“Be ardent in your work, and you will find God in your cooking pots.” -St. Teresa of Avila
Our 2016 Presidential election was nothing if not a call to action. With one of the lowest voter turnouts in history and a result that’s instilled fear and anger in most, this election has proven what we’ve been told all along: Our democracy only works when we do.
In the last 10 days, I’ve watched friends and family roll up their sleeves and do just that: call representatives, write letters, march in the streets, and take other actions to uplift the ideals so many of us share. Is it my imagination, or have I witnessed a growing kindness in daily life, as well? My heart swells at this sudden social and civic engagement (even if I wish it’d come before the election).
Meanwhile, I’ve been working on my pet project: s i r s e e. At a time when the nation seems to really need a drink, I’ll be offering wine. (Hey, we all make an impact in different ways, okay?) The wine will not be not for sale. Instead, you will be able to access the wine by making a donation to your choice of featured charities.
Yes, that means I’m giving the wine away! My community partners–including the printer, the designer, the shipper, and others–are donating in kind, too. We have gathered a lot of resources in hopes of raising funds for important projects.
First, I want to outline which organizations s i r s e e aims to support this winter, and why. It is my hope that this list is broad enough to invite many of you to participate, while remaining narrow enough to have an impact.
The project officially launches this coming week. Come thirsty!
Based in Montgomery, Alabama, SPLC has been promoting tolerance and fighting hate since 1971. Its leadership has included famed civil rights activist Julian Bond, who led the charge to dismantle Jim Crow. SPLC has dutifully tracked hate crimes nationwide since the 80s.
During my work in education and children’s book publishing, I relished the resources of the SPLC Teaching Tolerance program. Since relocating to California from North Carolina, I followed SPLC reports as a voice of the progressive South. These days, their work is (sadly) more relevant and necessary than ever.
Guidestar rating: GOLD
COTS is a homeless shelter in Petaluma, California.
The same summer I took my first winery job, I simultaneously took a part-time gig in the COTS children’s program. I’d volunteered in shelters for years, finding that I naturally connected with children in transition. However, within a couple of months, I was forced to leave the COTS shelter job due to my own economic circumstances. (Recession, anyone?) I stuck with the winery job, and have for nearly eight years.
Yet I was so grateful for my encounter with the COTS shelter. I was lucky to witness firsthand their stellar work. The are an important resource in Sonoma County. To support them again is to come full circle.
Guidestar rating: SILVER
Working in an agricultural industry grounds me continually in gratitude for the people who put food (not to mention, wine) on our table. This 35-year-old advocacy organization empowers workers to improve wages, working conditions, immigration status, and more.
While I do not have a personal connection to this organization, I am inspired to include it as a way of thanking, acknowledging, and supporting the workers in the field who helped make s i r s e e wine.
Guidestar rating: GOLD