

Now – the first follow-up thought I had to this epiphany was – “Oh wait, the trolls!” Because many of the people who need this service most need it because they are receiving so much hate on the daily, fucking rivers of hate, tsunamis of hate, that the last thing they need is for trolls to be able to send them hateful messages wrapped up with flowers. Can you even imagine surviving *another* horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day only to come home to a doorstep filled with sugar-coated hate!?!

So – this app would need to work with known retailers, retailers who refuse to print hate filled messages on anything. Personally, in my magic app world – you would get to choose from a number of positive messages, no personalization options, and send only nice things. (No lumps of coal.)

Once someone like me signed up/signed in with my social handle, I could input the handle of the person I wanted to send something to and the social network that handle was associated with. The app would ping that person and let them know they had a gift pending. The person would have the option to accept or deny the gift. If they accepted they would sign in (if they were a member it could be a simple one click YES! or NOPE!) and put in their address, so the kindly stalker would never see it, and the worthy person would receive their gift. If they rejected their gift, or simply ignored the gift notice for more than 3 days, the giver wouldn’t be charged and no gift would be sent.

The app company could skim off the top of the charges, taking anywhere from 1-3% for their trouble (or charge the gift giver a standard service fee ala Fandango) and get the goodies delivered.

I am telling all of you about this idea in the hopes that one of you (or lots of you) are app developers or know app developers because that is not my skill set, but this is an app that I would pay for and use and would like to see in the world. So, if someone could make that happen and get back to me, that would be great.

There are a whole lot of people out there who could use some cookies and I’m just the lady to send them.

 

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Filed under Naive idealism, Things that work