Here we are! I can hardly believe it, but here we are. We just got a whopper of an anonymous donation that brought us to our budgetary goal. And on an incredibly auspicious day, what would have been my mother’s 65th birthday! Both my parents took their lives, so this effectively transformed this conflicting anniversary into a true celebration!
I called my partner Rachel, even though I knew she was at work, and screamed into her voicemail! I don’t even remember exactly what I said as I was having an out-of-body experience. I think it went something like, “Holy crap! Holy crap!!!!! I know this is 2014 and this is a voicemail, not an answering machine but oh my God! Somebody just gave us nine-thousand dollars!!!!! Baby, call me back! Listen to your damned voicemail! Oh my God, and on mom’s birthday! Oh hell yeah!” Something like that.
Now the momentum begins. Since this is an organic process, we are hitting the ball running. Luckily, good people are volunteering to assist us in our journey and they are invaluable. Christine Cruz is a new addition to my life and to KINDRED. We connected through a Facebook group I posted in for small business in central Florida. She has brought an essential element to the project; surgical precision. She is one of the few people I have come across that isn’t afraid to give me the plain truth. I am directing KINDRED and directors are notoriously bossy, or, excuse me, are known for having exceptional leadership qualities. Then you add my being a redhead…a Capricorn, being raised in New Jersey…you get the picture.
I just have to go with it. Yes, I am completely intimidated. I won’t lie to myself or to all of you. Yes, this is all about helping foster kids to get what they need by giving Michael, our brave inspiration, a platform to share his truth. At the same time, there is enough darkness around this subject matter to encircle the Earth infinite times. I choose to bring white light to the issue. To use some positive energy to lift Mike up and by doing so, let everyone else see that all of these other children can be lifted up, too One act of kindness at a time is all it takes. Honestly, while I am in charge of making sure this project gets made, it isn’t about me at all. This is JUST a blog.
I chose the title KINDRED for the documentary and for the NPO to come because it encapsulates what it I feel it is all about. When Michael and I first connected, Rachel said he described me as his kindred, someone he felt already knew his soul. What an angel! I cried a little when I heard that one. It meant so much and he was right. We are all kindred. We all come from the same place, the cosmos. Not to be too much of a hippie’s kid about it, but we are all stardust and will return to being so eventually.
As I was growing up, my grandparents told me about immigrating to the US. They taught me that the promise of America is that everyone is given the same opportunity to grow to the extent that their ability and desire allows. They also told me that since this was ‘the great melting pot’, it meant I should always look out for those around me. That we are all in this together. No matter if others acted like it or not…I should never forget. I never did. The stories of the Holocaust and uncertain ocean voyages and finding random abandoned children in the street and getting them safely to Ellis Island are burned into my brain.
I believe in the promise of the once great country America. The responsibility for these kids falls on all of us. I don’t say that to try to invoke guilt. To the contrary, I want people to feel proud. Proud to be Americans. Proud to be a part of one of the few countries in the world where if we see something so very wrong, we can do something about it. Separately, the problem of what is happening to these innocent kids is crushing and insurmountable. Together, with education, intervention and affection, I truly believe we can teach them to rise above any circumstance. That they are wanted. That they are needed. That they deserve everything that the promise of the America my grandparents risked their lives to get to implied and more. That if we can teach them, and teach ourselves in the process, to leave the past where it belongs and change our perspective to one of love and empathy…the future can be more beautiful than any of us ever dreamed