This morning, as we’re counting down to the final two weeks of the Holiday Fund Drive, I’ve been thinking about our history of gutsy advocacy, and how different Seattle might look if Real Change wasn’t here.
Let’s begin with our vendors. This month there are about 350 of them. They all have names. Addis. Ed. Michael. Rhed. Margaret. Sharon. Each of them has hopes for a life that includes Real Change. Everyday, rain or shine, they’re out on the street, putting in the hours, and you’re out there with them, doing your bit to help.
I don’t know about you, but every time I see a Real Change vendor, I’m grateful beyond words that people like you make our work possible, and so are the vendors. They have work they enjoy, money to make their lives a little better, and a whole lot of people who care about their success.
And then there’s the paper. Our quality journalism gives you a window into your community that would otherwise be closed. When people tell us we’re Seattle’s best newspaper, they don’t mean we’re the biggest or have the most staff, or that we have the coolest blog. They mean that we consistently publish the stories they care about, and that they trust our reporting to be honest and in-depth. And our vendors bring it to you with a smile.
What could be better?
Well, I’ll tell you. What makes it even better is that we care about our vendors just like you do, and our activism has made Seattle a more caring place.
In cities across the nation, laws are being passed that “fix” the problem of homelessness for downtown business by making it less visible. There are laws against panhandling. There are laws against having shopping carts and blankets. There are laws against feeding people outdoors. When our city council tried that here, we worked with the Seattle Human Rights Commission, the NAACP and the ACLU to stop them. The mayor stepped in with a veto, and we secured the votes on the council to make it stick.
Before that, Seattle wanted to build a new jail, even though the numbers showed there was no need. We knew once a jail was built, the cells would be filled with poor people. That’s what happens. We led a coalition to oppose the project, and the new jail that was once “inevitable” became politically unpopular and was abandoned.
In recent years we’ve seen that the number of homeless people in Seattle is on the rise, and places to stay indoors have become more crowded and harder to find. We organized with our friends at Nickelsville, SHARE and WHEEL to expand emergency shelter and support self-organized solutions like tent cities. The Committee to End Homelessness in King County has listened and is changing its policy to support the safety and survival of homeless people now.
We’re making a difference, creating an opportunity and a voice for low-income and homeless people and taking action for economic justice. We need your support now to keep it up. We need to reach our Holiday Fund Drive goal by Dec. 31, and at $78,803.10 raised, we still stand $71,196.90 short of getting there. That’s a lot of money, but you can be part of the nearly 1,000 people who get us there one gift at a time.
Please make your tax-deductible donation at our secure website today at realchangenews.org, or send your check to Real Change, 219 1st Ave. S., Ste. 220, Seattle, WA 98104. We can’t do this without you.