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Engineer, startup founder, investor, and writer

benwerd

benwerd

benwerd

ben@benwerd.com

werd.eth

 

Fairness Friday: helping migrants at the border in Del Rio, TX

I’m posting Fairness Fridays: a new community social justice organization each week. I donate to each featured organization. If you feel so inclined, please join me.

Like many people, I was appalled by the pictures of horse-bound border patrol agents corralling Haitian immigrants in Del Rio, Texas. Although the horse patrols have been suspended, that's far from the point: we don't treat people who are seeking a new life in America like they're people at all.

This week I'm donating to organizations that provide help and advocate for their rights.

The Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition is "a group of local citizens and agencies that have united to develop an efficient way to transition refugees to their destinations upon release of federal custody through a unified and coordinated effort."

Because refugees often just arrive with little more than the clothes on their back, the coalition feeds them, provides clothing, medical care, and transportation. And recently, they've been doing it in huge numbers.

You can join me in donating here.

The South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project "empowers immigrants through high-quality legal education, representation, and connections to services. ProBAR serves immigrants in the Rio Grande Valley border region with a particular focus on the legal needs of adults and unaccompanied children in federal custody."

"Founded in 1989 in response to the overwhelming need for pro bono legal representation of Central American asylum-seekers detained in South Texas, ProBAR has a long history of providing critical legal services to people at risk of deportation."

You can join me in donating here.

RAICES Texas is "a nonprofit agency that promotes justice by providing free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees. With legal services, social programs, bond assistance, and an advocacy team focused on changing the narrative around immigration in this country, RAICES is operating on the national frontlines of the fight for immigration rights. [It defends] the rights of immigrants and refugees, empower individuals, families, and communities, and advocate for liberty and justice."

Most recently, it joined forces with the ACLU, Oxfam, and other justice organizations to challenge Title 42 expulsions in federal court. It won a preliminary injunction, but the Biden administration has committed to ongoing expulsions. These must be stopped.

You can join me in donating here.

 

 

Fairness Friday: Anti Police-Terror Project

I’m posting Fairness Fridays: a new community social justice organization each week. I donate to each featured organization. If you feel so inclined, please join me.

This week, I'm donating to the Anti Police-Terror ProjectBased in Oakland, APTP is leading the way in pushing for criminal justice reform. And make no mistake, American criminal justice needs deep reform. Violence is pervasive and abuse is rampant, particularly against communities of color.

APTP describes its mission as follows:

The Anti Police-Terror Project is a Black-led, multi-racial, intergenerational coalition that seeks to build a replicable and sustainable model to eradicate police terror in communities of color. We support families surviving police terror in their fight for justice, documenting police abuses and connecting impacted families and community members with resources, legal referrals, and opportunities for healing. APTP began as a project of the ONYX Organizing Committee.

Recent campaigns have included support for Black communities after Covid, in the light of historic, systemic inequalities, mental health focused responder reform, and effective police oversight in Oakland. This is vital work.

I donated. If you have the means, I encourage you to join me here.

 

 

Fairness Friday: abortion access in Texas

I’m posting Fairness Fridays: a new community social justice organization each week. I donate to each featured organization. If you feel so inclined, please join me.

This week, I’m highlighting two organizations involved in providing access to abortions and reproductive health for women in Texas. I find the Supreme Court’s failure to block the state abortion ban to be extremely troubling. The law itself is horrific, allowing anyone to sue anyone who helps a woman obtain an abortion, with no requirement to have any connection at all to the person being sued. There are no exceptions for rape and incest.

It’s abhorrent. Women have domain over their bodies, as men do. Abortion bans rob them of this.

In addition to the organizations below, I’ve donated to the ActBlue Texas abortion fund, which splits donations to abortion funds across Texas. If you need an abortion in Texas, or know someone who does, Need Abortion contains resources to find providers and financial assistance.

The Texas Equal Access Fund helps low-income people get access to abortions in north, east, and west Texas. Abortion bans disproportionately hurt people from disadvantaged backgrounds. The organization describes its mission as follows:

Texas Equal Access Fund believes that when it comes to abortion, there is no choice if there is no access. Restrictions on abortion access and funding are discriminatory because they especially burden people with low incomes, young people, people in rural areas, and people of color. We oppose all efforts to restrict abortion rights and are committed to fighting for access to abortion for all. We believe that abortion is a fundamental feature of health care, and that it is the responsibility of government to cover abortion as part of social safety net programs. However, in the absence of government funding, we believe it is our duty to act now to support those who want abortions and cannot afford them.

TEA notes that “almost half of our clients are already parenting at least one child and 70% of the people we fund are people of color.”

If you have the means, I encourage you to donate here.

The Afiya Center provides refuge, education, and other resources to Black women. In addition to helping provide access to abortions, TAC provides a range of important services, including HIV/AIDS support, reproductive justice, and work on maternal mortality (Black women are the most likely to die in childbirth in Texas).

It describes its mission as follows:

The Afiya Center (TAC) was established in response to the increasing disparities between HIV incidences worldwide and the extraordinary prevalence of HIV among Black womxn and girls in Texas. TAC is unique in that it is the only Reproductive Justice (RJ) organization in North Texas founded and directed by Black womxn.

At TAC we are transforming the lives, health, and overall wellbeing of Black womxn and girls by providing refuge, education, and resources; we act to ignite the communal voices of Black womxn resulting in our full achievement of reproductive freedom.

If you have the means, I encourage you to donate here.

 

 

Fairness Friday: California Environmental Justice Alliance

I’m posting Fairness Fridays: a new community social justice organization each week. I donate to each featured organization. If you feel so inclined, please join me.


This week, I’m donating to the California Environmental Justice Alliance. Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Abolitionist Law Center describes its mission as follows:

The California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA) is a statewide, community-led alliance that works to achieve environmental justice by advancing policy solutions. We unite the powerful local organizing of our members in the communities most impacted by environmental hazards – low-income communities and communities of color  – to create comprehensive opportunities for change at a statewide level. CEJA builds the power of communities across California to create policies that will alleviate poverty and pollution.

Particularly in the wake of the UN climate change report, climate change and establishing environmental justice is the key issue of our time. Low-income communities, and disproportionately people of color, will be the worst hit by climate change. Organizations like CEJA are crucial to solve the underlying problems and advocate for the vulnerable.

CEJA's campaigns include climate justice, advancing energy equity in California, and establishing green zones.

I donated. If you have the means, I encourage you to do the same.

 

 

Fairness Friday: Abolitionist Law Center

I’m posting Fairness Fridays: a new community social justice organization each week. I donate to each featured organization. If you feel so inclined, please join me.

This week, I’m donating to the Abolitionist Law Center. Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Abolitionist Law Center describes its mission as follows:

The Abolitionist Law Center is a public interest law firm inspired by the struggle of political and politicized prisoners, and organized for the purpose of abolishing class and race based mass incarceration in the United States.

I became aware of the ALC through its Director of Operations, Dustin McDaniel, who was also the lead investigator of the organization’s report into exposure to toxic waste at a Pennsylvania state correctional institution.

Its programs include ending solitary confinement, supporting the political rights of the incarcerated, healthcare rights, and perhaps most importantly, releasing people from prison.

I donated. If you have the means, I encourage you to do the same.

 

Photo by Joe Piette is of the release of Debbie Africa, which the ALC worked on.

 

Fairness Friday: NDN Collective

I’m posting Fairness Fridays: a new community social justice organization each week. I donate to each featured organization. If you feel so inclined, please join me.

This week I'm donating to NDN Collective. Based in Rapid City, South Dakota, NDN Collective describes its mission as follows:

NDN Collective is an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to building Indigenous power. Through organizing, activism, philanthropy, grantmaking, capacity-building and narrative change, we are creating sustainable solutions on Indigenous terms.

As part of a journey to bring my mother's ashes to New England (which I'll write about soon in another post), I've been traveling through Montana and North Dakota. I've been profoundly struck by the level of poverty experienced by Native American communities there. Native Americans suffered a genocide at the hands of European colonizers, and have experienced generational injustices that continue to this day.

NDN Collective's restorative justice work includes climate justice and racial equity campaigning, as well as an important campaign to regain Indigenous land ownership. It has played a key part in campaigns against oil pipelines on Indigenous land. The Collective also makes grants and impact-orientated loans and investments.

I donated. If you have the means, I encourage you to do the same.

 

Photo by Joe Piette.

 

Fairness Friday: Southerners on New Ground

Inspired by Fred Wilson’s Funding Fridays, which highlight a new crowdfunding campaign that he’s contributed to every week, I decided to start a series of my own. This isn’t a knock on him: I genuinely enjoy those posts. But I also felt like there was room for something else.

Starting this week, I’m going to be posting Fairness Fridays: a new community social justice organization each week. I will donate to each featured organization. If you feel so inclined, please join me.

This week, I’m donating to Southerners on New Ground. Based in Atlanta, SONG describes its mission as follows:

We build membership (or our base) as a way to build the skills, connection and leadership of thousands of Southern rural LGBTQ people of color, immigrant people and working class people – united together in the struggle for dignity and justice for all people. In order to transform the South we must build our collective power, our people power, which comes from thousands and thousands of us uniting to make the South the home our communities need it to be.

Its work includes bail reform, Black queer, trans, and gender non-conforming leadership work, and electoral justice. It’s all good stuff.

I donated, became a member, and offered to use my tech skills for community members who need them. If you have the means, I encourage you to do the same.

 

Photo by Nathania Johnson

 

UC Davis spent thousands to erase the pepper-spraying cop. Please reshare. http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article71659992.html