Faces of Auschwitz signs sponsorship deal with the Michael Frank Family Charitable Fund
— Read on facesofauschwitz.com/2018/04/2018-4-8-faces-of-auschwitz-signs-sponsorship-deal-with-the-michael-frank-family-foundation/
Think about how those involved are working to make things better.
Every city has ghosts, but some have more than others. Detroit is one of those places. When you have a city with such an incredible and tragic past still reeling from issues and challenges that impact a vulnerable population, spirits will linger. The truth is that in order to really appreciate and understand Detroit, you need to go looking for them. They’re not hard to find here – every building, park, street and community has a story to tell that goes beyond the surface. If you care enough to listen, the ghosts reveal themselves. Sometimes, they find you instead of the other way around. This is what happened to me on a recent Saturday morning. I was taking an aimless drive around the city, when I passed by a cemetery. The cemetery is a place that I can’t resist visiting. Whenever I go to a new city, it’s one of those places on my list of things to see. I’ve visited cemeteries in cities across the U.S., in Scotland, Germany, Armenia and Mongolia. They offer the best insight in getting to know where you are. They help piece together the story of a place that can’t be told just by its current facade.
A Writer’s Residency, Reimagined
We fix up homes in Detroit to award creative residencies to writers.
- Simplify your life.
- Watch your thoughts. What goes in, comes out.
- Surround yourself with positive people.
- Take time for yourself, even if it means saying “no” to others.
- Be grateful, laugh and celebrate life.
- Think more about what you have as opposed to what you don’t have.
- Help others
Julia* grew up picking mushrooms and fruit in a small village in the countryside of Bulgaria. She loved this pastime and enjoyed doing it alongside her family—but she saw that everyone around her in the village was struggling. Julia* wanted something more for her life.
When she was offered an opportunity to pick mushrooms in the Netherlands for higher pay, she accepted. She was excited to do what she loved, with job security, and a hope for a better future.
But when she arrived, Julia* discovered that she had been deceived. She was thrown into a house crammed with other foreigners and forced to work from dawn to dusk for little or no pay. She had been trafficked for her labor, enslaved, and trapped. But, after some time, Julia* bravely escaped out of a window and ran to safety.
With the assistance of A21, she was safely repatriated home to Bulgaria. Since coming into our care, she has completed our aftercare program and found employment through our social enterprise, Liberty.
After all of the trauma and abuse she experienced, Julia* has continued to recover step by step. She’s had a safe environment to work in, community to support her, and time to heal. Now, after two stable years of employment, with Liberty on her résumé, Julia* is able to bravely take steps toward a life of full independence
Both sides of my family migrated to Detroit in the first half of the 20th Century. Both of my parents were born there. It is the place where our history, our culture, our collective memory, the proof of our existence to the physical world emanates from. Some have left, many have died. Others have remained to witness the horror, the transformation of a great community.
There are newcomers, such as Liana, who’s home is here because of Write A House. Here is her blog about her experience in Detroit.
I now do most of my writing from an upstairs room that overlooks most of my street. The room is stark, with freshly painted white walls (Thanks Write A House crew), a wooden desk and an aluminum folding chair. I’ve kept it bare to minimize distraction and maximize output. I am easily distracted. I lose focus. I am not one of those writers who can write comfortably anywhere, at any time. To get a place of pure, magical focus and creativity, I have to expend so much energy. But even a minimally decorated, quiet room has not stopped my mind from wandering elsewhere.
My computer desktop image is of an old stone foundation overtaken by greenery, a former homestead of Washington Irving, which I hiked to a number of summers ago during a residency in the Catskills. The spot wasn’t terribly well marked, and I had to dig for it a bit, so I spent most of the morning seeking out what would have been a former house, next to a stream, before chancing upon the rock Rip Van Winkle was said to have napped on. (Superstitiously, I did not indulge the urge to test it.)
The discovery of the homestead felt somehow pivotal, and I knew when I snapped the image on my cameraphone that I would want to look at it every day: flat stone foundations are so sensical, aren’t they? Find yourself some level ground and nestle the rocks in a bit, build up a wall that way, then create a whole room, carefully manipulating the earth against your construction materials in anticipation of your future needs. I don’t know what it’s like for a doctor or an accountant or an urban planner, but for a writer those needs are ultimately quite simple: a space in which one can hear one’s own thoughts, not too distant from “the action,” but not central to it, either. The meaning of home solidified for me then, implying a state of activity as opposed to a static condition. Like being awake. Like love.
I’d never considered the concept of home so deeply before. At the time, I was traveling 200 days out of the year, and when I did my taxes, I occasionally discovered that I had conducted business in languages I could not later identify. I was working in Germany, Cambodia, the Republic of Georgia, and Finland, with only days between trips to rest in Chicago before a lecture in New York City or a conference in Vienna or a book event in Los Angeles or a “vacation” in some place I had selected because I had never been anywhere like it before and didn’t know what life there might be like. Washington Irving’s stone foundation became a talisman for me—a guidepost at first some great distance off, later more clearly outlined through the haze—a beacon to a single place I might wish to return to, some flat ground soft enough to nestle stones into. I loved my exciting life, do not get me wrong, and was having far too much fun to change it in anyway, but I did look around at least once during every one of those 200 days and wonder if the place I was in might eventually become my home. It never did, and after several years my computer desktop image was still the only thing I saw, consistently, every single day: the purely ephemeral digital nature of the pic belying a steadfastness I was coming to crave.
A21 exists to abolish injustice in the 21st century. We are a non-profit organization who believes that together, we can end human trafficking.
MY DREAM… in my 21st year of life, I wish to partner with you to raise $21 000 for A21. That year starts today, 9/10/14!
HOW? 21 000 people donating $1
GLAZED OVER EYES… On the 26th November 2013, I saw the Red Light District in Thailand. Across the Malaysian river border, in a small province of Thailand, there are 400+ hotels, hundreds of beds, girls sitting in karaoke bars, girls looking outside their apartment windows preparing for their “shifts” – many taking drugs to get through the dreaded night… their eyes glazed over… they really aren’t “there”, no hope, no future. And yet these young girls are highly intelligent, learning various languages to communicate and service the men while trying to survive in this environment.
THESE GIRLS ARE REAL… As I walked the streets with my team group, I wanted an experience that would confirm the direction of my heart. Just before I entered into a cafe, a woman (madam of the trafficked girls) touched my shoulder. She took us to their karaoke bar where we played cards and chatted about the background of the girls who worked at her brothel. These girls are real. THEY ARE ALIVE AS I WRITE, probably still there… more broken, more used.
TOGETHER, YOU AND I CAN… Long before I even had that karaoke experience, I wanted to make a difference to support people who are suffering in our world. Passion comes with action and if I wait until I am passionate about something, like doing the laundry, then it’s never going to happen! I don’t want to treat justice and humanity in the same way… so I’m getting active!
You and I are the key to a girls FREEDOM. Together we can do something.
If this is your something, donate here!
The quoted description below was taken from writeahouse.com
Our mission is simple: to leverage Detroit’s available housing in creative ways to bolster an emerging literary community to benefit the City of Detroit and its neighborhoods. We enliven the literary arts of Detroit by renovating homes and giving them to authors, journalists, poets, aka writers. It’s like a writer-in-residence program, only in this case we’re actually giving the writer the residence, forever.
Write-A-House (WAH) is a Detroit based organization that seeks to teach and support trade crafts and literary creativity. Our key tactic involves leveraging the easy availability of distressed housing in order to promote vocational education, home ownership, neighborhood stabilization, and creative arts. In short, WAH will work to support a more vibrant literary arts community that lives at a grassroots level and helps Detroit’s neighborhoods.
WAH seeks to (1) educate the under-employed on carpentry and building skills (2) use those skills to renovate Detroit city homes and (3) award those homes to writers. Like any literary community, writers will be awarded based on their writing and their desire to be here. WAH seeks to support low-income writers by awarding at least three homes each year. We will also publish a journal of arts and creative non-fiction to document the process, work to determine a sustainable and green approach to home renovation, and connect writers to support a more vibrant literary community in Detroit. Our long, long term goal involves building a literary colony in Detroit, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.