“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another” - Charles Dickens
It’s that time of year again - time for the big Radical Tea Towel Good Causes Giveaway! This is something we do every year, because we believe that giving should be a vital ingredient in any business which supports radical and progressive values and recognises the plight of the downtrodden and exploited.
It's so easy for those of us living in wealthy countries with a comfortable lifestyle to overlook those less fortunate than ourselves, those struggling for equality and fairness and those great causes which are barely surviving in an era of cuts and austerity.
Above: The Grenfell Tower fire (image by Natalie Oxford, via Wikipedia Commons)
In previous years we’ve had hundreds of suggestions from you, our customers, about organisations which you think are deserving of our support. This year we decided to look back at your previous nominations and put aside a further £2000 to give away. So the team sat down and shortlisted five good causes that we think particularly stand out because they not only say something special to you but to each of us at Radical Tea Towel.
The chosen causes for 2018-19 were:
So why these causes in particular? What is it about these good causes that speaks to us?
50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York
Stonewall is a lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender charity named after the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City's Greenwich Village. It's now the largest LGBT rights organisation in Europe. It was formed in 1989 by political activists and others lobbying against section 28 of the UK's Local Government Act, which aimed to prevent teachers promoting homosexuality in schools.
As a secondary school teacher at the time of Section 28, I know first hand how pernicious this act was. I was well aware of the homophobia that was rife in schools at the time and how Section 28 made teachers fearful of standing up for gay and lesbian pupils in their care who were the targets of homophobic abuse by their peers. The act was repealed in 2000 but a recent row in Birmingham shows that the battle for LGBT+ inclusion in schools is far from over. The excellent work of Stonewall, under its motto “Acceptance without exception”, is as important today as ever.
The Working Class Movement Library in Salford
“Welcome to one of the most unusual libraries in the world. Discover the stories of working people’s struggles to be heard. Explore the past, change the future.”
The Library started life in the 1950s as the personal collection of Edmund and Ruth Frow. The founders were proud that their love of books created a unique and valuable resource for people wanting to know more about working people’s lives and political beliefs. The oldest items date from the 1760s, and they have some of the earliest trade union documents to have survived from the 1820s.
The collection contains resources on Thomas Paine, the Chartists, the Tolpuddle Martyrs, the Peterloo Massacre, the creation of the Labour Party, the Kinder Scout mass trespass, the birth of the NHS, Eleanor Marx, Nelson Mandela, the Suffragettes and many other of the activists, movements and events featured on our products. So we hardly need to explain why it's a perfect match for our company!
The Red Cross Syria Appeal Still Needs Help
Eight years of bombs and bullets have left hundreds of thousands dead and many more families in Syria homeless and traumatised. In fact over half the population have been forced to leave their homes as a result of the civil war. Many will never be able to return because their homes are no more. They urgently need food, shelter and medical care.
Can you imagine what that would feel like? Being forced to flee, often at a moment’s notice with little opportunity to pack anything. What would you take in that position? A mobile phone? Your house keys, perhaps? Identifying documentation?
The Red Cross supports Syrian refugee families in this unthinkable position and gets food, water, blankets, soap and other essential help to those caught up in Syria’s dreadful conflict. In April 2019, despite the fact that ISIS has been defeated, the civil war is still far from over. The civilian population still needs our help in obtaining vital supplies to prevent further unnecessary deaths.
A high percentage of our customers at Radical Tea Towel are women and their achievements feature in many of our products. But despite the many strides that have been made over the last century relating to the position of women in society, they are still the overwhelming majority of victims of domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse is a violation of women and their children’s human rights; it's the result of an abuse of power and control and is rooted in the historical status and continued inequality of women in society. Women’s Aid offers lifesaving support services for vulnerable women and children across the UK. It campaigns to achieve change in policy, practise and awareness, and encourages healthy relationships, helping to build a future where domestic abuse is no longer tolerated. A worthy cause by any standard.
The Grenfell Tower Appeal: Never Again
Many of us will never forget what we were doing when we first heard about the dreadful fire that destroyed the 24 storey Grenfell Tower block of flats in North Kensington on the night of 14th June, 2017. 72 people died, more than 70 others were injured and 223 people escaped.
Despite almost two years having passed since that terrible night there are survivors and victims’ families which still haven't been permanently rehoused and are in need of support. The Kensington & Chelsea Foundation identifies and invests in projects which provide hope, opportunities and healing in the community of North Kensington in the wake of this disaster.
Finally we’d like to thank you, our customers, who have supported us over the last year, thus enabling us to donate to this year’s chosen good causes. If you’d like to know more about our previous Good Cause Giveaways there’s more information on our Good Causes Giveaway page.