Activist Needs Help In Her Final Days

How many GoFundMe pages do you expect to see in the next 5-10 years as we basically beg people for charity to pay for burials?  That's a very Victorian way to manage these  matters - charity. 

Why do people do this? The Pittsburgh City Paper recently explored this very question:

[A]ctivism "is a tight-knit community," offering work that is "incredibly interesting and satisfying."

Activists believe that kids with activist parents  enjoy some benefits, too — like being exposed to different ideas and people. Mel Packer, a Point Breeze veteran protester who just retired as a physician's assistant, worked part time to help take care of his family. Taylor, a mother of four, recalls taking her twins to a rally in Topeka, Kan., on the anniversary of Brown vs. the Board of Education. 

Activism has also brought families together. Packer, for example, met his wife, Emily De Ferrari, through political organizing. 

Such personal rewards, activists say, transcend having elaborate lifestyles.

As you can imagine, being a female reporter - she also happens to be queer - working for an alt-weekly doesn't exactly generate the elaborate lifestyle wages either. There's a reason people do it, though. 

As with most things, we need multiple types of reform to have an impact. The role of foundation rules in creating meaningul, sustainable job in the non-profit sector requires some examination, as does the level of public investment via government contracts. Leveling the playing field in terms of gender equity and discrimination is another important tool. Student loan reform has started, but it is absurd that doctors get forgiveness while social workers do not.

Ultimately, the way we treat the helpers as Mr. Rogers would say reflects the value we place on those they are helping. Public sector union employees help everyone even if we just imagine that only poor people rely on the bus to get to work. But even their share of the pie is under constant assault. Social workers and human service workers tend to help the great unwashed, the poor, the ill, the vulnerable. 

And that's an entire other post - how these issues impact people who are poor due to reasons other than their chosen career. 

Charity will pay for headstone, but what sort of crowdfunding will finance a two year stay in a longterm facility? 

It is lovely if you can help Cathy rest in peace these next few days, as you are able. But please consider the larger questions, too. 

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