If you’re living in a liberal or “blue” state then it has now become common, almost inevitable, to attend a show or event that will be donating all or a portion of their proceeds to a cause. As a music reporter in NYC who has to catch multiple shows a week, I’m reporting back to you that I haven’t been to one show since Trump’s inauguration that hasn’t donated something to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, or some other helpful and necessary organization that the president promises to wage war on.
In fact, the ACLU reported that it had received more than $24 million in donations in the span of a weekend! Apparently that’s seven times more than all the donations they received online in 2015. Also, Planned Parenthood has stated that 400,000 people have made donations since the demagogue has taken the presidency. The organization’s president, Cecile Richards, told the Detroit Free Press that this is an “unprecedented” outpour of support, adding, “we are so grateful to this community across the country, and we will never stop fighting for them.” However, she also confesses that the donations aren’t enough to cover the cuts in reimbursements they receive from federal health service programs.
Is it really that surprising that people are starting to sacrifice their earnings for a better cause? It’s not just the rich and famous donating to boost their image or because they can afford it. It’s also people who really cannot afford it, but they’re doing it anyways. When people’s rights are threatened, we work together.
Take the recent protest that was conducted by NYC taxis and the corner stores/delicatessens, or as us New Yorkers know them as, delis. Many NYC taxi drivers and deli owners are immigrants from one of the seven countries that President Trump put a ban on. I’d like to emphasize that these are taxi drivers and deli owners, not millionaires taking a day off. The NYC taxis refused to drive to the airport for a certain amount of hours in protest of the ban, and the delis closed in solidarity for their detained brothers and sisters.
A fare to the airport for a taxi driver in NYC can sometimes be more than $100, and the delis closed from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., which is lunchtime to dinnertime. These people lost a huge portion of their earnings that day, but they did it for a cause. That’s both terrifying and beautiful—to see people sacrificing so much is encouraging, but realizing that they currently have no choice is absolutely disheartening.
The name Devon Bristol Shaw may sound familiar to you if you read our music features, reviews, etc., and that’s because she’s a band photographer whose work we often use here on BTRtoday. You can imagine, being a photographer isn’t the most lucrative job, especially in such a competitive city as NYC—so Shaw has a day job that she does on top of being photographer, and in her spare time takes on sporadic odd jobs.
For instance, she hosts karaoke every Monday night at Alphaville in Brooklyn. Again, you can’t imagine this being a very lucrative job, but it gives her a little extra pocket cash to get her through the week. However, even with such a low paying job, she couldn’t just host drunk people singing random songs like everything in life is okay, because the sad fact of the matter is that everything is not okay, and enjoying the little things in life is even starting to feel guilty.
“I decided I didn’t want to be complacent in regards to the immigration ban, being that we are all immigrants,” Shaw tells BTRtoday. She decided to give her karaoke nights more meaning and make it possible to donate to the ACLU while signing up to perform “Bohemian Rhapsody” or some other catchy tune, drunkenly on stage.
“My family came to America by way of Canada, and I know my friends, also children of immigrants and mostly activists, would agree that when there is a wrong being asserted, and you have a literal stage or platform and connection to the arts community such as I do, then you should use it to your advantage in order to help those who are being affected,” she adds.
I know what you’re probably thinking; well first of all, who the hell would leave Canada for the U.S., but also that couldn’t have made that much of a difference, I mean it’s just karaoke. Sure, the first time she did it, she only raised $45, but no matter how small the amount, it’s still something.
As Dr. Suess once wrote, “a person’s a person, no matter how small,” and that goes for working towards a cause. So I say, a show for a cause is helping a cause, no matter how small!
If you don’t believe me, even if these shows individually aren’t raising all that much, at least coming together in the community they are raising a whole lot. Here’s a couple DIY events just this week that are also working to help Planned Parenthood: Feb. 8 is Tattoo to Protect Your Parts: A Planned Parenthood Affair at Magik City and Feb. 10 is Planned Parenthood Danceathon featuring Hot Tunes & Cool Moves at Knockdown Center.
You too can help out! Every time you throw a party or some sort of event, just put a little jar in the corner with a sign designating that the donations will be going to an organization of your choice. Then you can send in the money via mail or put the money in your account and then make the donation online. Remember, even the littlest amount is still a contribution, and if we all help it definitely adds up!