Like many of you, we are appalled by the inhumane cruelty leveled against migrants and refugees, and are especially heartbroken by the state-sponsored abuses enacted against children. BADCamp gave us an opportunity to utilize our sponsorship booth to create space to talk about this humanitarian crisis. We invited attendees at our booth to help us allocate $1,000 between three nonprofits advancing legal aid, humanitarian aid, or policy change on this issue.
Most of us at BADCamp are not indigenous to the lands we inhabit. Our forebears chose migration in search of better lives. In an effort to stress this commonality we share with the migrants and refugees being detained, we asked attendees to write their name and place of origin onto a butterfly -- a symbol of migration and immigrant’s rights -- and to pin it to our wall map illustrating our community's collective history of migration. Participants were then given a token to “donate” our funds to one of the following non-profits:
- Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) works to ensure that no child appears in immigration court alone without high quality representation. The compelling video “Unaccompanied: Alone in America” by Linda Freedman shows why orgs like KIND are needed. We’re making a $430 donation to KIND.
- Save the Children is the only national response agency working in transit shelters focused on the unique needs of children. They help prevent kids from being left on the street after they’ve been released from cages. We’ll be making a $300 donation to Save the Children.
- Detention Watch Network (DWN) seeks to abolish immigration detention as a critical step towards ending xenophobia, racialized oppression, and related policies of mass incarceration. We’ll be making a $320 donation to DWN.
This crisis presents no shortage of horrors, but thankfully there are also no shortage of solutions and people willing to enact them. Along with the organizations we chose, there are many other incredible organizations working to combat the brutality of this issue that we wish we could have donated to, including RAICES, Families Belong Together and United We Dream. What we’ve done is a drop in the bucket and we continue to look for other ways to contribute.
If we believe in the rightness of our convictions, then it’s imperative that we take any opportunity available to do something helpful with the tools, resources, and skills at hand – even if it’s small. This creativity-inspiring ethos helped us counter the climate of fear and anxiety borne by the 2016 US Presidential Election. It felt absurd to be discussing conference t-shirts when, in our personal lives, we were making urgent donations to orgs we felt might assuage the crisis we were in. Ultimately, rather than handing out more branded material destined for landfills, we wanted to use our money for something good.
We’re heartened to see other booth sponsors using donations as part of their engagement. Kudos to Platform.sh for their donations to One Tree Planted at BADCamp. Shout out to Last Call Media for making donations part of their interaction at DrupalCon Seattle. Our community is built on an open-source ecosystem. This makes contributions an essential part of our nature. We love watching the ethos expand and manifest through our community. We look forward to seeing you at future conferences and building more than a better internet together.