Welcome to the Stone Soup Weekly Digest! This is where I share what I'm up to and some of my favorite things from around the internet. Subscribe to Stone Soup to get this in your inbox every week.
I talk often, with colleagues and friends, about how normal it is to feel that what we do can never be enough. It is simply impossible to care enough about everything all the time. It’s normal to wish that one person had the power to fix the things that are broken; it’s normal to wish that a person with so much power would use it for good. But the truth is that none of us are capable of setting things right on our own, because no part of the world we inhabit is meant to rest on the shoulders of an individual.
This doesn’t sound like good news, but it is. Because while none of us are capable of setting things right on our own, we are capable of setting things right together. You, sitting there and reading this on your computer or your phone, are not responsible for everything. You’re responsible for your part, and the rest of us are all responsible for our parts. As individuals, we get tired; as a team, we are tireless. As individuals, we get scared; as a team, we are courageous. As individuals, we get overwhelmed; as a team, we are overwhelming.
We don’t work alone. We work together. And together, we can make things better than they are now. It’s easy to get lost in the problems that are facing us; when you get overwhelmed by despair, look around at everyone else who is working alongside you.
Do what you can. Care for yourself and the people around you. Believe that the world can be better than it is now. Never give up.
In a moment of catastrophe, it’s easy to fall for — and propagate! — misinformation. Right now, world events involve several different parties who try to take advantage of that by actively sowing this precise kind of confusion. A deliberate, orchestrated attempt to spread falsehoods is what defines a disinformation campaign. If you’ve been duped by this kind of thing before, you’re not bad or foolish — that just means the disinformation campaign has been successful.
- You can help do your part online and in your community by hindering the further success of disinformation campaigns. Alex Brown, a librarian I deeply respect, shared this excellent resource on how to spot disinformation:
A good day to share this infographic from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. I use this regularly in my research skills classes. pic.twitter.com/jHGJjwaz1a— Alex Brown 🐀 (they/them) (@QueenOfRats) February 24, 2022
- For a deeper dive into how you can recognize and avoid spreading disinformation, check out the SIFT method. It’s easy to remember and extremely helpful. It also reminds me to recognize that when a headline, video, or tweet is eliciting a very strong reaction from me, I need to pause and evaluate whether that reaction is based on facts — or manipulation.
How to help trans youth in Texas
Texas governor Greg Abbott recently issued a letter directing state health agencies to consider trans-affirming care for minors to be felony child abuse. While not legally binding or enforceable according to the ACLU, this letter and the people it will mobilize are both immensely harmful to trans children and their families.
- The role of Texas Governor is up for grabs this year. If you vote in the state of Texas, make sure you’re registered to vote. Check out this year’s gubernatorial candidates and be sure to vote in every election you can, including in the primaries on March 1. Unseating Greg Abbott is essential to the well-being of marginalized people in Texas.
- TENT, the Transgender Education Network of Texas, is a trans-led and trans-focused organization dedicated to furthering gender diverse equality in Texas. They offer an overwhelming amount of resources, including an emergency relief fund, educational outreach, and a directory to a large network of trans-affirming healthcare providers. They are currently accepting volunteers and donations.
How to help Ukraine
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is currently ongoing. Ukrainian citizens are fleeing the country in massive quantities, leaving behind their homes and searching for safety. As you seek ways to help, watch out for scams; many dishonest and fascist groups are looking to profit from this crisis.
- The International Rescue Committee works to help people facing humanitarian crisis to survive, recover, and rebuild their lives. According to their Senior Director of Emergencies, they are “meeting with partners and local civil society organizations in Poland and Ukraine to assess capacity for responding to an increase of refugees and people in need.” There are a number of ways in which you can support their efforts.
- Nova Ukraine works closely with Ukraine-based organizations and is assembling supply packages for refugees. You can donate here.
- CARE is currently raising money for a Ukraine Crisis Fund to provide immediate aid.
Stop AAPI hate
Hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States continue to escalate as they have throughout recent years. The recent killings of Michelle Alyssa Go and Christina Yuna Lee are part of this horrific ongoing pattern.
- Here is a link to mental health resources, educational materials, community organizations, and legislative explainers.
- If you don’t know what you’d do if you were witness to a hate crime, here is a resource for bystander intervention training.
- The AAPI Equity Alliance is “dedicated to improving the lives of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders through civic engagement, capacity building, and policy advocacy.” Learn more and donate here.
This is not a comprehensive list.
There are lots of things happening, all the time and everywhere, that you can try to help with. Just because something's not on this list, doesn't mean it's not important work.
Also, I’m also not a perfect resource! I vetted these sources to my best ability, but if you spot me spreading bad information, please let me know! Learning to constructively point out disinformation is an important step in dismantling disinformation campaigns.
Let’s do our best, together. I’m glad you’re on my team.
Featured New Release: Love in the Library by Maggie Tokuda-Hall
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Tama is sent to live in a War Relocation Center in the desert. All Japanese Americans from the West Coast — elderly people, children, babies — now live in prison camps like Minidoka. To be who she is has become a crime, it seems, and Tama doesn't know when or if she will ever leave. Trying not to think of the life she once had, she works in the camp's tiny library, taking solace in pages bursting with color and light, love and fairness. And she isn't the only one. George waits each morning by the door, his arms piled with books checked out the day before. As their friendship grows, Tama wonders: Can anyone possibly read so much? Is she the reason George comes to the library every day? Beautifully illustrated and complete with an afterword, back matter, and a photo of the real Tama and George — the author's grandparents — Maggie Tokuda-Hall's elegant love story for readers of all ages sheds light on a shameful chapter of American history.
Add Love in the Library to your tbr here. Order it from your local independent bookseller, or order it via Bookshop.org to support independent booksellers throughout the US and the UK. For international shipping, you can try Barnes & Noble. If you prefer audiobooks, here’s a Libro.fm link. You can also request Love in the Library from your local library — here’s how to get in touch with them. And if you need to order from the Bad River Website, here’s a link that will leverage your order for good.
If you’re a paying subscriber, come by the Stone Soup Supper Club for our weekly chat.
Let’s keep doing our best, together.
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