I know you guys come here for cosplay and fun, lighthearted content. However, we all live in the real world, and we have to acknowledge that millions of people are suffering each day. My ability to produce creative content, pursue my dreams, and inspire others along the way is intricately linked with how we all live, and connect with each other. For there to be fun and entertainment, and happiness, there must be peace, safety, and comfort. Sadly, our world is not very peaceful or comforting right now. I realized that, often, the reason I refrain from posting about politics, world news and tragedies is because whenever I do make a post, there is always conflict. Unpleasantness. Judgement. Either toward the cause, the people affected, or us bystanders and fellow commenters. Criticism for not doing enough. For not supporting the right cause. For supporting one cause, but not another. For not supporting a cause in the right way. Often, I am so busy with my work and deadlines, that the thought of the unpleasantness is enough to stop me from making a post that's not directly related to cosplay, or my own life.

In the past several months, I realized how selfish that is. How cowardice that is. Millions of people are facing untold, unfathomable horrors, while most of us are enjoying a warm bed to sleep in, an abundance of food, as well as Entertainment at our fingertips. While others are facing hunger, pain and death on a daily basis, I am too scared to even acknowledge their situation, for fear of some unhappiness on my Social Media. When I write this out, it looks and sounds ludicrous.
After all, Social Media is a tool created for connecting people all over the world. It should be a tool used to share information, inspire, motivate, and strengthen each other, no matter where we live, what we do, or who we are. So, in the wake of the worst year in recent history, I will not be complacent anymore. I want to continue sharing my passion for creativity and costume making, but I also want to speak out more. About the things that matter to me. The people who touch me. The happenings around this planet that I find important.

So, I have decided to create a safe space, where I can share information on how to help those less fortunate, use my voice to speak up for those who can't, and offer assistance in the form of donations. When I make a donation to a charitable cause that I believe in, I will share it with you, in the hopes that it will inspire you to read up on the cause, and maybe donate to it as well. 

Current charitable effort: Support organizations that are fighting for human rights in America

We are entering a new year, and a new Administration in the United States. I encourage everyone to think about what basic human rights means, and how we can continue to protect them. The following organizations need our support more than ever, in the face of new executive orders being signed, new regulations and bans being imposed, and funding being cut. 

The ACLU - The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that provides legal assistance to protect civil liberties. They were able to halt Trump's immigration ban in under 24 hours. I strongly support the ACLU and encourage all of you to donate to it, if you can.

Planned Parenthood - The new Administration is determined to dismantle Planned Parenthood, and opposes abortions. However, Planned Parenthood's primary objective is prevenaitive care, and general health care such as STD screenings, and the loss of this organization would be devastating to millions of Americans. Support Planned Parenthood here!

The National Association For The Advancement Of Colored People - The NAACP is especially involved in fighting against racial hate crimes, which have been increasing in numbers following the election. Donating to them means supporting efforts in eliminating racial based discrimination.

The Human Rights Campaign - This charity is dedicated to advocating LGBTQ+ equality and basic rights. We need to move forward in human rights, not backward. Please bookmark the HRC's website, and donate what you can spare.

National Resources Defense Council - The NRDC is a nonprofit organization focused on protecting and conserving the environment and wildlife. Now, more than ever, we must do what we can to prerserve the planet we live on. Support the NRDC here.

Southern Poverty Law Center - The SPLC has made strides in fighting domestic hate groups and extremists, such as the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazi movement, and you can learn more about their organization here.

There are a lot of other organizations you can support, and different ways you can get active.
We all have bills to pay, and I understand that it's not always possible to donate money, but these are worthwise causes to support, because they will affect our value of life, and collective future. With some foresight, planning, and budgeting, we all can contribute a little bit. Please consider.

Ongoing charitable effort: Support the people of Aleppo, Syria

As of today, Decembr 14th, 2016, Aleppo has been taken by the Syrian Government. Educate yourself on the on-going struggle of the Syrian people:

CNN News - Even though a ceasefire in Aleppo was agreed upon, it has been broken. 
BBC News - 82 civilians shot on the spot in Aleppo.
Buzzfeed News - Last Messages from Aleppo to the world.

How you can support the people of Aleppo and Syria:

Donate to the following organizations. Christmas is the time for Giving. Instead of asking for presents, I am asking my family and loved ones to donate to any of the following organizations. May I suggest the same to you?

The White Helmets -  This is about the only group on the grounds in Aleppo, actively saving lives. I have donated to them, and receive regular update emails from them. Things are dire. Now that the Syrian government took back Aleppo, members of The White Helmets are facing imprisonment, torture, and execution.
There is a Netflix Documentary called The White Helmets - please watch it if you have a couple of hours today. Educate yourself about this organization.
Whatever you may have heard about extremist narratives, please consider the fact that they are bombing buildings with children inside, shooting civilians in their homes, and that women are committing suicide for fear of being raped. The White Helmets are still there, pulling people from the rubble, admitting medical aid, and covering up bodies.

Please consider donating to The White Helmets Hero Fund, and supporting them through sharing information about them.

The British Red Cross - Donations go toward food, medicine and essential care to Syrian people in desperate need.

Doctors without Borders - Despite heavy bombings and battles, Doctors without Borders has been treating the injured in makeshift medical centers across the country. They are no longer able to enter the city of Aleppo, but continue to help the 150 medical facilities set up in Syria.

Preemptive Love Coalition - Donations go toward directly helping the displaced people, just a few miles outside Aleppo.

Syrian Relief - This organization focuses on medical care, trauma care, shelter and education.

Hand in Hand for Syria - Donations go toward emergency aid directly to those living under threat.

Karam Foundation - Donate to help the children of Syria.

The Syrian American Medical Society - Thie organization provides medical aid, as well as medical training, to displaced refugees.

Thank you to Huffington Post for this list of charities!

The fight for Aleppo, and Syria, is far from over. Please donate, if you can, and spread the word. Keep raising awareness, keep posting from reputable sources. 

Ongoing charitable effort: Support the peaceful water protectors at Standing Rock, in their efforts to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline 

Get to know the #NODAPL movement, that has been going on for months in North Dakota:

ABC News Video - Violent Crash between Law Enforcement and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe involving water cannons, rubber bullets and teargas.

Buzzfeed Podcast - 11 Things to know about Native Resistance to #NODAPL

Huffington Post - Injustice at Standing Rock. The mainstream media is missing quite a remarkable story.

How you can support the #NODAPL movment:

Watch this Message to the President, directly from Standing Rock

Personal charitable effort to support #NODAPL: I have made a personal donation to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, however, I am also going to donate a portion of my Black Friday Sales to the Sioux Tribe, the Medic + Healer Council, and the Water Protector Legal Collective. I will update this page with more info. Honestly, give what you can. If you have nothing to spare, raise awareness. Times are tough, but this cause is so important, on so many fundemental levels. Clean water is vital for all human beings, and preserving culturally and historically significant sights is our duty as civilized society. We need to do whatever we each can to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. 

LASTLY, THERE IS A DEADLINE NOW! Army Corps of Engineers Orders Dakota Pipeline Protesters to Abandon Camp (by December 5th) via NBC News