A friend of mine had posted that they were donating to Together Rising to help assist the refugee children that have been detained in cages in the US. I did some quick research and then provided some financial support too.

I’m donating today, friends.

I don’t know what I can do to help, other than give money to an organization that I trust that I know is doing the right thing.

Feel to look up their financials - they are clearly posted on their site.

Every. Bit. Helps. https://t.co/qgTrYhwxUy— Erin Stellato (@erinstellato) June 23, 2019

Then this tweet hit home and I really started to question what more I could do to provide assistance and to get our representatives to take action against this:

If you cannot look at children in cages and see children in cages, then do not be surprised if we look at you and can't see any humanity.— Ijeoma Oluo (@IjeomaOluo) June 22, 2019

We can all disagree on political items and can disagree on many issues. We cannot disagree that putting kids in cages is wrong. Putting kids in cages is wrong! Denying support to humans seeking refuge is wrong. Referring to humans as illegal aliens to dehumanize and justify these inhumane actions is wrong. We should support each other and assist however we can for those who seek refuge. We believed this at some point in the history of this country as the statue of liberty states:

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The point is this, children in cages is wrong. If you do not agree with that, there are bigger issues. I was feeling a bit helpless to what to do next to further support making a positive change in this area. I signed the petitions on Change.org to lend some voice to this cause but this felt like another passive contribution to this issue. Not that a passive contribution is wrong but I felt compelled to do more.

Started researching the best way to lookup and contact representatives and was looking for email addresses. I learned that email communication has been replaced by web forms and that writing letters is delayed by weeks due to the screening of mail. There are telephone numbers provided to call but this is not ideal either. Then, there was a few sites that mentioned that sending a Fax is a more immediate way to get a communication sent to these leaders. There was a service that I located to send faxes but is did not provide a good template method of communication or a central listing of issues to raise to the representatives.

Then, I found that Twilio had an api to send outbound faxing and examples for node.js. That was pretty interesting and then envisioned a site that you could register yourself, put in your address, lookup your representative, list common issues and allow users to submit totally free template letters to their representatives. I would sort out the database items, secure storage, web application and api to facilitate this (having no idea what the true cost would be). Located the domain name that I wanted to use for this ( change.dev ) but it is pretty expensive at over $700 USD. Then, thought of hosting costs and some dev costs for areas that I needed assistance with.

With those things, realized I needed assistance to do the web app and UI elements to make this useful to users and help make this be used to help make a positive impact for this and future issues that need the representatives attention. So, I set up a Patreon for this effort but have no idea what I am doing there. Ultimately this feels like a non profit organization in the making but wanted to kick it off and get it started to see if this would work for people and be a valid first step.

I am open to any ideas here and welcome any feedback on "how" to properly approach this. Do I shamelessly solicit Venmo payments (https://venmo.com/bhedge)???

I want to try something active to support this and not ignore that children are being placed in cages and being denied the most basic of items. We must support humans as equals.

Thank you. Please let me know your thoughts on how to help in the comments below.

Image by skeeze from Pixabay