All across the world, people are at the mercy of something much bigger than them, causing turmoil and crises one could only imagine. In Palestine, thousands have been displaced and mistreated for simply wanting to peacefully live in their homes. In Hawaii, colonial rule has spread homelessness and famine across the islands. Yemen is facing one of the world's worst humanitarian crises in recorded history. Countries all over the world are suffering, and we may sometimes feel helpless but nowadays there are many ways we can contribute. We've compiled a list of ways we can help those suffering.
Learn about the PEOPLE behind the crises
Although the situations that many are going through can be looked at through a bleak lens, it is good to notice that people are being inspired to write, create art, and make music. These beautiful things people are creating the need to be appreciated and art is a universal language that can persevere through any obstacle. Just because you don't speak their language or completely understand what many are going through, does not mean you cannot learn about these awesome and inspiring people. Educating yourself is the first step in making a difference.
Educate Friends and Family
There are many ways to invoke change online, but change starts at home. Whenever you hear a family member say something racist, xenophobic, or anything that is inherently mean spirited, call them out on it and educate them on why what they said is problematic. This alone is very helpful because it comes from a place of love. The hope is that rather than feel attacked, some people will appreciate it and leave the conversation understanding a new perspective. You can't change someone's beliefs completely based on one conversation, but it is a start.
Hold Your Leaders and Representatives Accountable
Although during these troubling times people are losing faith in their representatives, it does not take away from the fact that you can ignite change through them. Call and Email your state and government representatives. It is very important that we hold our representatives accountable, for they are in control of a lot of what the United States government can do overseas, like the imposition of sanctions going on in Iran right now. Their contact info can be found at https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials.
These ones not too complicated. VOTING MATTERS. After the last election, many people lost faith in voting because of the “Popular Vote vs Electoral Vote” issue. But America is a democracy and your voice matters, and you are given a tool that holds a lot of power. And would it not be amazing to have our representatives not depend on us to tell them right and wrong. American leadership is the reason for many of the issues mentioned above, and this is the year to take initiative and help those suffering.
Make sure to register to vote for the upcoming election in November. (Click “Vote” to Register)
Volunteer at Local Refugee Empowerment Centers
Another really helpful option for many people in privileged areas is to offer a helping hand at Refugee Empowerment Centers. These centers help refugees resettle and give them tools to become self-sufficient in their new homes. As a volunteer, you are able to support, mentor, and build relationships with refugees and staff, in turn offering them a better experience during a tough transition. You can find local Empowerment Centers by doing a simple google search.
Share and Post
Something that has been gaining a lot of traction lately; sharing posts about all the different human rights atrocities. These posts usually inform and offer solutions at the same time. Which in turn, also helps spread information to people who don't normally seek out to learn about human rights issues. Here are some posts/Instagram pages below to reference as examples:
- More on the Lebanon Crisis! | Source: @Taniasarin
- Great #BLM Page to Follow! | @ColorofChange
- More on Indigenous Hawaiians (pages to follow) | @project_562, @dallasgoldtooth, @nativeapprops
- Keep up with Palestine | @eye.on.palestine
- Keep up with Syria | @live.love.syria
- Ways to help Uyghur Muslims!
- Open project to feature mobile photography by photographers living and working in Iraq.
- Venezuelan Crisis: How To Help
- Why to Abolish ICE | @theslacktivists
Although petitions don't usually solve problems alone, they are still very helpful. Think of it as recruiting, when a petition starts to gain signatures, it gains traction and is spread all over the internet, helping inform others and bring them over to your cause. Petitions are a great way to educate your community members on issues that NEED the attention of elected officials, it’s a domino effect. One signature can lead to tens, hundreds, thousands, so on & so forth. Do petitions demonstrate the power of group resistance?
Donate to Reputable Charities
DONATE DONATE DONATE! It is unfortunate, but this world runs on money. You need money to sleep, to eat, to live, and millions of people can't afford to survive. Many organizations offer different ways to donate. IRUSA offers a monthly recurring donation service, as well as an option for Zakat. Project Hope offers the same. Your donations help build homes, give clothing, bring food to malnourished areas, and offer education. If you have the opportunity to donate, we hope you take it. Here are a few options that have been vetted:
Spread information, donate to charities, sign petitions, but do not treat someone lesser than for not doing so. Although it can be quite upsetting, arguing does not tend to help open the eyes of others. Offer an opportunity to help rather than shut down.