Sunday, March 23, 2014

Last push and thank you

My fundraiser based on my 40 Day of Yoga for Syria is about to come to an end. If you'd like to make a last-minute donation to help me reach my goal of $500 for the International Rescue Committee and their work with Syria refugees, please click here. Thank you so much to all of you who have donated and/or shared my fundraiser. I really appreciate it, and I especially appreciate your intention to help displaced people like these children.

Original caption: "Syrian refugee children who arrived with their families from Damascus, eat fruits under a tent at the Majdal Anjar refugee camp in Bekaa Valley near the Syrian border in eastern Lebanon, September 9, 2013. CREDIT: REUTERS/JAMAL SAIDI"

Thursday, March 13, 2014


I am #WithSyria

We're coming up on the third anniversary of the beginning of the catastrophic crisis in Syria, and sadly, we can say this is statistically the worst humanitarian crisis of our 21st century thus far. Throughout my recently-completed 40 days of yoga for Syria and my fundraiser for the International Rescue Committee's work with refugees, I was humbled by the people who stepped up to support my fundraising efforts, through contributions and sharing on social media, messages of support, prayers and positive thoughts, and of course, my fellow yogis at Authentic Yoga Life. Thank you all so much. I know you've all made a difference in the lives of someone from Syria who really needs you now.

However, to be completely honest, I was also saddened by the fact that most people I know just ignored it. Because of the topic of my work, I know that the Middle East is "controversial" and brings up a lot of ridiculous emotions in people. People who are otherwise sensible get really vehement about dumb things when it comes to the Middle East. The common humanity we all share gets completely lost. However, as far as I'm concerned, there is nothing controversial about wanting to feed and educate and house and clothe displaced refugees. Is it because Syrians are Arabs, and people are racist against Arabs? Is it because it's just too painful to face babies dying, kids crossing borders without their families, or what? I know we are all overwhelmed and we can't "fix" everything. We all have our causes. This is one of mine, and I am particularly adamant in my desire to assist the MILLIONS OF CHILDREN who have been displaced by this war. We can deal with this now, or we can deal with it later, but regardless of how far you live from the Middle East, this is your problem. It's the world's problem, and it won't go away without everyone's help. You can run from the world's problems and even drown yourself in pseudo-news about Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian, but you cannot hide from the long-term, multi-generational consequences of millions of refugees in the most geopolitically important region of the world. It will come back home to all of us, if we don't make an effort now. 

Banksy put this beautiful reworking of his art out this week, in solidarity with the #WithSyria campaign.

To me, this sums it all up. This is about an entire generation of children who are struggling to get the basics our children take for granted: education, shelter, security, health care, food. Like the video I posted at the top of this entry, they want to float away. Let us do what we can to make their lives stable once again.

Malala released this video this week, too, appealing for help for Syria's children. And in the clip below, you can watch her discuss the real danger that we will lose this entire generation of Syrians.

Tonight, there will be vigils all over the world to mark the beginning of this nightmare. If you follow the #withsyria hashtag on social media, you can see reports about this solidarity movement. If you want to take part in the Faces for Syria solidarity project, click here. Please, now is the time--we need to elevate awareness about this crisis and do everything we can to protect these children. Three years is three too many! If you'd like to give to the IRC and their work, please consider doing so through my fundraiser, which closes in a few weeks. There are many other organizations that are also working to save the children of Syria, including Save the Children, Oxfam, the UNHRC, Islamic Relief, Mercy Corps, Doctors Without Borders, and many more. Thank you for your support. I am #WithSyria and I hope you are, too. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

My 40 Day Challenge Has Ended, But the Cause Has Not!

New to this site? Click here to see what I'm doing.

I finished my 40 days of yoga yesterday! Although I have struggled with some knee issues, I did a lot of power yoga, yin yoga, restorative yoga, and even face yoga! I'd like to thank everyone at my home studio, Authentic Yoga Life, who did this challenge with me -- we rock! I'd especially like to thank my teachers--Valerie, Rachel, Nancy, Karen, and Kristi--you are all amazing and inspiring!

To date, I've raised $345 for the International Rescue Committee and their work with Syrian Refugees. Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed! I will continue to raise donations for another month. I would really like to meet my goal of $500 before April 1st. Please help me make that happen by sharing my donation page. Thank you!

This is such an important cause. The displacement of millions of Syrians is simply mindboggling. My friend Pauline sent me this video yesterday -- It is a powerful take on what MILLIONS of Syrian children are experiencing RIGHT NOW. We cannot turn away from these children!

Please consider donating to my challenge for the IRC. I selected them because of their immaculate record of financial efficiency and accountability, and their wide reach with displaced Syrians, both inside the country and in neighboring host countries. If you cannot give, please share this info with your friends and family on social media. I would especially like to reach out to my friends in Middle Eastern studies to share my fundraising page with their contacts. I have not seen much in the way of concrete fundraising among us, even though so many of us are deeply involved in educating and advocating for and about this cause. I really appreciate your support. Thank you.