To the People Who Voted Yes On Prop 8 Who Will One Day Have Gay Kids:

May your children be happy, and beautiful, and strong.
May they tumble in a joyful conflagration of limbs through forests and cities,
May they be able to see everything they hope to see, and may they bless the grounds whereupon they walk. May they make things brighter, greener, may they heal the places they go.
May your children love you, and value your love in return. May they see your home as a place of love, and community, and learning.
May your children be woven into vast and satisfying lives. May they have abundant love, abundant questions, abundant energy. May they be excited about bold projects and may their spirits be fed by their loves, their passions, by the earth and by their places of spiritual renewal.
May your children visit every Sunday, or send funny letters from far-off places, or live next door, or call regularly. May your children want to talk to you because they feel healed when they do, and loved as fully as when they were sleepy two year-olds being tucked into bed.
May your children forgive you for what you were not able to understand. May they try to stay in touch with you even when you push them aside. May they wait for you to grow. May they stay healthy and alive and find love from other places if they cannot find it from you. May they find ways to heal the wounds of loss, and build home in many places. May they love themselves unconditionally, fiercely as they can, may they care for their lovers and partners and spouses and children and elders and everyone in their lives.
May your children find new ways to build family, and may they salvage the best of what you gave them. May they credit you with teaching them good things. May they grow kinder with age. May they try to rebuild with you, over and over, may they mourn when it is not possible.
May your children see you grow old.
May they stroke your hand with patience, and love you even when your heart is closed.
May your children come to you as you lay there, small wisps of hair, when you are small and vulnerable, may your children stroke your head and tell you they love you, unconditionally, in spite of everything.

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I write reviews for Left Turn,

which is a great publication to check out (and buy!). Check out my latest review, of Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor And The Dark Side of The New Global Economy, By John Bowe, here:

http://www.leftturn.org/?q=node/1265&bc=a%3A2%3A{i%3A0%3Bs%3A20%3A%22%3Ca+href%3D%22%2F%22%3EHome%3C%2Fa%3E%22%3Bi%3A1%3Bs%3A67%3A%22%3Ca+href%3D%22%2F%3Fq%3Dcurrentissue%26amp%3Bvid%3D%26amp%3Btid%3D377%22+class%3D%22active%22%3E%3C%2Fa%3E%22%3B}

You can get to Left Turn’s website here: http://www.leftturn.org/

Another favorite magazine is Spread – written mostly by sex workers and featuring excellent, smart, interesting articles about what’s going on all over the world – as well as sometimes photo essays and even comics (a plus for me!)

You can go to Spread Magazine’s website (and subscribe too!) at: http://www.spreadmagazine.org/

Peregrination

Dictionary.com informs me that this word means “a traveling from place to place”. That’s about right for me – I think the longest I’ve been in any one place since I was 17 was for three years. It’s almost time to settle down, except for this one thing – I would never, ever, ever settle down where I’m at right now.

I’m in Los Angeles now, in year two of law school, and so now have a whole additional set of questions. For example, how can it possibly make sense for juries to be allowed to get drunk during trials (no hating on drinking, just during trials) or be asleep, and then to have their verdicts still upheld? This is one of a million questions. It’s also funny, beause there is this beautiful, intellectual reason why juries should be able to be as drunk and asleep as they want – how juries are a black box, info goes in one side and justice comes out the other. How no one wants juries harassed after trials, and no one wants juries to feel perused. On an intellectual level, this makes sense, and yet the outcome is absolutely ridiculous.

Arizona State Universty – suffering from a Barbie infestation

My little sister is at her first year of college at Arizona State University – not her top pick, but they offered her a free ride and she took it. For the school year, whenever we’ve talked, she’s told me about the culture of the place and how strange it is, how white, how narrow in terms of body types. I figured she wasn’t talking to the right people or spending time in places where she would meet everybody else, but now that I’m on campus I see what she means. It is as if a virus raged through the campus, transforming noses that breathe into pert little question marks, asses into small orchard-picked apples, rending people’s pelts a golden tan and girls’ eyes wider than Bambi and framed with thickets of mascara.
I am also learning new suburban vocabulary. “Laying out” means not merely tanning, but rather the complex web of social and physical interactions that comes with laying in front of a pool for several hours in your bikini or swim trunks. There are complex group dynamics – exclusion, rejection, social ambition, jealousy – wherein, for example, one bikini-claid waif saw her friend and squealed, “But you didn’t tell me you were going to lay out!”. There is drama – who is flirting with who, who knows what about who. This is all acted out very slowly, mimicking the mating habits of turtles, since everyone is exhausted from laying in the sun for hours. A twitch of the thigh or a sideways turn of the head are tiny indicators of this great drama. There is danger – lay out for too long and you get a nasty burn, lay out for too little and your skin won’t acquire that golden sheen associated with beauty and luxury. There is intrigue – who looks good, who has gained weight, who likes who. It’s a strange environment to blunder into, wearing my dowdy one-piece and just desiring a brisk splash.
Another interesting thing about campus. There are invisible servants. These servants make food take place, whisk dishes away and scrub them to gleaming porceline perfection. There are servants who tend and water the grass which shouldn’t grow in these desert climes. There are painters, cooks, cleaners, construction workers, all operating silently like the plucky help in Beauty and the Beast. In fact, they are not that silent, have their own conversations and lives and frustrations, but most students here seem to ignore them entirely as if there were miniature black holes around each person scrubbing their toilets. The workers’ drab uniforms contribute to this invisibility, encasing them in sacks of dour maroon. The majority of the students I have seen are white here, and most of the white ones are blonde. The majority of the workers are people of color – mostly Latinos, some African Americans. When I watch the students slide their eyes past and through the help, I wonder if this is something they are used to, if they did the same things with the nannies and housekeepers that kept their parents’ white shag pristine. How does someone get so good at ignoring the existence of other people? But I can’t talk. I think I might have been like that once too.
In some ways, this place seems like a perfect preparation for an upper middle class life. Do some sedentary work and fret over how hard you are toiling, trot through endlessly sparkling bathrooms and hallways cleaned by invisible hands, and have your food – disconnected from farmworkers or factory workers or cooks – magically prepared for you via the same system. All you must do in return is be very beautiful, obedient and thin. So it makes sense, this Barbie infestation, or better yet, the Barbie virus. To fit fully, to reap maximum benefit, to win the lifetime of pool-laying and having other people take care of you, it seems that you have to catch this contagion – compare yourself, reduce yourself, ignore the people who make it all happen.

Shoddy translation and white kids competing for cred

Competing for cred – it’s damn irritating to be around people who do it, and I can claim my share of guilt. What does competing for cred mean? For me, it means doing and learning little things that make me come off as deeply knowledgable about a community of people of color to white people like me. Think Save the Last Dance – the white girl goes to the majority-black school, learns how to dance over the course of several months from her black boyfriend, and then uses that new learning to impress the white judges of a highly competitive arts academy. She hasn’t actually done anything to benefit the community where she learned all of those funky dance moves. She just accumulated them, repeated them, and allowed them to pave her way to bigger and better things.

Here’s some examples from my world:

I do a lot of spoken translation, mostly because there are not that many very bilingual people in the organization I work with, and I end up thinking a lot about the often undeserved cred I get in that context. I learned most of my spoken Spanish from being around people who speak it, and from listening, and from being very generously instructed by friends, co-workers and clients at the community social service/organizing agency where I used to work.

As a result, my accent is great, at least to the untrained ear. People who don’t speak Spanish who hear me speaking are frequently impressed. And I definitely have tried hard to learn, to improve my grammar, to get better at doing spoken interpretation quickly while conveying meaning as accurately as possible. But I’m still learning. I screw up tenses all the time – so someone might say, “I would have really liked to get on that train” and I turn it into “I had gotten on that train”. That’s quite a difference, especially when you take into account the part where the translation is happening so people can make some pretty major decisions about exploitative and dangerous situations they find themselves in.

I don’t screw up all the time – but enough so that my translation can be confusing, and be a roadblock to people’s decision-making. Here’s the thing – if you only speak English, you a) don’t know that I mistranslated and b) blame the Spanish speakers in the meeting for being confused. You also assume that I just magically learned that Spanish because I am terribly smart, which (while I’d like to assume this is true) is less important than the part where many, many native speakers generously invested their time and energy in teaching me. And unlike H2B visa workers or day laborers, who work 8-18 hours a day, struggle to make ends meet while holding multiple jobs and send most of their scant earnings back home, I have had the time to make a serious investment in learning Spanish. By contrast, many of the Spanish-speaking immigrants I have known would absolutely love to learn English, but they don’t have any time to learn, any money to pay for expensive language courses, or any English speakers waiting eagerly to practice with them. It’s a one-way learning flow for the most part.

But English speakers – other people like me – assume that I’m damn fabulous and have a deep understanding of Spanish. And I’ve accumulated enough specialized vocabulary in Spanish to sound like I know a bunch about people from Latin America. For example, I know that a chilango is a person from Mexico City, and a salvatrucho is a younger – or more gangsta-identified – person from El Salvador. So I can get jobs at social services agencies, even gigs advising organizations about how to better meet the needs or reach or educate Spanish-speaking immigrants.

But really – the only people who really know about their community, how to reach each other, how to educate each other – are the Spanish-speaking immigrants themselves, who happen to not be a monolithic group. My cred shouldn’t give me such undeserved assumed expertise. And any organization that’s driven by its base (sorry for the organizing jargon) would be checking in with the Spanish speakers as much as the English speakers, to see what’s actually being transmitted and what is being lost in translation.

So how do I learn about a community that I’m not a part of? One way – and one I’m frequently guilty of – is to accumulate little pieces of information and then throw them around. I know Tupac’s songs, and Mercedes Sosa, and I can talk about police profiling. And those are important things to know – each of these items like one word in a larger vocabulary. But it doesn’t mean that I understand that community deeply, doesn’t mean I am trustworthy, doesn’t mean I am going to be around for the long haul. That’s the cred-accumulating way to learn.

So what’s the principled way to learn and talk about a community that’s not my own? I’m still working on this, but here are some ideas:

1) When someone tells me about an issue or dynamic in a different community, ask whether that’s something they’d like repeated, or something they prefer to only share themselves. It’s beyond wrong to repeat information that was shared with me in confidence, as a trusted ally, just so I can get white kids who are my age to think I’m extra cool.

2) Speak up as much about the rights and needs of that community with people like me who aren’t supportive as with people like me who are. I know that’s confusing – here’s what it means: I need to be as willing to talk to my grandma about the myriad reasons “those Mexicans” (her term for anyone from Latin America) come to the U.S. as I am to talk to other cool progressive people my age about my work with immigrant communities. If I’m not willing to speak up strongly about that community in all settings, especially settings where I don’t benefit from speaking up, I need to shut up.

3) Deep learning. In learning Spanish, it was great that I picked up all those little snippets of slang and street culture that came from living in California. But now I have to focus on learning the less-sexy stuff – the preterite, for example, and the false cognates that have snuck insidiously into my Spanish vocab. In the same way, that deep learning about communities other than my own happens not through being present for a couple of hours, days, months in order to learn little snippets of info about this community, but through the less-sexy work of being in contact, regular, supportive, solidarity-type contact for a lifetime. That’s not always fun, or entertaining, or exciting. And yet – if I claim solidarity, it’s my job.

Why the State Department doesn’t think there is a civil war in Iraq

Okay, I know this is supposed to be about New Orleans, but I’m back in DC for turkey day and visiting with family and friends. In the family tradition of hating the Bush administration and in solidarity with my dad, who as a federal government employee is not allowed to voice any public criticisms of the actions of the current administration, I offer to you (drum roll, please):

possible reasons why the State Department and Mr. Bush don’t think that there is a civil war rising in Iraq (and as a bonus, why all violence in Iraq is definitely, completely, 100% not our fault ever ever ever):

(for those of us who don’t read the news enough, here’s a broad overview of who is saying what: CNN article from 11/28/06 on whether there is civil war)

1) Our GPS system got messed up and we confused Iraq with Switzerland. It’s an easy mistake…in fact, maybe that’s why we still haven’t found those weapons of mass destruction! Damn you, Switzerland!

2) Bush thought civil war meant a contest where you see who is most polite. (Apparently, occupying and terrorizing a nation counts as polite for him. Different strokes for different folks, you know?)

3) U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that Iraq is near civil war, warning “Unless something is done drastically and urgently to arrest the deteriorating situation, we could be there. In fact we are almost there.” What does he know? Everyone knows that when leaders at the U.N. want something, a strong nation does the opposite. Just look at how we held the line against ratifying that wussy Kyoto Protocol. And that’s worked out fine! So what if DC is a balmy 65 degrees in November? Do you hate sunshine like you hate freedom?

4) Freedom, America, stay the course, hold the line, fight the war on terror, stand strong in the face of our enemy, accept nothing less than victory, fight for our children, you must be either a friend or an enemy, retreat is unamerican and admitting you really screwed up is not manly, freedom, threat, fight terror, keep up this push, don’t be swayed, the enemy wants you to ask questions, don’t question the President, support our men and women overseas, stay, children, terrorists, war, course, fight, strong, loved ones, threat. No arguing with that logic!

and for our fun added extra, you-read-all-the-way-down-the-page bonus, why no violence in Iraq could possibly be our fault, ever!

– Pathology. We send soldiers to fight terrorists. Soldiers are human and terrorists are not. So when they go off duty, kill a teenage girl’s family and then rape her and kill her too, and then amble back onto base, it’s understandable because they’re under a lot of pressure. Terrorists just act violently all the time, like little destruction machines, and their actions have nothing to do with such rape-murders or accidental mass killings. We just don’t know why they’re so violent! C’mon, guys, play nice and let bygones be bygones.

-Initiative. Or rather, a sorry lack thereof. All those poor, starving and bombed-out Iraqi people just need to reach down amongst the shambles of their destroyed homes and pull themselves up by their broken to non-existent bootstraps. Hey, starving families, if you really wanted your country back, you would have forgotten about all those minor details like trying to find food to feed your family or medical care for children injured by shrapnel. There are larger things afoot – a constitution has been drafted, with the incredibly careful scrutiny of the U.S. A new government is happening – again! Why so glum? Climb every mountain, you know? Stop complaining and start doing (um, ps no politics that don’t work for us. we’re sure you understand).

-Liberation. Dude, did you forget the part where we saved your country? Uh, yeah. We totally came in, remember we did that thing with the statue getting pulled down? We’ve set up cool little U.S. bases all over, think of them as McDonalds but with less french fries and more barbed wire. Also, we have been working very hard to do a better job of figuring out who is an insurgent and who is a civilian. We’re pretty sure it has something to do with fashion, or something in the whites of their eyes, and we do unfortunately tend to have to shoot indiscriminately on sight. But we’re working damn hard to get it straight, with no thanks from the Iraqis or all those liberal left-wing-controlled media that always spout off terrorist garbage around “body counts” and “anger over U.S. occupation”. Someday we’ll liberate ourselves from all that trash too. We’re spotless, baby!

Organized labor plus racial justice equals wonderful

Check it out! A handy dandy article on a bunch of the work I’m involved in…I forgot that I haven’t really been sharing with my friends and loved ones about what I’m up to… check out a blurb and a link.

http://labornotes.org/node/260

After a Year, Hurricane Katrina Still Pummels Workers
By Jane Slaughter

The first week he was in New Orleans, Juan Sifford was recruited on a
street corner to tear down a chain-link fence and dig up some bamboo
roots. The contractor promised him and three other workers $100 each
for the job.

When the work was done and the men piled back into the contractor’s
truck, he drove them to what Sifford calls “a really bad neighborhood.
He climbs down off the truck and he gives us $120. Not individually,
collectively. Then he showed me his sidearm.”

The only thing unusual about Sifford’s story is that he’s not a Latino
immigrant. He’s a Black man from North Carolina, trying his luck as a
day laborer on the street corners of post-flood New Orleans.

CLICK ON THE LINK FOR THE REST!

Guns out, kicking down doors to make NOLA safer…

Well folks, it’s confirmed. New Orleans may not have a functioning, full-service hospital for low-income people. So try not to get too injured here. I have heard of people being sent from emergency room to emergency room, looking for someone who could set a broken arm. Poor wanderers, be cautioned! New Orleans also may not have enough public defenders. They’re mostly funded through parking tickets and people have been waiting in jail for months without being convicted of anything, merely because that was how long it took the case to get to the right court. New Orleans may not have enough homes to house all of the people who want to come back, especially people who were renting before the storm and now are trying to come back to rents that are twice as expensive and pay that is the same. And New Orleans may not have enough structures for schools and childcare, and it may not have healthy parks and it may still have toxic puddles of sludge just sitting, more than a year afterwards. Hopefully we can agree, you and I, dear reader, that New Orleans is lacking some really basic stuff.

However, there is one public resource ( at least, some call it that) that is bountiful in New Orleans, and that is law enforcement. Yes, folks, whether we’re talking about National Guard rolling ’round town in their sand-colored Humvees and big guns, ICE (that’s the entity formerly known as the INS, for those not in the know), and of course, the ubiquitous little white cop cars that crawl like beetles through downtown. Yes folks, law enforcement rolls through, walks in, watches, pulses in the cracks of this city. Now, you might ask: does this mean the city is really safe, and grandmas have lots of help crossing streets, and no one is ever hurt, and everything is fluffy and wonderful? And sadly, reader, the answer is no. Murder rates are high as they ever were before, some friends have gotten chased on their bikes and one friend was hit with a baseball bat while riding and had to get stitches in his forehead. Little old ladies appear to continue to cross streets unabetted by any agent of the state.

This begs the question, what are all these law enforcement types actually doing? Well, I have a partial answer. At an anonymous party at an abandoned building, the location of which I have conveniently forgotten, around 80 people were sitting on a well-enclosed rooftop, smoking cigarettes, talking about health and flirtation and random sundry topics, and occasionally dancing. As we are about to leave, we are notified that a police car has pulled up outside, and no one should leave so we don’t make the cops want to come in. One car is joined by another, and then two more. Everyone waits nervously. People engage in predictable stress responses – panic: “I want to just leave, right now!”, bargaining: “well, if we turn the music back on, at least we can have fun while we’re waiting to see what they do, strategizing: “we’ll get all the people who can’t get arrested to hide, and I’ll go in this nook right here” and my personal favorite, watching and waiting. Everyone mills, everyone stresses, it’s cold and the party is no fun. All of a sudden, we hear “police are coming, police are coming!” and people scatter to the seven winds, hiding, mostly very poorly, in the area. Police come in, kick the door down to the rooftop party, screaming and shouting threats, insulting people, telling people they’ll shoot anyone that doesn’t obey them. Nervous, trigger-happy cops. The party just got even more fun! Everyone has to come out, hands up, and lay down on the ground. One cop keeps his gun pulled in front of him, nervously waving it at people with ghoul faces and pirate costumes. The cops shout; the cops insult; the cops caution. The cops make everyone parade downstairs, after much fanfare and threat. Everyone sits outside. Yawn. It’s cold, and there are people who shouldn’t get arrested, but it’s pretty clear – there are 80 of us, and only 4 cop cars. When they tire of their bravado and bluster, they will leave. And leave they do, after telling the partygoers that they have “thirty seconds to run out of here as fast as you can!” and almost – but not quite – arresting several people who said that since the building was abandoned, it didn’t really seem like the partygoers were trespassing. People got yelled at, insulted, made to do things, and got scared, but no one got hurt and no one got arrested.

So this is a teaching moment. We were so protected in so many ways – many of the party goers were white, many were out-of-towners, most weren’t at terrible risk from being in contact with law enforcement. But it was scary, right? The people with the guns and the twitchy fingers set the rules in those situations, and redress happens later, if at all. It made me think of all the black men I have seen detained by the National Guard, and all the people who live under U.S. military control all over the world – Iraq, Afghanistan, everywhere we have military bases. It was a short period of scary for me, but I knew that at the end of the day, an injury to my person by a police officer would be pretty big news. You know – poor little white girl, just wanted to have a fun Halloween party, brutally hurt by the New Orleans Police Department. Everyone does the math about how much people’s bodies are worth according to capitalism, mass media, and the society in which we live. What if I lived in Iraq, where there is no one to take an interest in the part where I am mistreated? What if I was a person of color in this city, in any city, where my body was valued less by those institutions, where there was no redress, where living under the potential threat of being shot was normal, where law enforcement is always present and people are being jailed for nothing or for things that were no problem elsewhere or when other people do it?

It’s a lot to think about. This experience is exceptional in my life, rather than a daily reality – that’s why I’m thinking about it so much. What do you do if it’s your life, if there’s no escape?

Conversations in the laundromat

While I am washing three weeks of dirty clothes, some people in the laundromat pull me into a conversation about the city’s reconstruction. They’re still living in trailers outside their homes, are all over 50, one person has a disability and another is looking after her 96-year-old mother. They think it’s great that volunteers have come down to gut homes (take out the ruined interiors and remove mold, which must happen before any rebuilding can take place), especially since the city is charging either $7,000 or $9,000 (I forget) to gut people’s houses. Two women had their houses gutted by church groups; an older man did his himself. Some had insurance. One person had five different insurance adjustor come out to his ruined home, just to tell him the same thing: you’re not covered. And everyone agrees: we didn’t have enough savings before the storm to pay off our mortages. We can’t front the money for repairs, we have to wait for the federal disaster money to come in. How can we be expected to pay up front for fixing their houses when the savings we did have has gone to half a year of post-hurricane chaos, the financial drain that living on the road, displaced, out of town, far from family and community and home, has placed on everyone? One woman didn’t have flood insurance, and has received tiny pittances from her insurance companies – $5,000 in total. She’s been told that the cost of fixing her roof alone will be at least $9,000.
While folding clothes in the welcome heat of the Esplanade Street Washateria, they say that Home Depot wouldn’t even want them to come in the store for such tiny sums. But this is what they really agree on: federal money has been sent to the state of Louisiana for the rebuilding of homes. And the state of Louisiana is sitting on the money. They are all on the same page about why, too: the interest. The state, they say, is earning lots of interest from that money and benefitting from the slow pace of reconstruction. Meanwhile, they say, the politicians live rich, and they continue on with their lives, trying to live in the one reconstructed room in their house, doing tiny fixes by hand, helping family members up the steep steps into the tiny trailers, doing laundry. They love the city, the people, and they will continue, separating colors from whites, adding the bleach, advising each other about which driers really work, folding the warm clothes. And they continue the slow, patient process of waiting for the money that they need to fix their homes.

The art of showing up

I am in a lot of discussions where we obsess about accountability to the communities that we are working in/with. These discussions go on forever, turn on their tails, and are filled with such levels of nuance that it feels nigh impossible to figure out a straight answer to the question, “is my work accountable to this community or not?”. And rightfully so – these are important and slippery questions.

However, let me say that I think there are some basic ways to be accountable and they look like this:

1) Show up when you said you were going to show up

2) Do what you said you were going to do

This sounds simple, right? But no…think about how often it doesn’t happen. Case in point:

LHOP is a free basic outdoor health clinic in New Orleans. It was set up to meet the needs of the immigrant workers who were coming into the city to work as day laborers or jornaleros, doing dangerous and exhausting labor for generally low pay, supposedly being paid by contractors by the day (although ask pretty much anyone waiting on a corner, and they can tell you of at least one instance where they worked for five, twelve hours, several days or weeks, and then weren’t paid). While day laborers come from all over and have a million different stories, a lot of people are from Mexico and Central America, a lot come from very poor area and a lot of people are displaced from rural areas, often due to U.S. fiscal policy. A lot of the services LHOP offers are things most people in the U.S. don’t think twice about, like Tetanus and Hepatitis A vaccines, which some people have never had before. The clinic also gives out safety masks and protective suits, since most workers are inside buildings that are filled with toxic mold and have been given NO protective anything by their employers. LHOP runs on next to nothing and is completely staffed by volunteers. We’d love to make it happen more often, but right now it only takes place two hours, once a week, and there’s always more people interested in services than there are time and materials to supply them with what they need.

This is all well and good, but what does it have to do with the title of this post? This: pretty much every week, a volunteer or two doesn’t show up. There’s lots of reasons – the clinic is early in the morning (7-9am), it’s far from where some volunteers are housed, people get lost, people stay out late and have trouble getting up on time, etc etc etc. And I get the feeling that when these errant volunteers call us from their houses and their beds, they have a sense that their presence or absence won’t make much of a difference. Here’s what it means, though, when even just one person doesn’t show up: we see half as many patients, people wait twice as long, people don’t get information about how to protect themselves against the toxic conditions they work in, patients who don’t get seen continue to allow infections, injuries, illnessess to fester because they don’t have a full half day or day to take off to go to another clinic and we didn’t get to them in the line before their employer showed up. When everything’s on a shoestring, the impacts of everyone’s choices are obscenely amplified, making each one of us sturdy little volunteers unfairly powerful.

So that’s my rant for the day and my lesson to myself too…don’t promise people things unless you’re going to follow through. And don’t forget the complicated web you move in – no matter how much easier it would be to think your actions have no impact on anyone other than yourself, it’s just not true. Everyone holds more power than we should here – every volunteer at least. It is not fair, and it is true, and we all have to decide to acknowledge and use that power well, accountably. Or not…after all, it’s not us the volunteers who suffer when we don’t follow through.

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