“The whole is better than the sum of its parts” – Reflecting on Bell Hook’s feminist theory

In Bell Hook’s article titled “Black Women: Shaping Feminist Theory,” she discloses some insight on why some feminists are not being recognized in the feminist movement at large. Being a refugee and an American citizen is conflicting sometimes, its a conflict most in exile face. At heart, we’re refugees, but we have the privilege of carrying a passport that welcomes our existence. Having lived in four different countries, I’ve been able to gain some knowledge in viewing the differences between different cultures and its traditions, but recognizing that at heart people just want to belong and be respected. In hook’s statements, all feminists unite in categorical ways, but the risk is that the common good of the “majority” will take over the distinctive good of the minor differences that shape how one identifies their self. The very essence of what makes the individual experience is unique.  Hook makes the example of Betty Friedan and the second wave’s movement shaping and defining the feminist movement as a whole – without acknowledging the different social and class distinctions that played a great disadvantage to many silent feminists in the movement – those who did not have the means to speak up.

Democracy, standing in line with the majority in numbers often tend to undermine the minority.  The system itself is set up in a way where you focus more on the quantity instead of the quality. By simply quantifying the majority’s personal beliefs and their opinions will not delete the the minorities of unsatisfied people; in this case, minority women leaders. The main reason why democracy isn’t always what it lives up to be is largely due to the unequal platform upon which it was started to begin with. The wealthy and the powerful, the ones who can afford the time and finances to voice their opinions get heard. All the while, many are simply living  the 9-5, trying to step up in the status quo, and cannot afford the time nor resources to contribute. That should not go to say that their voices will not be heard, they are still very much present in the political debates that weight in on the outcome of this country.

I agree with Hook’s statement that Friedan had not thought about the different American women of that time, the ones that were not college educated because they were doing the domestic work while Friedan was attending school. White women of that time had a head start in entering the academic institutions and were eager to learn.  The “other,” couldn’t fully participate because their focus was survival. They were not able to speak on the oppression in the sexism world of white men having power over white women’s lives, because they were the ones taking care of the white babies while the white mothers fought the ‘good fight’. The oppression felt by White and Black women were outrageously different.

“There is much evidence substantiating the reality that race and class identity creates differences in quality of life, social status, and lifestyle that take precedence over the common experience women share” (Bhavnani, pg 34). In the statement above, Hook points out that even though the shared common experiences of women are a good point; they are not necessarily in the order of precedence for all women and generally never experienced in the same way. The difference in placing importance on the above mentioned versus something such as culture and tradition is not taken into account, and it’s generalized towards all women  without considering their different circumstances and opportunities.

At the same time, this issue of diversity not being acknowledged in the feminist movement is not only of race, class and socio economic back ground, but also one of location, and mainly, colonialism. It is the direct effect of the changing world heading towards being more educated and “civilized” in the western cultural perspective. Many people come to the United States for a better education but do not realize that while living in the west, they themselves are also losing parts of their national and cultural traditions due to assimilation in their new environment.  Patricia Hill Collin’s article titled “The Social Construction of Black Feminist Thought,” explains the need for Black women to also emphasize on trying to understand the differences between Black and Afro American because their origins are not the same, thus their experiences are not the same. She points out that it is not good enough to be knowledgable, but just as imperative to know the wisdom in order to make judgments and statements that define all black “African” feminists.

This shows that the problem is not of one simple defining category, but of multiple historical instances that have created a huge divide in the people on such issues of identity. Many women who are also feminists have not even been taken into account because they lack the resources to speak out on the matter. However, the few Black women who have gained some credibility in academia should look into highlighting the  different types of inferiority experienced by Black and African American women all together.

In considering the feminist movement, it is important for the leading feminists who have access to reach the masses to re-consider their notion of what feminism truly is, and what characteristics constitute being a feminist. Most notably, it is important for them to not only know the difference but also understand it before they make statements on behalf of all feminists or even “Black feminists alone.” More writers and leaders in the movement are using terms such as “third world feminism” to distinguish other feminists with diverse cultural and traditional backgrounds.  It’s imperative that we acknowledge the differences amongst feminists world-wide. That would be a step forward towards acknowledging women of all different backgrounds, facing similar struggles of power,  yet working towards finding some common ground in the form of having the choice to have their voices heard.

A short reflection on Partha Chaterjee’s “Nation and its Fragments”

The purpose of Chatterjee’s book “The Nation and Its Fragments” seems to explore the idea of “community” nationalism Bengal, apart from political nationalism of India, especially in terms of India’s diverse history. This reflection just touches on a chapter of the women of Bengal and their struggle in the shift of a new era and new thinking of preserving the traditional Identity from colonialism and British takeover.

“The outer and the inner world – Women as keepers of Identity”


When dealing with cultures unknown to the self, an imaginary third eye would be useful to keep an open mind on the things we might not be able to see fully. It would raise the possibility of understanding the differences from another point of view instead of insisting on our terms of beliefs and its definitions. Pratha Chatterjee’s Nation and It’s Women touches upon the western systems of dichotomies of separating Bengal’s nationalism for preserving its identity as communities versus the political nationalism of India and how these definitions by both parties- fighting for and against colonialism- positioned women in the central party of preserving the house in her “spiritual” feminine self which carries the traditions of Bengals before Western modernization took place, all without her consent.

While the traditionalists were surrendering to the notion of modernization in the “outer” world, they were confident in preserving their identity through the “inner” world which embraced the home as being the true keepers of Bengal’s identity. Chatterjee argues that due to this resistance, women’s position in the modern world was compromised by prioritizing the national identity of their community which worked to enforce women to be keepers of the identity. This was soon defined through “the spiritual signs of her femininity”… “Clearly marked – in her dress, her eating habits, her social demeanor, her religiosity” pg 130. While all at the same time, men were able to camouflage into both the inner and the outer worlds and maintain their prideful identity in the modern world with their wives and daughters by their side. This is similar to the United State’s political structure upon which the private and public sphere is divided and the patriarchy system has allowed men to be privileged in walking amongst both the private and public sphere will full rights to their lives while women play catch up in history’s disparity. Though the comparison of the private and public sphere can be relative to this story, the underlining matter is not the similarity amongst the two, rather, the difference upon which the two systems were created and why their origins took place.

The anti-colonial nationalism that arose in an attempt to defy the western modernization taking place in Bengal at that time defended their traditional identity through social construction of two spheres defined as the “material” versus the “spiritual”. In the material outer world, they would adapt to the modernization colonialism has brought over through learning the structure upon which western society ran its “market place of ideas” type of theory which made the economy run, however in the spiritual inner world, they would maintain their traditional identity which was represented by women and family life composed of religion and the old caste systems.

“Fundamental elements of social conservatism such as the maintenance of caste distinctions and patriarchal forms of authority in the family, acceptance of sanctity of sastra (scriptures), preferences for symbolic rather than substantive changes in social practices- all these were conspicuous in the reform movement of the early and mid-nineteenth century” pg117.

The statement above clarifies our understanding of what type of system was created and the value for this particular system bent upon the prideful self identity wanting to prioritize the perception of the self rather than the actual self; community resistance. This becomes another example of how most patriarchy systems are built on the standard of pride in resisting and exterior force only to burden the women of their society to be inferior to themselves, by force or negligence, in either case, the result ends in the same way. Although women were presented to be safe keepers of the traditional identity at home, they were also chastised if they did not fit or meet the standards of the particular femininity which represented their whole community, thus leading to excluding women the chance to modernize with the rest of the world.

There will always be fights over power and beliefs around the world, history is apparent in repeating itself again and again, lets get “Herstory” along with it, shall we? However, it seems that women will always end up in the ladder because we are gifted with being the safe keepers of our traditional identity by baring, nurturing and preserving it, while fighting for our own identity and modernizing all with the national identity. It becomes a burden when we vigorously try to achieve all or are forced to choose one above the other.

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AB 12 extends foster care to young adults

By Tenzin Shakya, staff writer

Photo Courtesy of All Saints Church

Foster children will now have the choice to remain in foster homes till age 21 or move out at 18 with federal assistance. The California Fostering Connections to Success Act, signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger on Sept. 30 has made this possible for thousands of foster youth who under current law are legally emancipated without state support at age 18.

The legislation, also known as Assembly Bill 12, will be effective January 2012 and will require youth to attend school, college, career oriented programs or work a minimum of 80 hours a month in order to receive funding. The bill also provides transitional housing support to those who qualify until age 21.

Amy Lemley, policy director for the John Burton Foundation for Children without Homes in San Francisco, said the bill is an entitlement and “if all of California’s foster youth elect to participate, we are legally required to pay for them.”

San Francisco had an estimated 189 foster children emancipated within the last year according the database of the California Department of Social Services and the University of California at Berkeley. California had a total of 63,553 foster youth last year of which 5,332 were emancipated.

Carroll Schroeder, executive director of the California Alliance of Child and Family Services, a co-sponsor of the bill said, “AB-12 takes advantage of funding opportunities provided for the first time by the federal government toward California’s Foster care system.”

SF State communications major and former Guardian Scholar, Jewel Boone, 19, said statistics provide data on the number of kids in foster care, but does not provide information on how it impacts them directly.

“Identity issues of not knowing who you are is a psychological task and a big responsibility for children and young adults,” Boone said.

Boone was declared a “ward of the court” since birth and has been placed with two foster families. Last year she was legally emancipated without choice after turning 18. Boone enrolled in SF State through the support of the Guardian Scholars Program, an organization founded under the mission to “create a system of support that will meet the academic, social, emotional, and financial needs of college-bound students who are transitioning out of the foster care system.”

She still considers herself “one of the few lucky enough to have a strong family support system.” She said a lot of her friends in the foster care system did not have that. “A friend of mine was kicked out at 11:58 p.m on his 18th birthday along with a bag that had all his things in it,” she said.

Boone credits the Guardian Scholars program at SF State for supporting people like herself.

“Without the state’s funding programs for foster care, chances of going to college is almost an impossible battle,” she said. “There would be no alternative for students like me, and I would not be able to afford SF State.”

Amid celebrations of the bill’s passing, Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform said AB-12 does not solve the problems faced by foster youth. “It’s not enough because the this bill simply makes it less bad than other wise.”

Wexler compares this bill to a “catch-22” scenario. “It’s a case of treating the wrong wound when a worse wound is hidden and unseen.” He said AB-12 simply funds the foster families to allow the foster care youth to stay in their foster homes until age 21 with at least three meals a day, and “one would hope that love and support from the foster family would also be there.”

Wexler said the real problem is children being placed into foster care when they don’t need to be. “Poverty, neglect, and housing for homeless parents separate children from their families, which could simply be solved by providing decent housing and daycare centers for single parents,” he said.

Boone acknowledges that the Foster Care system is still a “fairly flawed system, and a lot needs to be done to improve it.”

She said, “Sometimes the system just reinforces the disadvantages we feel but legislation such as AB-12 is the move in the right direction.”

Currently the Transitional Housing Placement Plus Program administered by the California Department of Social Services is able to assist one out of five foster youth after they are emancipated according to Lemley. “Now, they do not have to compete for the limited number of slots available, instead every one of them would be helped if they voluntarily elect to enroll in the program.”

Jennifer Rodriguez, staff attorney at the Youth Law Center said, “AB 12 provides opportunities for youth to live in college dorms, with family members, or transitional housing- making for the first time college a real possibility.”

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Woman’s inhumanity to woman!

“Are women oppressed? Yes. Do oppressed people internalize their oppressors’ attitudes? Without a doubt. Prejudice must first be acknowledged before it can be resisted or overcome.” Phyllis Chesler

Chesler urges us to look within, to treat other women realistically, ethically, and kindly, and to forge bold and compassionate alliances. This is a necessary next step for women, without which they will never be liberated.

The patriarchy system has been overpowering men and women on both sides. It makes it impossible for some men to realize the sexism that exists and makes it almost impossible for women to be counterproductive and overcome it. Perhaps Buddhism has some insight in allowing us (all sexes) to understand each other better. Separating women and men work against the core foundation of equality that feminism was built upon. It doesn’t help to unity and understanding to the table. It might be more productive to take out the aspects of the biological differences and theories we were born into and focus on behavioral studies of individual men, women, transgendered people around the world and hear them out. Listening might help in this case- more than judgments deciding conclusions. We all have our demons, our bad habits exists by mostly circumstance so we need guidance from each other and from ourselves to direct the bad habits to an exit sign and find the right entrance, one that works for us anyway. It’s not women or men that bring us down, its our own self, and though it might be extremely difficult for us to overcome our demons, making the attempt is a start, and with every start you begin a journey. My way of overcoming sexism is to fight the system, not its people. Perhaps i’m a dreamer, but really as Lennon said “I’m not the only one.” Oh yes, Yoko helped too… of course she did, she is a hero in her bad self, not a heroine or a damn SHERO! She’s a hero, and yes she does deserve the title. I’ll end this entry with a good video of diversity working for the better with all worlds of music, race, gender and nation – all for one good cause!

A second look @ the homeless around the corner!

Standing by her shopping cart, tired, dirty and winded, the homeless woman with a stack of newspapers walks slowly to almost everyone in the passing only to find them walking away from her with strange looks mixed with some shy awkward smiles.

She has her dirty blonde hair tied up with a thick black sweater and torn jeans in the middle of Shattuck, Downtown Berkeley- that also on a sunny Sunday morning when almost everyone is in smiles trying to enjoy the day.

“Please take a paper and spare some change”… “I have not had anything to eat today,” said the poor homeless lady trading newspapers for dimes at a busy corner.

Curious to know her story, I stood next to her and traded a quarter for a paper.  The newspaper was titled Street Spirits. According to their website, its a “publication of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) that reports extensively on homelessness, poverty, economic inequality, welfare issues, human rights issues and the struggle for social justice. For the past 10 years, Street Spirit has been dedicated to empowering poor and homeless people and giving a voice to the voiceless, at a time when the voices of the poor are virtually locked out of the mainstream media.”

Her name was Joann Knott, 46 years of age and a single mother of a 16-year-old boy. The two were living in a nice house back in Detroit, Michigan just five years ago before becoming homeless in Berkeley.

Ms. Knott was employed as a “Professional Petitions Consultant” with a firm that works to organize and operate petition drives for organizations wishing to gain support on bills introduced in the area.

Ms. Knott arrived in California four years ago in pursuit of a job as a Professional Petitions Consultant here, and hoping to start her own business.

“Berkeley and the Bay Area in general is highly active in the process of creating petitions for voters in demand of various changes in the law,” she said.

“I thought I could easily land a good job in the local market.”

However, despite her numerous attempts to secure a job here, she failed and instead ended up spending all her money and became homeless.

Though Ms.Knott is homeless, she is still in pursuit of a job in Berkeley and interns at the local chapter of Peace Action West to advocate for nuclear ban and peace.

“I’ve protested against nuclear weapons since the early 60’s and it was my fortunate luck to able to intern and get paid at Peace Action West” she said.

Peace Action West is an organization dedicated to building a citizen’s movement of sustained political power for fundamental changes in United States foreign policy. They are also one of the largest grassroots peace and justice lobby in the country.

According to an article in the American Journal of Public Health, over 7% of persons living in the United States, which equals 2149045.85, have been homeless (defined as sleeping in shelters, the street, abandoned buildings, cars, or bus and train stations) at some point in their lives.

Testing those statistics, I walked across to the café shop to a man sitting outside with a cup of coffee, and his New York Time puzzle on the table. After a few minutes of explaining my project to him, he agreed to talk to me.

“Homelessness in Berkeley is at rise because this city is so liberal and keen to paying for the homeless,” said the 36-year-old Wells Fargo Banker Marcus Reading.

“Why should we support a bunch of people that just sit around downtown begging for money, when the rest of us are working our butts off” he said.

Ms.Knott has her son enrolled at the Berkeley High School where there is funding available for families without homes.

“The diverse range of people here is what makes the city of Berkeley attractive and the people are just too nice” she said. “They never let you go hungry”.

Cross Roads at Intersectionality with Gender Identity – A Tibetan feminist perspective

Our multicultural society at large is so diverse that we struggle to define or identify people in categories. We are all taught not to judge others, and treat others the way we would like to be treated. However, in practicality it’s often the case that due to the lack of information about others, we depend on stereotypes of their communities and practice racial profiling. In most cases we look directly at the physical features of a human being to try an guess their identity. We approach them in the manner that fits the definition of our very own standards – the unconscious bias. One common struggle of inequalities appears when we judge others by their gender. Intersectionality has been accepted by many feminists as being a key to understanding the gender divide that exists in our society.[1] Race, nation, gender has been amongst many other factors that assist in categorizing people into objects of commodities accessible for judging and positioning. The fact is even women don’t believe that all women want the same equal rights because everyone has their own priorities that follow their social surroundings and their beliefs and values in their individual personal lives.

What we fail to realize is that many people are so inter racially linked now that only the dominant traits appear in their physical features and we cannot define them properly or even fully define ourselves. All that knowledge however does not come forward in our consciousness when we use just our eyes to define others. Perhaps it is meant to be that people shouldn’t be approached differently based on their physical appearances – which often times leads us to manipulate their identity in small categories.

“Since critics first alleged that feminism claimed to speak universally for all women, feminist researchers have been acutely aware of the limitations of gender as a single analytical category. In fact, feminists are perhaps alone in the academy in the extent to which they have embraced intersectionality—the relationships among multiple dimensions and mo- dualities of social relations and subject formations—as itself a central category of analysis. One could even say that intersectionality is the most important theoretical contribution that women’s studies, in conjunction with related fields, have made so far.”[2]

The United States Census Bureau estimated that just in California alone 6,798,406 people are currently mixed with two or more races.[3] Surely it would be very difficult to define all these people based on just their physical traits and it would take ages to find definitions that they would all comply to.

Understanding intersectionality is a necessity in understanding our own identities. We believe that our identity is meant to express ourselves. Thus, when others decide to do it for us, we feel a discomfort of forced or coerced silence. A simple factor of acknowledgement would be that an individual’s social identities profoundly influence one’s belief based on their experience of gender.  It’s important to look into their surroundings, and acknowledge their individual wishes to define themselves on their own terms without being coerced into categories of subjects. The mere factor that there exists so many forms of identities within each individual should be a major underlying factor in the feminist movement’s attempt to unify all women rights into positions of consideration for change – In compliance and agreement to the right priorities that women deserve ofcourse.

When Melanie M. Hughes, a PHD candidate at Ohio State University did a study on “Complications at the Intersection: Overcoming the Challenges of Cross-National Research on Minority Women’s Legislative Representation”, she stated that “Differences such as race, ethnicity, religion, and language not only impact women’s identities and interest, but form intersecting social hierarchies that shape women’s access to power.”[4]

In Ella Shohat’s article “Dislocated Identities”[5], she shares her personal experience of having to choose between two of her identities in order to serve the purpose of the war that had taken place. Shohat describes the syncretic identity that formed within her as an Arab Jew in the United States.  Shohat’s priorities to her womanism might not be the same as Mimi Nguyen; a Vietnamese American carrying a load of history with her physical appearance in the United States. Ngugen talks much about how “everything changes when she travels”[6] because of the perception of her identity defined by the “othering” factor.

Though Ella Shohat and Mimi Nyugen both share similar feminist ideals in wanting equal rights for women their priorities are separate than mine.  China occupied my country, Tibet in 1959 – forcing my grandparents to escape into exile. Though I have this opportunity to excel in education and various other professional fields in this free country, I have also lost a lot of my traditions, my culture and my history back home and often feel dissembled within my own small community of Tibetans. Though I am an advocate for equal rights, I will not use all the rights handed to me for I want the choices in life which work to identify my authentic individuality.

In the end, it is our determination to have various choices in our life that portray our personal accountability and responsibility for our actions without the feeling that YET AGAIN we have become victims of oppression. Instead we must take on the role of survivors who will work for progress of choice for women and men all over the world while promising that we will not make the choices for them. Instead, we owe it as a universal responsibility to all mankind to advocate for others rights! The right to make their own choices in their personal inhabitant that fits their personal surrounding identity – as with ourselves.

______________________________________________________________________________

1)      McCall, L. “The Complexity of Intersectionality.” SIGNS -CHICAGO-. 30. 3 (2005): 1771-1800. (Online); http://www.rochester.edu/college/psc/news/intersectionality_readings/mccall.pdf

2)       U.S Census Bureau, “M0207. Percent of the Total Population Who Are Two or More Races”. U.S Census Bureau. 11/29/2009

http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/ThematicMapFramesetServlet?_bm=y&-geo_id=01000US&-tm_name=ACS_2008_3YR_G00_M00633&-ds_name=ACS_2008_3YR_G00_&-_MapEvent=displayBy&-_dBy=040#?126,262

3)      Grewal, Inderpal, and Caren Kaplan.  Gender in a Transnational World.”Dislocated Identities”; Ella Shohat, pg 440; Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2006.

4)      Hughes, Melanie M. Politics at the Intersection A Cross-National Analysis of Minority Women’s Legislative Representation. Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University, 2008. (online); http://sociology.osu.edu/people/mmh/APSA_paper.pdf

5)      Grewal, Inderpal, and Caren Kaplan.  Gender in a Transnational World.”Viet Nam: Journal/Journey”; Mimi Nguyen; pg 435, Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2006.


“The Tibetans in Tibet are waiting and they will remember!”

Tibetans all over the world are feeling the after math of the earth quake right now.

A Newsweek article titled “A Sympathetic Hearing” written by Isacc Stone Fish in Newsweek today reported the following statement “This week’s earthquake—and footage of the devastation—is allowing the average Chinese to see both the poverty and humanity of a region they’re used to seeing only in political terms. “It’s very hard to see real Tibetans” through the media, says Yang. “On TV, they’re dancing all the time, shaking hands with leaders, celebrating, or shown as troublemakers. This is an opportunity to realize that Tibetans live and suffer like we do.” In addition, the sensitivity about minority issues—especially Tibetan ones—in China has choked off civic opportunities for Tibetan-Chinese connections. The earthquake is bringing “unprecedented” Chinese-Tibetan grassroots understanding, “and this could be a very good thing,” says Yang.”

Below is a comment posted by SopheapAng on NewsWeek’s article :

I really wonder how this writer Issac Smelly Fish who was employed to bad-mouth China for a living and those despicable so-called exiled Tibetans would use such a natural disaster to bad-mouth China. One thing I want to ask these disgusting and despicable people is this: Where is your help?

The Tibetans in exile needs to answer this question. We need to tackle it head- on and communicate to the rest of the world and SHOW them that we are helping. The Tibetan associations around the world should fund-raise money, donate money, and support the Tibetans in Tibet. Most of the Tibetans in exile have already donated money, but have failed to reach the masses to announce that Tibet is at our top priority and we are helping our people.

Here is comment by TenzinZ on the same article:

I hope China will help rebuild this region and give the Tibetans greater opportunity and freedom, maybe it’ll be a start for us Tibetans and Chinese to gain a better mutual understanding. Also, I hope international community will donate as they have so generously done in Haiti -because the Tibetan people need your help so desperately. Please consider giving to Tibetan charities as the funds will go directly to those affected by the earthquake as opposed to other infrastructure development or get lost somewhere! I know we Tibetans have a resilient spirit, may we continue to believe in hope.

It is wonderful to see that the Chinese government are aiding the Tibetans during this devastating tragedy.

The Wall Street Journal reported “China’s leaders took a high-profile, hands-on approach to dealing with the disaster that struck one of the country’s most troubled ethnic-minority areas… and quoted Wian Jia Bao saying “We will make all-out efforts to build a new Yushu,” Mr. Wen, a member of China’s majority Han ethnic group, promised residents Friday, according to state media. “Whether you are Tibetan or Han, we are all from one family and we need to take care of each other.. Your suffering is our suffering,” Mr. Wen told townspeople in Jiegu, where most residents are Tibetan.

One would hope that Mr Wen’s words are genuine and heart felt to the current situation of Tibetans in Jyekundho, Tibet.

In fact, if one accessed the statement correctly, the message behind the “one unity mantra” carries precisely the same universal message that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been stating for over 51 years. We are all the same, and our suffering is your, suffering. In fact His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s statement  at the TIBETAN-CHINESE CONFERENCE IN GENEVA ON AUGUST 6, 2009 read the following statement “I request your help in carrying a message to the Chinese people that we Tibetans harbor no hatred against our Chinese brothers and sisters, and that we Tibetans are neither anti-Chinese nor anti-China. I seek your help and cooperation in preventing the issue of Tibet being turned into an issue of racial prejudice and antagonism between the Tibetan and Chinese peoples.”

When such natural disasters hit the poorest countries of the world, one thing is for certain; people react!

We can raise funds, individually, or with our community or even with our co-workers or even online. We can raise funds, we have seen it done before and we know it is possible.  Here are some ways in which Tibetans in exile can help the Tibetans in Tibet and let the know that we are thinking of them!

Write an email to your local businesses, foundations, friends, family members and co-workers. ASK FOR DONATION! It might be $5 from your neighbor and $5 from your friend, but if one person from the community gets even $100 and contribute to an association or a network of Tibetans, they will know.

Twitter, Facebook, youtube, etc- all social networks which carry thousands of friends, strangers, supporters and PEOPLE- make an URGENT call and ALERT THEM!

It is my personal belief that a community donating together will make a bigger effect on the Tibetans inside Tibet. Announce it on your association’s website, blog that you are doing a fundraising drive for the recent quake that hit Tibet. Once we have the money, we need to advertise, YES i said advertise- Let the whole world know, we are in support!

We cannot stop these natural disasters from occurring it seems, but it is definite that we can do something to help in the aftermath of such events to assist the vicitims and help them survive.

Kennedy once said “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”.. . Perhaps it is my own fear….  I fear that the Tibetans in Tibet will remember if we don’t come through for them now. One thing is for sure, we need to reach them and let them know, we are helping, we are definitely helping and trying our best.

I was informed today that four NGO’s based in the US – working in Tibet have networked together and formed a FUND for the Tibet Relief Fund which is provided by the SSG.

Update from Program Director of SSG: Snowland Services Group (SSG) is the best known Tibetan NGO in the earthquake area and is likely to lead many local NGO efforts there.  It is difficult to assess the situation: around 80% of building houses have collapsed, the water dam has been damaged, people are afraid that it might collapse and flood the city. Most people moved to the house festival ground this evening where some tents have been installed. SSG is trying to organize emergency services: water, food, medicine, tents, clothes and beddings. Our cashier who was seven month pregnant has died. It is hard to assess the number of persons who died. SSG believes it is much more probably above 3000. One important issue is that people have stopped rescue after a couple of hours, due to lack of hope and equipment. I still need time to asses to situation as today we have mainly been trying to find survivors….people fear that another earthquake might occur this evening. The needs are huge… The situation , here is critical.”

You can donate to feed, shelter and supply food and medical aide to the victims of this earth quake by donating to the following organizations. 100% of the donation goes directly to the Tibetans in Tibet.

Please visit the following sites to donate!

  • Yushu Earthquake Response
  • Tibet Village Project
  • Tibet Relief Fund
  • Machik
  • Tibet Foundation
  • If you cannot donate, then please send this letter to all your friends, co-workers and family members.

    Also Visit Students for Free Tibet’s blog to find other ways to make a difference during this devastating time!

    MORE WAYS YOU CAN HELP – Students for a Free Tibet


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