$50 for 50 by 50 #36: Safety For All – Vote Yes on Proposition 63

I’m turning 50 this year and instead of whining about it, I’m trying to do something positive by donating $50 to 50 different charities before I’m 50 years old.
This is not a charity, per se, but rather to support a California ballot initiative.

Normally, I’m dead set against the propositions. I do not believe that a 50% + 1 vote, which represent a tiny fraction of the state’s population, should be making decisions that affect the entire state’s population and sometimes beyond. People, as we all know, are often ill-informed and/or easily swayed and should not be put in charge of this kind of thing. This is why we have a representative form of government.

But sometimes a proposition comes along that I feel very strongly about. There are a few on November, 2016’s ballot including proposition 62, which would abolish the death penalty; proposition 64, which would legalize marijuana sales in the state; and, the topic of this post, proposition 63. The measure would prohibit the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines and would require most individuals to pass a background check and obtain authorization from the California Department of Justice to purchase ammunition.

I am one of those liberals who wants to take your guns – freely admit it. I think the world would be a better place if all guns were rounded up, melted down, and turned into playground equipment. The second amendment is an antiquated idea based on the realities of the world 240 years ago; an idea that is just as out of touch with current realities as the idea of black people only being counted as 3/5ths of a human being or women not being allowed to vote. We changed those things when the world evolved. Why can’t we do the same with the second amendment?

Having said that, I understand that this is not something we will ever achieve, at least certainly not in my lifetime. So instead of advocating for an unrealistic nirvana, I will advocate to pass as many restrictions on the sale and ownership of guns as we can get. Proposition 63 will not solve the problem – it may not even help the problem all that much – but if anyone is stopped from buying ammunition that would have otherwise gone on to kill someone(s) it is absolutely worth it.

Join the cause at safetyforall.com.


$50 for 50 by 50 #35: Compassion & Choices

I’m turning 50 this year and instead of whining about it, I’m trying to do something positive by donating $50 to 50 different charities before I’m 50 years old.

Across the nation, we work to protect and expand end-of-life options — and to ensure healthcare providers honor and enable patients’ decisions about their care. To make this vision a reality, Compassion & Choices works nationwide in state legislatures, Congress, courts, medical settings and communities to:

  • empower people with information and tools, including our free consultation program, to receive healthcare that is consistent with their values and priorities as they approach the end of life
  • advance policies that allow people to make fully informed decisions about their healthcare, such as improving hospice and palliative care and ending unwanted medical treatment
  • authorize and implement medical aid in dying to allow mentally capable adults in their final weeks or months of a terminal disease to advance the time of death and end unbearable suffering

It’s our belief — and our experience for the past 30 years — that the path to change starts with individual supporters.

To learn more visit compassionandchoices.org.


$50 for 50 by 50 #34: Children’s Defense Fund

I’m turning 50 this year and instead of whining about it, I’m trying to do something positive by donating $50 to 50 different charities before I’m 50 years old.

Bill mentioned that Hillary worked for the Children’s Defense Fund, the child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly for more than 40 years to ensure a level playing field for all children.

Their Mission:
We champion policies and programs that lift children out of poverty; protect them from abuse and neglect; and ensure their access to health care, quality education and a moral and spiritual foundation. Supported by foundation and corporate grants and individual donations, CDF advocates nationwide on behalf of children to ensure children are always a priority.
We are a national organization with the capacity to work for children at federal, state and community levels across the country. We have our headquarters in Washington, D.C., and offices in California, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, South Carolina and Texas. Through these offices, we expand our work into North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Louisiana and New Jersey. CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tenn., is our home for spiritual renewal, character and leadership development, intergenerational mentoring, and interracial and interfaith dialog about children’s issues.

To learn more visit childrensdefense.org.


$50 for 50 by 50 #33: The Dizzy Feet Foundation

I’m turning 50 this year and instead of whining about it, I’m trying to do something positive by donating $50 to 50 different charities before I’m 50 years old.

The mission of Dizzy Feet Foundation is to improve and increase access to dance education in the United States through grants which support programs serving low-income populations and educational institutions working with talented individuals.

To sponsor, fund, and/or support dance education programs which expose children in low-income areas to the lifelong benefits of dance education through and with local community organizations.

To provide scholarships to talented students studying at accredited or nationally recognized dance schools, studios, or institutions.

To support and increase the quality of all styles of dance education through professional development opportunities for dance educators in conjunction with recognized credentialing organizations.

To learn more visit dizzyfeetfoundation.org.


$50 for 50 by 50 #32: Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

I’m turning 50 this year and instead of whining about it, I’m trying to do something positive by donating $50 to 50 different charities before I’m 50 years old.

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) is a 501(c)(4) organization that was founded in 1974. We seek to secure freedom from gun violence through research, strategic engagement and effective policy advocacy.

Our organizational structure is unique among national gun violence prevention organizations. CSGV is composed of 47 national organizations working to reduce gun violence. Our coalition members include religious organizations, child welfare advocates, public health professionals, and social justice organizations. This diversity of member organizations allows us to reach a wide variety of grassroots constituencies who share our vision of non-violence.

For too long, progress on life-saving gun reforms has been stalemated by legislative gridlock. Our politicians, intimidated by the political power of the National Rifle Association, have refused to act in the wake of tragedy after tragedy. CSGV has a three-part strategy to break this gridlock:

1) We are taking an aggressive approach with political advocacy. Our message to elected officials is simple: “The era of no accountability is over. If you do the NRA’s bidding and put our loved ones in the line of fire, we will educate your constituents about your record.” This strategy involves the use of social media campaigns and hard-hitting TV, radio and print ads.

2) We are building personal relationships with legislators and challenging them to become dedicated, long-term advocates for sensible gun laws. The victims and survivors of gun violence on our staff are the leaders in this lobbying effort. We are also looking to facilitate the advocacy of state/local activists whenever and wherever we can.

3) We are the first gun violence prevention group to talk about the issue in terms of democratic values, and to use the term “insurrectionism” to describe the NRA’s treasonous interpretation of the Second Amendment. By exposing the hypocrisy of the NRA’s “freedom” message, we have reframed the debate and put them on the defensive.

CSGV’s guiding principle is simple. We believe that all Americans have a right to live in communities free from gun violence.

To learn more visit csgv.org.


$50 for 50 by 50 #31: Violence Policy Center

I’m turning 50 this year and instead of whining about it, I’m trying to do something positive by donating $50 to 50 different charities before I’m 50 years old.

The Violence Policy Center (VPC) works to stop gun death and injury through research, education, advocacy, and collaboration. Founded in 1988 by Executive Director Josh Sugarmann, a native of Newtown, Connecticut, the VPC informs the public about the impact of gun violence on their daily lives, exposes the profit-driven marketing and lobbying activities of the firearms industry and gun lobby, offers unique technical expertise to policymakers, organizations, and advocates on the federal, state, and local levels, and works for policy changes that save lives.

The VPC has a long and proven record of policy successes on the federal, state, and local levels, leading the National Rifle Association to acknowledge us as “the most effective … anti-gun rabble rouser in Washington.”

Gun violence is not only a crime problem: It is a public health epidemic. Each year, more than 33,000 Americans die from gun violence in suicides, homicides, and unintentional shootings. Shockingly, guns are the only consumer product manufactured in America that the federal government does not regulate for health and safety. The gun industry has exploited this unique exemption by designing, manufacturing, and marketing increasingly lethal products, nearly always using crossover military technologies.

The inevitable result of this militarized civilian gun industry can be seen across our nation: from mass shootings using semiautomatic weapons with high-capacity ammunition magazines, to vigilante justice meted out by concealed handgun permit holders. At the same time, in the face of declining household gun ownership, the firearms industry is targeting women and even grade-school children as their new potential customers.

The VPC firmly believes the answer to reducing gun violence lies in applying the decades-long lessons of public health injury prevention and consumer product safety regulation to the gun industry and its products.

Our Approach

RESEARCH: We publish timely, well-informed, original studies on gun violence in the United States. We draw upon our deep and unique expertise on the firearms industry, gun violence data, the causes of gun violence, and public health approaches to reducing firearm death and injury.

EDUCATION: We inform the public of our research through targeted campaigns involving news media outreach, social media, and public events. We are an essential point of contact for the press, the public, elected officials, organizations, and advocates who need timely and accurate answers to often complex questions.

ADVOCACY: We bring an informed and evidence-based perspective to the campaign for stronger gun violence prevention laws and policies. We build relationships with policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels to work for effective solutions that will save lives.

COLLABORATION: We partner with a diverse range of organizations working on gun violence prevention and related issues, working together to build and grow a national movement for change.

To learn more visit vpc.org.


$50 for 50 by 50 #30: Everytown for Gun Safety

I’m turning 50 this year and instead of whining about it, I’m trying to do something positive by donating $50 to 50 different charities before I’m 50 years old.

Everytown is a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities. Gun violence touches every town in America. For too long, change has been thwarted by the Washington gun lobby and by leaders who refuse to take common-sense steps that will save lives.

But something is changing. More than 3 million mayors, moms, cops, teachers, survivors, gun owners, and everyday Americans have come together to make their own communities safer. Together, we are fighting for the changes that we know will save lives.

Everytown starts with you, and it starts in your town.

To learn more visit everytown.org.


$50 for 50 by 50 #29: Americans for Responsible Solutions

I’m turning 50 this year and instead of whining about it, I’m trying to do something positive by donating $50 to 50 different charities before I’m 50 years old.

On January 8, 2011, a mentally ill young man shot Congresswoman Gabby Giffords in the head, killed six of her constituents, and wounded 12 others. Since that tragedy in Tucson, America has seen too many more mass shootings – but no response from Congress. This inaction on gun violence was thrown into even starker contrast after the massacre of 20 children and six of their teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

On the second anniversary of the horrific Tucson shooting, as America mourned the dead in Newtown, Gabby and her husband, retired Navy Captain and astronaut Mark Kelly, launched Americans for Responsible Solutions to encourage elected officials to stand up for solutions to prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership.

As gun owners and strong supporters of the Second Amendment, Gabby and Mark know we must protect the rights of Americans to own guns for collection, recreation, and protection. But they also agree with the vast majority of Americans, including gun owners, that commonsense protections from gun violence can prevent shootings from shattering communities like Tucson, Aurora, and Newtown.

Even commonsense solutions to protect our communities from gun violence have been hard to achieve. Why? Because entrenched interests like the gun lobby have used big money and influence to stop Congress from acting. Until now, the gun lobby’s political contributions, advertising and lobbying have dwarfed the influence of average, law abiding citizens. No longer. With Americans for Responsible Solutions and likeminded friends engaging millions of people about ways to reduce gun violence and supporting lawmakers willing to take a stand for responsible policies, legislators will no longer have reason to fear the gun lobby and their dangerously deep pockets.

Americans for Responsible Solutions relies on the support of people like you and operates both as a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization and political action committee.

To learn more visit americansforresponsiblesolutions.org.


$50 for 50 by 50 #28: Planting Peace’s Crowdrise Campaign for Baton Rouge Police Officers

I’m turning 50 this year and instead of whining about it, I’m trying to do something positive by donating $50 to 50 different charities before I’m 50 years old.

Like so many of you, Planting Peace is heartbroken over another senseless attack on our country’s police force, with the latest mass shooting targeting police officers in Baton Rouge. Although we have so many issues in our country that need to be addressed, random acts of violence and murder should never be seen as the answer. While there is no way to make any of this right for the families of our fallen and injured officers, we want to do what we can to help them through the coming days and weeks, even if only financially. Planting Peace has launched a CrowdRise fundraiser to help support the officers and their families impacted by the mass shooting in Baton Rouge.

To learn more visit the website.


$50 for 50 by 50 #27: Rosie’s Theater Kids

I’m turning 50 this year and instead of whining about it, I’m trying to do something positive by donating $50 to 50 different charities before I’m 50 years old.

RTKids was launched in 2003 at PS 51, a Title 1 public school bordering on the theater district where students would walk by Broadway theaters daily, and never have the opportunity to go inside. Rosie noticed this, and thought it was, “…like living in Hawaii, and never having access to the beach.”
Together with Rosie, Artistic and Executive Director Lori Klinger developed PS Broadway – RTKids foundational program. In 2003, all 40 fifth graders at PS 51 participated in 15 weeks of singing and dancing training, and every single fifth grader went to see their first Broadway show – all free of charge.

Over the years since its debut, RTKids has blossomed into much more than simply a song and dance venue. The dedication and inspiration of its expert staff and generosity of its guest Broadway professionals have yielded truly remarkable results. Today, RTKids services include performing arts instruction, life skills development, academic tutoring, and a home-away-from-home environment that is safe and nurturing.

To learn more visit rosiestheaterkids.org.