“[L]ook for magic moments. … [T]hink of the things that are magic moments that happen to you, like sunsets and sunrises, rainbows, beautiful birds, music and people’s lovely comments to you. All of those are magic moments and they are free for all. Be sure to keep your eye open for them.”
Julia Hawkins, 103-year-old gold medalist in 100-meter dash
I was in an office waiting room, taking a break from doing some work when I saw the headline: She’s 103 and just ran the 100-meter dash. Her life advice? Look for Magic Moments.
Perhaps you saw the same article.
And there was the picture – a 103-year-old woman with a flower in her hair, running the 100-meter dash.
It got me thinking about how much we underestimate ourselves. How much we presume to know what we can accomplish – how fast we can go, how far we can travel, how much we can do in this one life of ours.
After you’ve been around the sun a few times it feels like you’re an expert on your own life and what it can look like.
And then you look up from your work to see that someone who was born in 1916 just raced the 100 meter dash – after taking up running when she was 100 years old and couldn’t shift her bike anymore.
See, she was an avid biker. But one day she fell, and got a little banged up. And so she decided that she shouldn’t ride her bike anymore.
At 100, I’ll bet that felt like a serious loss. Don’t you think? The thing you’ve been good at, that you’ve been known for – your major hobby and joy… gone. Forever.
But instead of ruminating on that loss, she looked elsewhere. She realized that she was pretty darn good at sprinting to pick up the phone (I’m not kidding), and maybe she should try her hand at running.
Turns out, she’s a pretty talented runner!
But four years ago, she’d never laced up running shoes.
And she wouldn’t have, if she would have just sat in her chair and stewed in the disappointment of being unable to ride her bike.
So, friends – this week let’s focus on all of the things that five years, ten years, twenty years ago we never thought we’d be doing but that are now just part of our everyday lives. You took lots of twisty turns to get where you are today, and there will be many more roundabouts before you’re through.
And hey – maybe right now you’re going through your own big transition; hopefully you can use Julia as inspiration to find your new path. (It exists, you know. The only question is whether you’ll get out there to find it.)
And gosh – let’s all be like Julia, and look for the magical moments, the fantastic friendships, and the gratification we feel when we’re fighting for what’s right.
In a world where there’s so much focus on what we can’t do, let’s focus on what we can, what we have, and what we will.
Let’s get to work.
Actions for the Week of June 25
Tuesday & Wednesday: It’s all about the kids
No doubt you’ve heard of the deplorable conditions that children are being held in on the border. It’s so upsetting it’s hard to pay attention. Doctors and lawyers who have visited the camps tell of children with no soap, no toothbrushes, no pillows, no soft blankets – no diapers … and nobody to protect and love them.
Guards present toddlers to other children in the holding cells and asking who wants to volunteer to care for the newcomer. Mothers try to resume breastfeeding so their children won’t go hungry.
The stories show that breathtaking cruelty is happening right now, in our country, as you read these words.
These are asylum seekers, folks. They are refugees. These are kids whose parents took them on an incredibly dangerous trip because staying where they were was more dangerous.
Many of the kids that were interviewed by doctors and lawyers had relatives in the U.S. – but the Trump administration was using the kids as “bait” to get the relatives to come forward so they could be targeted.
Think about that. Let that one sink in.
Our government is using children as bait.
Are you good and mad? Okay – let’s do something.
First, get your phone and call your Congresscritter right now – Democrat or Republican. We need hearings on what’s going on and we need accountability. This is what the “oversight” function of Congress is supposed to uncover, and they need to get to work. The problem? This Friday they’re leaving for the July 4th holiday and won’t be back in session until July 15.
We need to pressure them now, and keep that pressure on while they’re at home.
Start calling today, and over the week organize some friends to go to your Congress(wo)man’s office to put the pressure on personally. Here’s a LINK to a great draft letter that outlines some of the issues you could discuss with your Congressperson.
Script: Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at ___. I’m calling because I’m extremely concerned about the detention of refugee kids at the border. These kids are asylum-seekers, and their treatment by this administration is awful. What is the Congress(wo)man doing about this? I urge the Congress(wo)man not to trade family separation with unlimited family detention, to do everything in his/her power to end family separation and detention, and to defund family separation in appropriations.
Second, look for ways to volunteer your time or donate to organizations that are working to end these practices.
Volunteer or donate locally by going to the Office of Refugee Resettlement page to find out what resources and contacts are in your state: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/orr/state-programs-annual-overview. You may be surprised at just how much you can do in your own city and state.
KIND (Kids In Need of Defense) is an organization that’s devoted to ensuring migrant children do not appear alone in immigration court. They’re all about making sure these kids have someone speaking for them. It’s an amazing organization. You can support them by donating directly or helping fundraise for them (whether it’s your birthday or not!): https://donate.supportkind.org/campaign/kids-in-need-of-defense-kind-fundraising-pages/c189421
Thursday’s action has more resources for how to help asylum-seekers, so let’s go!
Thursday: new order denies bail to asylum-seekers
Starting in mid-July, the Trump administration will start denying bail to asylum-seekers who don’t enter the country via the two dozen or so ports of entry.
Swim across the river with your toddlers to escape an unsafe situation in Mexico and turn yourself in to border patrol? No bail.
Walk across the desert, find a CBP jeep and turn yourself and your infant in? No bail.
Keep in mind that crossing the border at a non-checkpoint is a misdemeanor that results in a $50 fine.
Also keep in mind that the Trump administration has forced bottlenecks at the official ports of entry, forcing families to wait on the Mexico side of the border with no food, water, or shelter – for days. With no safe place to sleep, families cross the border in sheer desperation.
Barr’s order allows the U.S. to deny bail to any of those people – keeping them in U.S. custody indefinitely until their asylum claim is heard.
So again, what can we do?
Lawyers for Good Government has three very concrete things you can do to help. First, you can contribute to their Project Corazon Travel Fund to help get more lawyers to the border. They’ve already sent 37 lawyers and with our help can send many more.
Second, you can donate airline miles for people – whether asylum seekers or lawyers – who need to travel. In less than a year, Lawyer Moms for America and Project Corazon “have used more than 1.2 million pledged miles and approximately $12,000 to provide more than 75 flights to families in need and attorneys traveling to provide front line pro bono immigration services.” If you have airline miles or points to pledge, please fill out the form AT THIS LINK.
Third, if you are bilingual and speak Spanish you can become a remote intake volunteer; you sign up for shifts and assist when needed. Head over to the L4GG page to learn more.
And here’s an extra – share the Lawyers for Good Government links and site on social media and with your networks. There are lawyers across the country who can – and want – to help. Let’s make sure they know what they can do.
Friday: A few green tips for summer
The news on the environment is, frankly, terrifying. We are all working on electing people who will do more to combat climate change, which is the single biggest thing we can do. And I know we’re all working on putting pressure on companies and the billionaires that run them to change their habits, which is the next biggest thing we can do.
But we can also be mindful of our own practices and behavior. Here are a few simple ways to as the summer heats up.
First up – did you know that a typical charcoal grilling session emits as much CO2 as driving a car for 26 miles? A better choice is gas, which emits 3x less CO2 than charcoal! So there’s a super simple tip to keep in mind this Fourth of July.
Second, let’s talk about that road trip you’ve planned. Transportation is responsible for 28% of greenhouse emissions in the U.S. (I’m actually a bit surprised that’s not higher.) With summer travel season upon us, when you’re putting your travel plans together consider the impact of your choices. Here’s a link to a great infographic from National Geographic that compares the efficiency of cars to trains to planes on a round trip from New York City to Toronto.
Frankly, it’s more complicated than I thought. I figured I’d be able to give you the single most efficient way to travel and that would be that. Not so!
In general, consider how many of you are traveling. If it’s three or four, a car is actually pretty darn efficient per passenger! (Especially if it’s a hybrid.) If you’re solo, a bus or a train is a more efficient choice, because you’re splitting the energy expended with so many other people. Air travel is always the worst offender, unfortunately.
Let’s start making the environmental cost of our vacation or business travel part of our travel considerations, okay?