Want to go on a date? Those words still hold a primal thrill for me, even in my forties. I’m going on one tonight with my husband. We’re going to choose a restaurant from here so that 25% of our bill will be donated to groups working to aid victims in Darfur.
Now I’ll back up. I feel like a jerk for juxtaposing my frivolous pleasure with the Janjaweed’s campaign of systematically raping and murdering the population of Darfur. Those two things don’t even belong in the same paragraph. But then, we’re living in a pretty crazy world. I keep working to find the best path through it that I can.
And given that my household and most U.S. households eat out often, it’s literally the least we can do to choose a restaurant that’s willing to donate 25% of its gross for an evening to alleviate some suffering. The participating restaurants are the ones who are doing a little sacrificial giving here, especially given how small their profit margins often are. I really appreciate their involvement.
As for my own involvement with Darfur, I’ve written letters in the past to Congress and the White House with strongly worded requests to help stop the genocide. But in the last few years, as the atrocities have continued despite worldwide awareness (due largely to Nicholas Kristof’s excellent journalism), I have retreated into sadness and discouragement. If you have stayed hopeful and engaged, please tell me about that.
When I enter and leave Stumptown Coffee each morning where I do my writing, other customers and I typically hold the door for each other. It’s not a virtuous choice, just the most basic act of decency. I see dining out for Darfur to be also a basic act of decency.
Thanks to my friend Colleen Kaleda for bringing tonight to my attention.