I turn (turned?) twenty years old today! Thank you to those y’all who’ve stuck around, for putting up with all sorts of innocuous phases and obnoxious trends throughout the years. As a birthday present, it’d mean the world for you to check out this list. If any of my articles, videos, or captions throughout this time have ever had a positive impact on you, you can thank me now by giving some of these suggestions some mind. Lemme know which you chose! Bless up for twenty bitches!
1. Eat less meat
Lmao you know I had to do it to ’em….reducing your consumption of animal agricultural products translates to less participation in exploiting the environment, constraining your compassion, and neglecting your health. I’ve written about possible motivations towards going plant-based in depth here, as well as general guidelines to follow when transitioning here.
2. Help out Harvey dogs
As a result of Hurricane Harvey, shelters in the affected and surrounding areas have been transporting their “residents” to other states. If you’re looking to adopt or offer funds, find out if your local shelter has taken any of these displaced babies. Shelters in Chicago IL, New Jersey NJ, Colorado Springs CO, Seattle WA, Waukesha WI, De Sota IA, San Diego CA, Daveport IA, Newport CT, Jacksonville FL, and Westerly RI are looking for donations and homes.
3. Support local efforts
Make sure your time is meaningful and money properly spent by directing volunteerism and contributions right at home! For example, my brother’s girlfriend started a small, nonprofit organization called Delivering a Difference to help the homeless in Seattle, conducting bi-weekly “feeds” and monthly drives. You can donate to them here.
4. Give white people a break
Referring to every white girl as Ms.Mayo and talking to her only to point out how thin her lips are, was funny probably the first four or five times. But I don’t understand how we expect a middle-class fourteen year old to answer to her great, great, great grandfather’s son’s rape of woman we aren’t related to. I don’t understand how we continue to force individuals to bare the responsibility of a system and its nuances. I don’t understand how we ignore the budding resentment such treatment fosters, or how we’ve reduced our politics to a petty tit-for-tat. Reforming institutions and the values they perpetuate isn’t accomplished through such reactionary behavior. A path towards lasting progression has never spawned out of misplaced aggression. Becky probably isn’t The Oppressor you want to tear from power. Dismantling white supremacy in a white country requires more finesse than making young girls hate themselves or grown men apologize profusely for having red cheeks. Relax.
5. Prison pen pals!
As you probably know, my older brother is currently incarcerated. Letters from my family, my friends, and myself have really been his anchor. When you’re in solitary for months at a time, contact with the outside world is priceless. There are tons of inmates looking for people to talk with information available on forums such as Prison Talk (I’ve used this one to connect with families of incarcerated loves ones).
If contacting a stranger is too intimidating, my brother is always looking for new people to talk to. You can read his story here, some of his thoughts here and here, and if you wanna reach out, address a letter to here:
Toby Sauceda #384122
Clallam Bay Corrections Center
1830 Eagle Crest Way
Clallam Bay, WA 98043
6. Make sure at least two lemon slices come with Tara’s iced water
Don’t squeeze it yourself. And don’t take off the straw wrapper. She takes particular exception to when hands are involved.
7. The Palestinian diaspora
The Jerusalem Fund for Education and Community Development is an independent, registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit aiming to raise awareness about Palestine and aid those displaced. By donating to their Humanitarian Link, you “help provide short-term grants on a quarterly basis to humanitarian organizations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and surrounding refugee camps”.
8. Menstrual products, buy one give one
9. Volunteer at a hospice
Many hospices participate in Medicare which requires the use of volunteers. I worked for one in high school and it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. If you need the community hours, want to gain experience in an office, or would like to brighten someones final days, contact a hospice near you to learn more about their opportunities for volunteers.
10. Buy straight
Beyond Buckskin has created a comprehensive list of online Native American businesses in an aim to combat growing cultural appropriation seen in the marketplace.
InHerShoes followed the same concept, listing black women owned brands.
11. (E-) Letters to ya senators
I’m blessed my representatives are vocal advocates for most of my interests, but if you live in a state where yours aren’t so aligned, address it in an email. Letters take too long. Calls are ideal. If you’ve got mad anxiety, though, emails are a good alternative. I volunteered on a district assembly campaign and issues addressed through constituent calls were largely prioritized. There are tons of templates online to follow!
If you can’t decide on which issue to talk about first, I recommend finding out whether your senator or representative serves on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs or House of Representatives Committee for Homeland Security. If so, contact them about recent DACA news or ask what they are doing about the conditions within privatized detention centers.
12. Vote and shame your family members and friends to also vote
Bitch what the fuck our turnout rate in this country is ridiculously low like does it really take federal impositions to mobilize the public like are you really going to wait to be fined (Aussies go hard) or publicly shamed (s/o to Italians y’all wild as hell). Like, you can mail in your ballot weeks in advance from your own house. Is a dime for postage too steep? Do local elections for school councils and district assembly only exist in the movies? Seats are coming the fuck on up in these next midterms. Participate! Impose some social pressure! Green & Gerber I love you!
13. Walk for guala
I did that famous mud obstacle course 5k once and decided I’d never do something like that ever again unless it was for (a) a cause or (b) clout. One of the awareness runs I’ve been looking into is the Purple Stride, which also raises money for pancreatic cancer research and treatments. Friends in LA– the next event is in May! Hmu!
This is a collective that is “committed to transforming society through art and culture so that we can all live in a more just world” who operate in mind of how “these upcoming years will be very challenging – whether it’s climate change, women’s rights, immigrant detention, racial justice work, LGBQ rights, TGN (Trans and gender non conforming), and disability justice. We know that our communities will need art and culture to create a safer and more inclusive society.” Donations and purchases help sustain this mission and its artists.
15. Keep care packages for the homeless in your car
Awhile ago me and a friend raised money to make a shitload of these blessing bags with dollar store treasure, and I’ve been meaning to carry the habit to SoCal, too. It’s the best feeling to hand them out at that red light or gridlock ramp instead of shrinking in your seat and avoiding eye contact. Here’s a neat graphic with recommendations of items to include and not include.
16. Puppies behind bars
My brother’s prison has implemented this program and it seriously has one of the most moving missions I’ve ever heard: inmates train puppies to become service dogs to veterans. You can donate directly to this nonprofit, or purchase something from their charity shop.
17. Tell your younger siblings being sexy can wait
Especially your sisters. It’s fucked to see so many young people so obsessed with following trends not meant for them. Pop culture is as accessible as ever, with personas and interactions no longer limited to faulty, slow human transmission. Our community guidelines have yet to catch up with this truth, so we’ve to face the task of countering its effects. These include Music.ly videos of thirteen year olds belly dancing, middle-school ‘sinstas’, misunderstandings of Snapchat’s apparent impermanence, and cross-generation flirting.
18. Veteran services
I’m a military brat from a family with generations of former servicemen, and regardless how you feel towards the military or its complex, I encourage you to extend your empathy.
Attend Stand Down events to help “provide supplies and services to homeless Veterans, such as food, shelter, clothing, health screenings and VA Social Security benefits counseling”. Look up whether an event will be held near you to donate or volunteer. SoCal friends– LA will be hosting one in October!
Think about getting involved with Operation Gratitude, which “annually sends 200,000+ care packages filled with food, entertainment, hygiene, and handmade items, plus personal letters of appreciation to Veterans, First Responders, New Recruits, and Wounded Heroes.”
19. Help a kid’s Christmas
Holiday season is coming up! As a kid, it doesn’t feel like there’s anything worse than waking up Christmas morning to nothing, than going to school after break with nothing to show for. Thankfully, there are tons of programs that connect the community to reduce this problem. When we were younger, my siblings and I would tag along with my dad and his fellow Marines as they worked on the annual drive called Toys for Tots. Find your local drive and donate some goodies.
20. Give a shit 🙂
Apathy’s a poison and selective compassion its catalyst. The world seems to revolve around humanity’s darkest facets, but, as tacky as all fuck it is to say, nothing’s further from the truth. Good people do good things everyday, all the time. Love is found and wounds are healed and relationships are healthy and lives are saved. Oppression in all its flavors pervades of course, and pain is never in short supply obviously, but you don’t have to respect the ugly realities of the world by defining your perceptions to them or shaping your experiences in response to them.
This year has been the best one of my life! Ever! I’ve had bad moments during it as significant as the ones I’ve overcome previously, but dropped the attitudes that relished in them. I quit rooting my identity in my struggle, I stopped humoring the seemingly depth-lessness of the fucked up-ness everywhere, I started masturbating! My world has gotten better twenty times over, which has spilled into how I interact with yours. All we are is embodiments of the interactions between ourselves and our environments, walking feedback loops incorporating the information we provide another. Letting empathy rule over this relationship was a gift to myself and to everyone whose loops I’ve been, and will be, a part of.
Thanks for reading, sorry I’ve been dipping, and seriously read Katherine Hayles essay on the posthuman.