A Great Gulf: September Update

Total profits from sales of A Great Gulf, Sept. 8 – 30: $160.93

In the twenty-three days between when I released the Jessica Christ short story A Great Gulf and today, two more hurricanes have devastated Americans, and two major earthquakes have shaken Mexico. Oh, plus monsoon season is out of control in South Asia and there are probably a few other natural disasters that have taken place, killing dozens of people, that I haven’t even heard about.

Sometimes helping can feel futile.

But, obviously, you help anyway.

I know the original promise was to donate all profits to Hurricane Harvey relief on the Gulf Coast. As mentioned above, though, the situation has intensified.

I don’t know if y’all are seeing what I’m seeing, but it looks an awful lot like Texans and Floridians are benefitting from an outpouring of American support –both from citizens and the government–that’s being denied to Puerto Rico because 1) everyone knows Texans and Floridians are Americans, 2) Texas and Florida were the first hit, and after two major hurricanes, we’re getting philanthropic fatigue, and 3) the majority of people in Texas and Florida speak English as their first language.

Ooo … that last one’s uncomfortable to think about, right? We want to be better than that. So let’s be better than that.

The devastation in Puerto Rico resulting from Hurricane Maria is unfathomable. I understand the logic of taking care of domestic issues before trying to help out globally. It’s the same argument that Oprah has been pushing for decades: you can’t help others if you don’t meet your own needs first.

HOWEVER. This doesn’t mean we exclude Puerto Rico from our relief efforts. Because Puerto Ricans are American citizens, y’all. A recent Morning Consult poll discovered that only 54% of adult Americans asked about this knew that Puerto Ricans are Americans. 

I have theories why some Americans don’t know this or choose to forget it, but we won’t get into that. The point is that even if you make the argument that we put American aid first, that includes Puerto Rico, and by all accounts coming out of San Juan, the Federal government is doing a spectacularly shit job of this. Yet again, Americans are being embarrassed on a global stage by the ineptitude of our federal government (I don’t believe this issue started in 2017, by the way, so don’t @ me).

Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria are also being failed by American media. Don’t believe me? FiveThirtyEight just released this. Read it and cringe.

All this is to say, things change, and as they do, moral options shift.

So yes, I’m donating the money toward Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

And Hurricane Irma relief.

And Hurricane Maria relief.

I am not donating this month to Mexico, India, Bangladesh or Nepal, and here’s why:

  1. $160.93 doesn’t do that much when spread among five countries
  2.  I don’t currently know enough about the organizations helping out in some of those areas to make an informed decision about who to support
  3. One country at a time, one short story at a time

It’s sad, but we have to draw a line somewhere, and it was a hard decision, but for now, I’m going to help domestically. Perhaps in future months, I’ll donate internationally. Or I’ll write another short that benefits other countries. But right now, the disparity between how we’re treating Texans and Floridians versus Puerto Ricans is tearing at my conscience, and I can’t stop thinking about how many cans of food and bottles of water could go to Puerto Rico.

Does applying the “yourself” in “take care of yourself first” to Americans create a superficial separation between people based on geographical location? Yep. You got me. I have to hope that, for the time being, Mexicans will take care of other Mexicans and Indians will take care of other Indians, and so forth. You have to draw a line somewhere. International lines were drawn a long time ago and dictate who’re protected by what entity; I don’t have control over it, and the Puerto Rican citizens without electricity don’t have control over it now either, but we all have to make it work.

You can tell I’m struggling with this. It’s difficult. It’s hard to say, “I’m helping these people and not those.” But giving a dollar to each and every country in trouble right now doesn’t make sense to me either.

So here’s the final breakdown of where I’m donating.

To The Houston Food Bank: $40.00 (Harvey)

To Boca Helping Hands: $40.00 (Irma)

To Hispanic Federation’s “Unidos” initiative: $81.00 (Maria)

If you want to donate to other causes, I suggest you start here to make sure your money goes the farthest: https://www.charitynavigator.org

If you don’t support my decision to donate domestically but don’t want to donate elsewhere, *eh-hem* bless your heart.

UPDATE: Below is verification of the donation.

Monthly sales (as per BookReport):

(Profit/page reads/units sold)

Donations to Houston Food Bank and Boca Helping Hands (via Charity Navigator):

Donation to Hispanic Federation: 


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