I had plans to write a totally different post today about the Gig Economy related to some work I had done for my new book, Thriving in the Gig Economy. But the political events of the past weekend changed my thinking.
I had a Board Meeting on Saturday for ReSurge International http://www.resurge.org/home/home.cfm, where I am the Chair of the Board. (It is one of my gigs, as a member of the Gig Economy myself.) The Resurge mission is twofold: we provide reconstructive surgery to the poor around the world, but just as importantly, we train developing world surgeons in the latest techniques of plastic surgery. By doing this we are building medical and surgical capacity in parts of the world that are in dire need. Our patients, whether treated by our volunteer surgeons or the international partners we train, want to undergo a transformation that will improve life for themselves and their families. And in that desire they are like many immigrants and refugees; they just want to create a better life for their families.
After our meeting we had a Board dinner at my home. The wife of one of our newer Directors was a bit late, because, as an international law attorney, she had signed up to help represent immigrants, and so had been called to the San Francisco Airport to help out amidst the chaos. Her description of her day dealing with the concerned and sometimes traumatized families of the immigration ban victims was riveting and led to many discussions of the immigration ban and the confusion and angst that now surround it.
However, the other thought I had during these discussions was gratitude for the generosity of this lawyer, and hundreds of others like her across the country, who just jumped in to help people caught up in this awful mess. That's the American spirit the resonates with me. That's the commitment to helping others that I see so regularly in my Board work with ReSurge.
It struck me that for those who do not have the legal skills to help in this situation, there are other options. Protests may make a symbolic point, but they don't help those people in need. There are other ways you can help the people in need. Several companies have taken strong steps:
- Lyft donated $1million to the ACLU to fight the immigration ban in court.http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/316729-lyft-will-donate-1-million-to-aclu-after-trump-immigration-ban
- Air B N B offerred lodgings to those who may be caught in a jurisdiction with no place to stay due to the #immigrantban https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/29/airbnb-free-housing-immigration-ban/
- Starbucks offered to hire 10,000 refugees. http://money.cnn.com/2017/01/29/news/companies/starbucks-hiring-refugees/
You can help by patronizing those companies. I for one, have always been a regular Uber customer. Somehow I could never get past the weird pink mustaches that Lyft drivers hung on their grills in the early days. Now I will become a Lyft customer as well. And, right after I post this I may go out and get myself one of those new cascara lattes at Starbucks.
You can also support the international humanitarian NGOs that support people who need help around the world. Speaking as a Board Chair, the not for profit world always needs donations, so making a donation will help. But donations are not just financial, though that is always welcome. Donations , the saying goes, include treasure ( money ), talent, and time. You might want to think about the talent and time part of the equation as a potential new gig. Organizations differ regarding the type of volunteer expertise they need. One option is to join the Board of one of these organizations. Skilled professionals with financial, marketing, technology and organizational skills who are willing to donate their time and talents can help advance the mission of these organizations dramatically.
As I read about the chaos, protests, and signs of ill will toward the US around the world from what seems like an action that is counter to everything our country stands for, I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to help people around the world through my Board Service at ReSurge. Even though our government may seem heartless now, I know there are so many caring Americans who do want to help people around the world, whether they are immigrants, refugees, or impoverished families with no access to surgery. These Americans are making a difference, these Americans are inspiring. You can be one too.