Over eight years ago, I met Izza Anwar. She was a Junior in high school, and we were matched together as part of California Lawyer's for the Arts Spotlight on the Arts Program. Over the course of six months, we worked together with Tray Smith and Mosiah Concha (also in high school) to co-create a film and event celebrating belonging in San Francisco titled, You Belong Here. This experience together kicked off a deep and lasting friendship, one that has become central to my understanding of what it means to practice love in action across generations, cultures, and geographies.
Izza's family is from Sindh, Pakistan. Her father is a farmer, and he is active in his village, often traveling back and forth from the United States to Pakistan finding ways to improve the quality of life for his neighbors. One amazing thing he was working on recently was how to transform banana peels (one of their crops) into sustainable textiles.
Their village has been deeply affected by the floods that are covering one third of Pakistan. The flooding has created toxic conditions that are fueling malaria, hunger, snake bites, and more. (Watch this conversation between Fatima Bhutto, Zulfikar Bhutto, and Naomi Klein to learn more.) It is making life incredibly difficult for many Pakistanis, and aid is needed to meet the very basic of needs.
Izza created a fundraiser to help raise $6000 to support blankets, food, mosquito nets, and tents to villagers in her family's village of Haji Muhammad Sharif. I am asking anyone reading this to contribute SOMETHING to this fundraiser. I want to see Izza not only reach her goal, but exceed it. $6000 will make a difference. It is not nearly enough.
As a Queerdo, it is CRUCIAL to me to support comrades ANYWHERE & EVERYWHERE, and Izza and her family ARE comrades. While we come from different places in the world and different culture, we share values of family, community, and collectivism. This MUST be supported FINANCIALLY. It is how we disentangle ourselves from the many-headed beast of capitalism, colonialism, cisheteropatriarchy, and White Supremacy.
Even if all you have is a $1, DONATE. This is more than just the money, though money is needed. It is about SHOWING UP, and making any kind of contribution (from donations to sharing) is showing up. This is how we build alliances and coalitions across borders and territories.
Izza and her family are incredibly dear to me, and if I am dear to you, you will donate and / or share TODAY. This cannot wait. Lives are literally at stake.