Pretty Bird Woman House is a women's shelter serving the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Without help, the shelter will close due to lack of funds. This diary is about a project to provide the shelter with emergency funding to remain open, and to provide long term support to help the shelter become self-sustaining. Please give what you can, if you can.
After setting up the contribution page for Pretty Bird Woman House, I got called away for the weekend, and haven't had internet access since Friday morning. I came home tonight expecting to see maybe a few hundred dollars on the chipin page.
Wow. Just, wow. I'm speechless at the moment. An update, with a whole lot of "thank you," after I get done putting my son to bed.
Wow. I can not wait to call South Dakota and see if they've been watching.
Updated, 10:11 EST
I’m still at a loss for words, so you’re all stuck with some rather purple prose. After seeing the Chipin page for the first time since Friday morning, and posting a hurried “wow,” I hurried downstairs to put my one-year old son to bed. We read through a few bed time stories and said good night to the stuffed animal population. Then I tucked him in, told him I loved him, and told him that “sometimes this world and the people in it are even better than you can hope for.” And then I started crying. My son reached up and patted my on my cheek, and then he smiled—that soft gentle smile of a child who is near sleep and who knows that things are well in his world. I wish I could show all of you that perfect smile, because it expresses how I’m feeling right now far better than any text I could type.
On Wednesday, like many of you, I heard NPR’s coverage of the Amnesty International report, and with it, almost as a foot note, the news that Pretty Bird Woman House was out of funding and would be closing. My wife and I talked about the story that night, and we both agreed that an online fund raising effort might be able to provide some help.
On Thursday, I saw devilstower’s post on the subject, including his request that someone see if something could be done about the shelter. I posted a quick diary asking for some additional volunteers, then made a call to Georgia Little Shield (the shelter’s director) to try to get some kind of sense of the program’s funding needs. We decided to set a goal of 25,000, based both on their funding needs, and based on the success of the recent BYU fundraiser. As we said our goodbyes, I emphasized that I could not make any promises as to how much money they’d get:
Me: “I really don’t want to falsely get your hopes up—but at worst, there are already a few folks that have pledged around 300 dollars.”
Georgia: “300 dollars will keep our phones on.”
So I used the information Georgia had sent me to build a quick chipin page. On Friday I needed to travel, and while I know I would be off line for most of the day, I expected to get internet access that evening. When I left Friday morning, the chipin donations stood at a 25.00 (Thank you to the first person who gave! I’m not going to reveal your name here, but you know who you are.). My internet hiatus ended up lasting the entire time I was away.
I spent a lot of the weekend thinking about the project, and preparing myself to be disappointed when I got back home. Intellectually I know that the online progressive community could be generous—the BYU commencement project had proven that only a week earlier. But kicking in some money to metaphorically flip Dick Cheney the bird is fun. Lots of fun. Cash to keep an Indian American women’s shelter open?
The next time you hear anyone suggest that the online progressive community only cares about hating George Bush, point to this project. Point to the generosity and caring of this community. Point to the women and children of Standing Rock Reservation, some of whom, because of this community's efforts, will stand a better chance of escaping the cycle of domestic and sexual violence.
So, that’s what it feels like to come home from a weekend long trip and discover that the progressive community has joined you in supporting a women’s shelter in trouble—to the tune of eleven thousand dollars, plus an unknown amount of checks sent directly to the shelter.
Thank you devilstower. Thank you misslaura. But most importantly, thank you to every person that has sent a donation, offered their help and passed this information on to other interested parties. I’ve done very little here; you all have done an awful lot.
And with that, there’s still an awful lot of work to be done! At a quick glance:
- I'm working with the shelter's director to set up a paypal account for the shelter so that folks can contribute directly. In the meantime, if you're not comfortable with paypal, mail in a check!
- We’re still only half way to the goal of 25,000. It’s a goal that I know we can reach.
- Anyone that has sent in a donation via the chipin page, I will be sending you a thank you, but give me time...there are hundreds of you.
- It’s not enough to merely provide these folks with an emergency cash infusion—let’s do the hard work of helping them in becoming a self-sustaining program. I’ve heard from a number of you in offering to help with additional fund raising, grant writing and web page design. I will be in touch. Want to help? Drop me a line: email@example.com
- Here's a quick copy of the note from the Shelter's Director (who saw the success of this effort before I did):
Dear Norman,Thank you again--but we're not done!
Writing to you today as I am watching the progress of the donations. Oh it is so wonderful that we still live a country that people still have hearts.
I have worked in this field of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault for over 13 years and have see some of the most in human things done to our women of color and some time think "why does the government send money across the seas to other country when it has so much going on here." You know we have had as many 13 deaths due to sexual assaults that we get not press or no one cares. And this is just in small area. I think to myself how come, Why, no one cares. But that is not true we just needed to get the right coverage and get it out. I have a cousin who has been missing for 4 years now and she lived with a white man who abused her. He works for the city land fill. No wonder we can not find her. But it seems that when white women die the press is all over it. "Why"
Oh I am in the process of setting up the paypal account so it can go directly to the shelter account at the bank. Thank you much for giving us hope and can help many women and there children.
Georgia Little Shield/Director
Pretty Bird Woman House