“It’s really interesting because people are judging my actions but they aren’t willing to help me achieve my goal. I really don’t get that. How can you place judgment on someone and not be willing to help them? I think it’s really selfish and super controlling. But I’m stepping in the light and focusing on myself.” - Television actress Nydia Simone on her update at UCLA
Reality is a bitch. When I set out to use my film to raise funds for the Red Cross, the initiative seemed more promising and easier than it has come to be so far. This effort has introduced me to some of the best and most supportive parts of several communities while also bringing out the naysayers of society.
The latter part is an experience that I find rather unbelievable because you’d think it makes sense to help an organization that works to ensure your safety and survival, right?! In the last few months, however, I’m finding that a lot of people who would gladly receive financial assistance or other forms of humanitarian aid from disaster relief organizations (and even expect it) are less than willing to give it. This makes for a sad world we live in where people want to take and take and take from others but too few people want to put in anything for the chance at saving lives.
I thought my Red Cross fundraising campaign would be an ideal way to give back to a good cause while also gaining an audience for the movie. However, I’ve encountered folks who question these efforts without even taking the time to request further details or look it up for themselves and find out more information about what I’m doing.
Have you ever tried talking to someone who won’t even take a minute to consider supporting a good cause because they have so many more constructive things to do -- like scroll through iPhone apps, shop for superficial goods or complain about their own, unrelated, misfortunes? You know, those kinds of people who are on the defense and ready to shoot down any chances to make a difference before these opportunities get presented to them. From the door, they’ve already decided they’re not getting involved with whatever you have going on. However, they want to make sure you hear them out loud and clear on what they think about you’re objectives.
It’s no secret that finding support for the arts (especially indie music, film, painting, sculpture, etc.) is like finding a needle in a haystack. I didn’t imagine, however, that it would be just as hard to find support for the Red Cross. So, I wonder if this experience is providing a glimpse into the difficulties that many non-profit organizations face every day of the year, when trying to obtain funding for the programs and services they provide to our country’s citizens and abroad.
Have we really come to a point where you have to dump a bucket of ice water on top of yourself in order to get other people to care about important matters that could affect them or their loved ones?
Between DVD sales and a movie gift basket raffle, the money raised so far through my movie tour is enough to impact survivors of disasters in the following ways:
- Buy a week’s worth of groceries for two families displaced from a disaster
- Provide more than one dozen blankets to warm men, women and children who experience power outages during a winter storm
- Supply nearly two dozen comfort kits filled with toiletries such as soap, toothbrushes and shaving cream
- Connect a family to a military spouse or relative serving overseas, so they can return home during an emergency
- Cover a few nights in a hotel for people who lost their home in a disaster
This is what’s happening with my fundraiser while the negative nancies in our communities sit on their asses, being rude, narrow-minded and downright hopeless. When was the last time any of these folks provided disaster relief to more than a handful of strangers affected by a tragedy? Probably not anytime recently, if ever. That is why I understand where actress Nydia Simone is coming from when she shares her observations on people who are quick to judge others but not be willing to lift a finger to help.
Pay closer attention (but not too much, ‘cause any more is a waste of time) and you will likely find that those who talk crap about what someone else is doing live uneventful lives. Whatever the issue is at hand, they tend to be part of the problem, not the solution. It’s easy to shoot down the efforts of others when you don’t have anything worthwhile going on. It’s easy to judge how someone spends his or her time when you’re not actively contributing to the rest of the world.
It’s easy to remain in your own little bubble without a care for the tragedies occurring outside your door or in your backyard – that is, until you are the one who is in need of solace from a catastrophe or help from those outside your circle of friends, family and “trusted” sources.
As a human race, I know we can do better. Time will tell what comes of this Red Cross fundraiser but there have been a lot of lessons learned up to this point. It’s a whole new world when the ideas I have in my head about what can be accomplished with the projects I’m involved in turn out looking much different in action. Still, I’m going to do what I can because, as famed rocker Lenny Kravitz once said, it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.