We Can All Make Lemonade

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together. ~Vincent Van Gogh

Lulu loved lemonade stands.

She loved selling fresh-squeezed lemonade from an adorable stand perched at the end of her driveway. She used the money she earned to buy the kinds of things that ten-year-old girls want.

That is, until her mother mentioned that it might be nice if the proceeds went to a charity of some sort.

Then Lulu got an idea.

She learned that just one dollar – which is what she charged for one glass of lemonade – was enough to provide someone in Africa with clean drinking water for one year.

She learned that girls her age in Africa walked miles every day to fetch dirty water while boys her age went to school.

One glass of lemonade.

One dollar.

Water for one year.

Most kids her age would just shrug that information off, wouldn’t they? But not Lulu.

Instead, Lulu organized a boys vs. girls lemonade challenge for her fifth grade class – and raised a whopping $4,000.

And LemonAID Warriors was born. Since its founding, LemonAID Warriors has raised over $150,000 – providing clean drinking water to thousands of people – and has sent hundreds of children to school. Through LemonAID, Lulu shares creative action plans and provides PhilanthroParty Planning Guides to help “make social activism a part of her generation’s social life.” Now a freshman in college, she also recently published a book – PhilanthroParties! A Party-Planning Guide for Kids Who Want to Give Back.

She was just 10 years old when she realized that she could make a difference in someone’s life with the proceeds from a lemonade stand.

At ten, you can’t drive, you can’t vote, you can’t have a credit card. You’re lucky if you have an allowance. A ten year old has no power and no agency.

But still.

She didn’t let that stand in her way.

Friends, sometimes it can feel like we lack power, too. It can feel like we’re just along for the ride – that there’s nothing really that’s within our control. It’s easy to shrug it all off, to stop trying.

But we do have power. And there are little things that we can do. And those things add up.

A phone call here. A small donation there. A few encouraging words, or an introduction, or a few hours of your time.

Take it from a 10-year-old who recognized that great things are done one small thing at a time… and then got to work squeezing lemons.

After all, we can all make lemonade.

Let’s get to work.


Tuesday: Support Net Neutrality

Word on the street is that the Senate vote on net neutrality will happen Wednesday. Remember Net Neutrality? Net Neutrality requires all internet service providers to treat all sites and all users equally. It’s the same kind of principle that’s used for regulating other pieces of infrastructure, like highways and telephone lines.

Without net neutrality, ISPs have the option of slowing sites (like mine) unless we pay more for “fast” lane usage, or charging users more for access to sites or speeds. Keep in mind that these days a website is a business’s storefront. If a website loads slowly (i.e., if it takes longer than three seconds) over 70% of web traffic goes somewhere else. If ISPs start charging more for “fast lane” access, small companies will lose yet more business.

That should be a reason for the GOP to step in and stop the FCC from killing net neutrality, but so far they’ve been silent. (Hmm. I wonder why?)

Please call your Senators to encourage them to use the Congressional Review Act to reverse the FCC’s decision to reverse net neutrality, or head over to Battle For the Net to write them.

Script: Hi, my name is ___ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling to ask the Senator to vote to use the Congressional Review Act to reverse the FCC’s decision to end net neutrality.

Wednesday: Oppose the Farm Bill

We discussed the farm bill last week, but it bears repeating – this bill is terrible, and it’s an all-hands-on deck situation to bring attention to it.

Not only is the Farm Bill bad for families (see last week’s post) but it’s bad for food systems. The Sierra Club has a great primer on why and how that’s worth reading in full. But here are some high points from that primer:

  • Federal programs that help farmers and ranchers improve water and soil quality, decrease synthetic inputs, and protect wildlife face the biggest cutbacks—Conaway’s draft proposes reducing them by about $7 billion over 10 years.
  • The proposed farm bill would eliminate the requirement that the Forest Service consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service or NOAA Fisheries about whether forest management activity is “not likely to adversely affect” an animal, plant, or habitat protected by the Endangered Species Act. The House GOP’s farm bill also excludes a variety of activities from environmental reviews for certain forest management projects like logging.
  • It undercuts the Endangered Species Act via a provision that allows the EPA to approve pesticides without considering the harm they pose to endangered species, such as salmon and honeybees. The GOP bill would also preempt the rights of local governments to restrict certain uses of pesticides and would weaken restrictions on methyl bromide, a highly toxic soil fumigant.
  • The GOP farm bill contains no meaningful limitations on subsidy payments to industrialized mega-farms. In fact, the bill raises Farm Service Agency loan caps, making them less available to small, midsize, and beginning farms—and likely better serving larger farms and CAFO operations.

So please call your Congresscritter (the farm bill is in the House) to let them know that you expect them to oppose the Farm Bill – not only because it’s bad for families (see last week’s post) but it’s bad for our environment and our farmers.

Thursday: Volunteer with Organizations that Help Candidates

Here are two organizations you can volunteer with that provide help for candidates:

First, let’s talk about Run for Something, which recruits people to run for office and then screens candidates and connects them to resources. It’s a fun organization that’s been on the forefront of candidate recruitment, and they’re always super cheerful. (A big plus!)

You can volunteer for them in any number of ways – from making calls for nominees to screening potential candidates to mentoring people who are running for office. Check them out, and see if it’s a fit!

If you’re in Missouri (or if you’re interested in helping Missouri candidates), sign up for Representative Deb Lavender’s Adopt-A-District program. The program matches folks with skills with folks that need them – while eliminating geographic barriers and making it really easy to volunteer. They’ll also be having some cool and inspiring events after the primary. Head over here to the website, where you can indicate what kind of volunteering you’d like to do, and AAD will pair you with a nominee that needs the kind of help you’re able to give.

Friday: What’s Next in the Fight for Our Lives?

The National School Walkout is looking to the future of the gun sense movement and has planned events on May 19. Head over here to indicate that you’d like to host or attend a meeting.

You should also check for Wear Orange events near you. If you’re not familiar with Wear Orange, it’s an annual event that began after the tragic shooting death of Hadiya Pendleton; her friends wore orange – the color that hunters wear to signify “don’t shoot” – in her honor. This year, Wear Orange events will be held on June 2. You can check here to find one near you.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for writing. I read and respond to every e-mail. (Really! I really do!) We’re in this together.

If you want one more quick action, make someone’s day and send this pep talk to a friend or two.

If you’d like to sign up to get this pep talk and action list in your in-box each week, you can do that here. Welcome, friend!

Lastly, if you’d like to support this work (thanks to those who have done so!), you can become a supporter here.


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