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Vanessa Velasquez's Fundraiser:

European Refugee Crisis

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BENEFITING: International Rescue Committee

EVENT DATE: Jun 01, 2016

Vanessa Velasquez



"Now Tom said, 'Mom, wherever there's a cop beatin' a guy 
Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries 
Where there's a fight 'gainst the blood and hatred in the air 
Look for me Mom, I'll be there 
Wherever there's somebody fightin' for a place to stand 
Or decent job or a helpin' hand 
Wherever somebody's strugglin' to be free 
Look in their eyes Mom you'll see me.' " --Bruce, the Boss, Springsteen, citing John Steinbeck's, Grapes of Wrath, in his song, "The Ghost of Tom Joad."

(Some of you may or may not know I'm quite the fan of the Boss, his poetics, and his politics, and that Steinbeck is in my all time "Top 3" this song, moreover the album to which it belongs has become pretty prominent for me recently).

I hope the epigraph, regardless of your personal affinity with its origin, evokes the nature of something I have personally felt for a great part of my life: a connection to humanitarian efforts, which has thus led me here. By now, the entire international community is certainly aware of the pressing question regarding the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people attempting to relocate across Europe and seek asylum, or at least in search of some glimpse of the ever-fickle, albeit frail, promise of a better tomorrow. Research has gathered various numbers, and graphed, and charted, and even argued over the appellations of these people, i.e. They're refugees. No, they're migrants seeking economic opportunity and education for their children. No, they're refugees seeking asylum from a place where their human rights were being violated...etc.

The point is, the response by the global community has categorically failed to handle a problem with which, as a thriving, often unstoppable community it should be capable to not only handle, but to more successfully handle than our predecessors. If we look closely at history of the world, we find that this is not the first time such a vast number of people have made such a magnanimous attempt at relocation. And still, we have not learned from the success or failures of our historical global reaction. Research finds that in 2015 "...EU countries offered asylum to 292,540 refugees. In the same year, more than a million migrants applied for asylum." In other words, more than a million made the journey out of their native countries, wandering the trails of Europe with everything they own on their person, awaiting the action of the best and the brightest, only to have roughly 35% of them be granted the stamp across a piece of paper that temporarily promises a "place to stand," or a "helping hand." What of the remaining? 

Something has persistently been troubling me regarding this question, and so—personally feeling quite helpless, as the problem feels bigger and much beyond my scope of contribution—I sought methods of aiding the efforts of others, who may more closely influence change, and advocate for those "struggling to be free." I have chosen the International Rescue Committee (IRC) as the beneficiary of any contribution made to this fund because of their universality in regards to multiple areas of humanitarian efforts across the globe, such as: protection and rights of women and children, advocacy of public policy, rebuilding of communities both in their infrastructure and their psychological restoration, and creating centers of education, recreation, and health services. Their close attention to ongoing issues that arise is not exclusive to Syria, but extended to the effects of those issues on neighboring countries, and the world at large. 

So, instead of throwing myself an epic Gatsby party, or calling the troops to some New York City saloon, my birthday wish for this year is to have all of my wonderful friends, colleagues, family members, acquaintances, (even old classmates who still have me on their Facebook friends list even though we haven't talked in years), to please direct any contribution—regardless of how small—that would otherwise go into my birthday glass(es) of wine, or thoughtful card or charming gift to the very important and ongoing efforts of this organization. I thank you for reading all of this. I am grateful on behalf of whoever will be receiving the helping hand this endeavor will assist.




P.S. Fun fact: The Game of Thrones cast and HBO have rallied some troops of their own and allied with the IRC for this awesome effort and they are killin' it:  


For more information on the efforts of the IRC, their ratings and fund transparency please visit the links below:

CharityWatch considers a charity to be highly efficient when [their] calculations produce a Program % of 75% or higher, and a Cost to Raise $100 of $25 or less. The IRC's Program percentage ranks at 92%, and the cost to raise $100 is $9. 


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Donor Comments

Ruairi Curtin

Ruairi Curtin

2 years ago



2 years ago