Betty and Bimbo think it's both wonderful and urgent that so many people and companies are talking about the global AIDS crisis and lending a small hand to help. Some of the most visible commercial campaigns, like Apple's, Gap's, and Bristol-Meyers' are very original, memorable, and cool. Still, we wonder if more could be done more often-- not solely around AIDS, but in general -- to shift resources, in a sustainable, permanent way, from people who have too many of them to people who need them.
Part of Betty's job is to try to build a dialogue about social change with people who have some extra means. It was through this work that she has been connected to Emerging Practicioners in Philanthropy and Resource Generation, two cross-class non-profits working with young people who want to better align their resources with their values. It is through Resource Generation's book Classified that Betty has been learning more about class privilege and (thoughtful, mapped-out) social responsibility as it applies to all kinds of people, even those of us without lots of money in the bank. It's definitely worth checking out.
To give you a taste of the discussions contained within Classified (which is actually a very user-friendly and approachable book full of cartoons!), below are two examples of ideas that had a big influence on the book's authors. Although the writers are politcal radicals, it may not be necessary to be a political radical to see the truth at the essence of what they are saying, and to act on it.
"In order to have the continued opportunity to express their 'generosity,' the oppressor must perpetuate injustice as well. An unjust social order is the permanent fount of this 'generosity'...True generosity consists preceisely in fighting to destroy the causes which nourish false charity." - Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Continuum Books, 1997.
"To be wealthy and remain committed to justice is no easy task. We hear little from the wealthy who use their means to further the cause of justice, of economic self-sufficiency for all. Despite their good deeds, this silence maintains their class solidarity with those who exploit and oppress..." - bell hooks, Where We Stand: Class Matters, Routledge Books, 2000.