How Fiona Apple and Other Celebrities Are Helping Asylum Seekers
Even overpaid, privileged people who lie for a living have a problem with overpaid, privileged people being monsters to immigrants.
It can be tough to remember that celebrities are humans. But it's much easier now that the Trump administration is forgetting that 30,000 migrants are human since we don't want to be d*cks like them.
Fiona Apple has made a two-year pledge to donate all the royalties from "Criminal," her "most requested song," to asylum seekers. On Tuesday, the singer published an open letter: "After months and months of reading the news about how my country is treating refugees, I've become gutted with frustration trying to figure out the best way to help. What they need is representation and guidance because these people are being prosecuted as criminals just for asking for asylum." All the funds earned from the 1996 Grammy-winning song being played on TV and film in 2019 and 2020 will be donated to While They Wait, a fund coordinated through Brooklyn Defender Services and RAICES supporting immigrants seeking legal status in the U.S. while their applications are being processed—up to 727 days.
Thankfully, Apple's not alone. These are just a few celebrities who have donated money and time to helping immigrants at the border. Sure, celebrities are propagators and profiteers of a shallow, elitist society that murders art for the sake of capital, but that just goes to show that even overpaid, privileged people who lie for a living have a big f*cking problem with overpaid, privileged people being monsters to immigrants.
In celebration of her 40th birthday, comedian Mindy Kaling donated $1000 to RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services), the largest legal aid group dedicated to helping asylum seekers. Kaling took suggestions from her Twitter followers to donate to 40 different charities, which ended up including the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. The actress tweeted, "I'm so grateful to have my wonderful, peaceful life w/ my daughter Katherine. How lucky am I to turn 40? I would love to express my gratitude by donating $1000 to 40 different charitable orgs that help others. Pls suggest some! I will kick it off by giving $1000 to@RAICESTEXAS!"
Comedian Birbiglia showed he's as socially conscious as he is socially awkward when he also chose to celebrate his birthday by donating to charity. In 2018, he posted on Twitter that he would donate to RAICES, specifically its " Families Together" fund, which is "committed to keep families together as they navigate through the many obstacles presented by our immigration system." For every retweet of his post, he donated $10. The next day, he tweeted, "Thanks everybody for your birthday wishes!! I'm going to give $5,238 (the RT tally as of this moment) to help reunite families. You can keep giving though! Their link is here: RAICES Texas."
Chrissy Teigen and John Legend
Aside from sharing evidence that they have a disgustingly cute life together, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend wisely use Twitter for its ultimate purposes: to spread awareness and to insult Donald Trump. Last year, the couple celebrated Trump's birthday by donating to the ACLU in his honor. After accurately describing his immigration policies as "inhumane," "cruel," "anti-family," and "against everything we believe this country should represent," the celebrity couple announced that each member of their family (Chrissy, John, and their two young children) was donating $72,000 for a total of $288,000 to the ACLU to combat Trump's discriminatory policies.
Evan Rachel Wood
Last summer, the Westworld actress traveled to Texas to donate her time to multiple organizations dedicated to helping immigrants at the border. She used her social media accounts to post updates of her days spent transporting school supplies to local shelters and spending time with detained children using the hashtag #EvanInTX. The actress urged her followers to also donate to Texas-based organizations that fight for immigrants to have their basic needs and their legal rights honored.
Alyssa Milano is pretty confusing. We want to like her for her fierce advocacy of humanitarian issues, but between her weird "sex strike" and that time she asked if detained immigrant children could live with her, we just appreciate her good intentions. In 2018, the actress sent a letter to Cayuga Centers' CEO Edward Myers Hayes to offer her home to immigrant children who were detained at the US Border. According to The Hollywood Reporter published, she wrote, "To them, I offer my home and my heart; my love and whatever stability I can give them until they can be reunited with a parent...I cannot let these children hurt any longer: Mi casa es la casa de ellos." Cayuga Centers is a non-profit organization based in New York that's dedicated to finding foster families for detained migrant children who are separated from their families; they didn't take Milano up on her offer.
This year it was reported that Redskins cornerback Josh Norman donated $18,000 to a woefully under-funded immigrant detention center in McAllen, Texas. "We all see it, but nobody's moving to action," he toldThe Washington Post. "And to be honest with you, I would actually like to have done more...It was needed." Norman began visiting centers in person to deliver toys and supplies to detained children last year after he learned of Trump's "zero-tolerance" policy and its unethical treatment of migrant families.
This year, in honor of Father's Day, 36-year-old actress Anne Hathaway used her social platform to publicly condemn Trump's immigration policies and donate to Americans for Immigrant Justice in her father's name. She posted on Instagram, "My Dad and I—not to mention my entire family—are disgusted and rocked to our core by the current administration's shocking decision to separate asylum-seeking immigrant families...In appreciation of my father, and in honor of all the fathers torn from their children because of this brutal policy, I am making a donation to @americansforimmigrantjustice in my father's name. I invite you to join me and make a donation of any size in your father's name."
Donating directly to immigration detention centers is proving to be complicated, as ongoing reports indicate that some detention centers are not accepting physical donations or making it difficult to do so. However, there are numerous organizations that are able to provide donated goods and services to detained immigrant children and their parents. Above all, swelling outcry from the public via calling campaigns to local representatives and social media prevent the veil of silence from hiding what Trump's administration is doing to over 33,000 asylum-seekers.
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