It’s the holiday season, and that means it’s time to be generous. Not everyone can afford to give monetary gifts — sadly, like myself this year — but I do know that many of you can. I also know that many of you will make donations before the end of the year. And I have a few causes that I would like to consider. You may have seen them or heard about them already, but they deserve the attention. If you’re one of those who are struggling financially, please read on, anyway — there are non-financial ways that you can help.
First up is someone who isn’t asking for a dime, but still needs help — and that person is anyone who doesn’t want to see the dangerous consequences of further conglomerating media sources. Yesterday, the FCC changed regulations to allow newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership (h/t). I’ll leave the explaining to Rep. Louise Slaughter (whose district I used to live in, BTW, and is one of the rare congressional representatives who we can respect):
The ruling loosened a 32-year-old restriction preventing a single company from owning newspapers, as well as television or radio stations in the twenty largest media markets in America. The ability of the Rupert Murdochs of the world to acquire the available news outlets in a single media market will severely restrict the public’s access to free media by making it extremely difficult for independent or competing voices to be heard.
However, isn’t the very foundation of this country based on exactly the opposite premise, that independent and competing voices are essential to the health and vitality of our democracy?
By permitting a few giant conglomerates to own most of the newspapers, as well as the television or radio stations within a single city, the traffic of information is held hostage to the executives in a few corporate boardrooms. Instead of making decisions about content that is based on fairness, or balance, or localism, or diversity, or democratic principles, decisions about what information the American public hear and see will be made with only the company’s bottom line in mind.
As anyone who has been paying attention knows, we’re already way too far down this road to begin with. FreePress is trying to force Congress to take action by gathering 100,000 letters opposing the changes. This is important and it will literally take you one minute.
Next up is Pretty Bird Woman House, a shelter for female victims of domestic abuse on the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota. This shelter is vital to the community, but was recently vandalized extensively and is not currently open. They are looking to buy a new home to act as their shelter, this time right across the street from a police station. They need $70,000 to do so, and with current donations they have another $20,000 to go. This shelter deeply affects the lives of hundreds of women every year and is an extremely worthy cause. Please give donating your serious consideration and pass on the word. Visit Radical Doula for more detailed information.
Lastly comes an update on the New Orleans public housing demolition crisis (h/t). As already reported, the demolitions have been halted. But pending a ruling tomorrow, it’s possible that the demolition crew is going to be back on Friday. If that happens, there will be another wave of non-violence civil disobedience to fight the public housing destruction. Effective civil disobedience requires a lot of bodies. And a lot of bodies don’t come cheaply. They need money and they need it now. These are strong, brave people who are putting themselves on the line to stand up for what is right and we need to show them our support.
Donations can be made out to the Mississippi Disaster Relief Coalition (MDRC) and mailed to P.O. Box 31762 Jackson, MS 39286. Please indicate on your donation “Coalition to Stop Demolitions”. All donations are tax-deductible.
Please read the full call to action — there’s a lot more that you can do besides giving money.