I’ve seen this brought up in many pages’ comments and discussions. Many are often the same, “Why support XYZ cause when ABC cause is so much more important?!!!” (Feel free to insert any cause into either XYZ or ABC. It’s been said of all of them and vice versa.) The truth is this: Whatever cause a person supports, it’s often out of a personal connection. Not always, but it’s human nature. Special Olympics has become important to my mother and sister after discovering that if my nephew had lived he would have had Downs Syndrome. A dear friend of mom’s also had breast cancer, so Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is another. Some people take on the cause of their favorite celebrities. That’s why celebrities attach their names to whatever cause is important to them. (*Sidenote: Even if you are going to take on the cause of *your* celebrity, it’s a good idea to find out the details of that cause for yourself. PETA is a great example of this — many celebrities still endorse PETA, although somewhere along the way their mission changed. If you believe in a no-kill nation for our pets, PETA might not be the cause for you.)
Another truth that may be difficult to understand for some: XYC Cause is just as important as ABZ and AYX is just as important as ZBC. Entire lives have been changed from schoolchildren raising pennies. No contribution is too small, whether it’s money, volunteering or simply taking a moment out of your time to share with others. Thanks to the advances of social media, when one person shares something, it has the potential to reach thousands — and if a single life is impacted or changed for the better from those thousands, it was well worth that mouse click. I have my two cats because of just such a click.
When I worked for corporations where we could donate to the cause of our choice, I always chose St. Jude. I never really had a reason, there was just something special about them that I wanted to help. Perhaps it was the Patron Saint of Hopeless Causes that gave me a little bit of hope.
What’s most important to me are the causes that support what should be basic rights for all and the ones for those that can’t speak for themselves. You will never convince me that saving the animals that are disaster victims isn’t equally important to saving the people because in my opinion saving the animals saves their owners too. I cried while witnessing bus drivers refusing to allow pets onto buses carrying people to safety from Katrina. Some of the people those bus drivers turned away lost their lives. How did that help anyone? (And I’m proud of the TEXANS who refused to obey that life-threatening “rule” and turned the other way when they saw a wiggling coat or a tail sticking out.) Just as with Katrina, the people of Joplin, MO lost not only their homes but many lost their pets as well. Bringing their pets home to them, safe and sound, is almost the only hope some of these people have left. How can that not be important? Hope is the one shining light that keeps us all going forward to the next day.
*Warning: The stories in these links are HEARTBREAKING. I read that the dog at the end of the video is ok and was returned safely to her family.
My own reason for the rescue and safety of animals is my own sweet Sassy. When I spent weeks in the hospital (and even the doctors weren’t sure that I would go home), Sassy did not give up watching and waiting for me. When I came home, nothing could keep her from my side. When I suffered severe depression, having her with me was the only thing that kept me alive more days than I can count. Animals have qualities that many humans will never possess — the ability to love unconditionally; to always know when you’re sick, sad or in trouble; and to never ever give up.
The other “causes” that are important to me shouldn’t be causes at all. We should not have to fight for them. They are basic human and civil rights. A child should not be afraid to go to school for fear of being bullied. A couple in love should not be forbidden to marry and have children. A sick person should not be turned away from getting health care because they happen to earn less money than everyone else. Every single person I have ever met who is “against” these rights for others either is not impacted by it personally, or worse, already has the PRIVILEGE that they would deny others. Every. One. These are not privileges, however. These are RIGHTS that should not be denied ANYONE.
I had an encounter with a bully the other day. As I sat there, about to bite my lip and not speak up to her, a friend’s voice sounded in my ears. “These are the people who breathed life into Hitler. And because of those who did not speak up, because of those who said ‘Ignore it and it will go away. What harm can one man possibly do anyway? What harm can it do to let them speak their minds about something so pointless?’, it brought about the greatest evil of the 20th Century.” I’m paraphrasing into my own words, but my friend and her country were personally impacted by those who turned and looked away. How can I NOT stop that from happening again? Here in my own country where today we’re celebrating a victory that stated “ALL men are created equal.” I have other friends who are personally impacted by this bully’s words, while she, herself is allowed the “privilege” of what she would deny to them. I will not blind my eyes to the truth. I will not blind my eyes to the bullies of the world any more. I will fight, even though it becomes emotional for me; even though I might do it wrong sometimes; even though it may never make a difference. I will fight the bullies. And I won’t back down.
If you have any humanity in you, this story will bring you to tears (And some of the comments may bring you to anger. I ask that you please not read those. The story of this family speaks volumes against them already.) I wish I had known Andrew. Reading his words, I feel like I do. I feel like he was my voice. He believed what I believe. “What we dream we become.”
” … I hope my son didn’t die for human beings, for Americans, for Minnesotans who would deny him civil rights.”
As an American, I can promise you Mr. Wilfahrts. He didn’t.