The people and organizations below have been a great inspiration to me in this project, as some of the commentary and lyrics in the Same Boat book and songs will showcase. It is my intention to support their work in a beneficiary component of the project as we develop the means to do so.
The Center for Courage and Renewal (Seattle, WA), was founded by author-activist Parker J. Palmer, with the mission to "create a more just, compassionate and healthy world by nurturing personal and professional integrity and the courage to act on it." In the Spring of 2017 I participated in an 8-week series of lively community conversations based on Parker Palmer’s book, Healing the Heart of Democracy, a call for including more heart in our socio-economic bottom lines, government and corporate protocols, local initiatives and simple daily interactions. In our group discussions we were encouraged to listen and share our views without condescension or criticism. There were uncomfortable moments here and there, but our growing willingness to move through them was encouraging, even inspirational. These conversations are being held in churches, schools, community centers and libraries all over the country. (Palmer's book and my participation in these community conversations helped inspire "The Truest Truth" and "Every Bottom Line" lyrics, shown below.)
The Revolutionary Love Project, founded by interfaith leader-activist-author-filmmaker Valarie Kaur in 2016 at the University of Southern California, is committed to fighting for justice through the ethics of love. Valarie sees the light at the end of our dark tunnel of social crisis not as an oncoming train, but the necessary “death throes of a dying paradigm” that will clear the way for something radically new and better. This perspective was put so eloquently in her riveting 2016 New Year's "Watch Night" speech, as she proposed that the crisis of our time is not “the darkness of the tomb, but of the womb,” and that what we are suffering is the hard labor of birthing a new America. (Valarie's speech inspired the lyrics for "Into the Light," shown below).
InOurHands.Love is a non-profit that provides marginalized communities with sustainable and equitable access to clean renewable energy using systems that facilitate energy independence, local employment, and entrepreneurship. IOH was founded by Amherst cum laude graduates, Aaron Resnick and Jason Mackie (also involved with NASA’s New Horizons and other projects), Summa Cum Laude Amherst graduate and Fulbright Scholar, Lindy Labriola, and former member of Amherst’s Sustainability Department, Suhasini Ghosh, among others. IOH recently completed its first 20kW solar panel installation on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, partnering with several local individuals and Oglala-owned enterprises. They will return June 2019 to provide another 20kW of solar power for the Pine Ridge Girls' School. Additionally, IOH has expanded their aid and development into the realm of sustainable housing, utilizing the technology of foamed concrete to created the Sulcata Homes. These domes are affordable, sustainable, durable, easy to construct, and have the potential to drastically improve the quality of life for citizens in climate-vulnerable areas.
Solutions for Interrupted Education (Atlanta, GA), a non-profit founded by a group of educators, activists and social entrepreneurs, is dedicated to training teachers of refugees and migrants all over the world whose education has been interrupted by war and social/political upheaval, trafficking and extreme poverty. With author-activist Barbara Thompson as Executive Director, and guided by an impressive board of directors, SIE is currently partnering with luminaries in education, medicine and socio-economic activism to provide the ASPIRE teacher training conferences in order to meet the growing global challenge of interrupted education. They are currently fundraising for their ASPIRE AFRICA teacher training conference in the summer of 2019. (My own work with the organization inspired the lyrics for "Breathe," shown below.)