Sunday, May 3, 2009

Cascade of Hope--An Idea

I will fold one origami crane for every $10 donated through the Facebook "Causes" app to "The Innocent Justice Foundation" (up to 1000 cranes or $10,000. I will display the cranes like a waterfall (cascade), take periodic pictures and post them on this blog, my website, my Facebook pages and everywhere else I have a web presence. (Nice thing about being a published author--a sudden expansion in web presence) For those who have never seen 1,000 origami cranes in one place, I promise you it looks seriously cool.

"The Innocent Justice Foundation is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to help rescue thousands of American children who are being sexually abused and significantly impact and reduce the American epidemic of child sexual abuse in this century.

"Its methods are two-fold: 1) to enable law enforcement to investigate and prosecute every child pornography offense in the United States, and thereby rescue thousands or millions of American children from unspeakable abuse, and 2) to create a paradigm shift in the public's perception of child abuse images, victims and offenders and thereby engage the public in ending sexual abuse.

"The Innocent Justice Foundation's philosophy is the belief that only through heightened public awareness and action, active policymakers, and fully-equipped law enforcement units will we be able to meet the challenge of rescuing victims, stopping predators, and slowing the astronomical pace of production of child sexual abuse images, which document crime scenes and instigate further abuse of children." (From a letter written to me by Heather Steele, President & CEO of The Innocent Justice Foundation. Emphasis added)

Frankly, I believe that this issue does not receive as much attention as it should. If The Innocent Justice Foundation receives big (total) donation numbers in a public arena such as Facebook, this may make the online world sit up and take notice. It may raise awareness of this problem. Would you notice a Facebook Cause that raised $10,000 in donations? I know there's a Christian principle that giving should be done in secret, but think about this:

in 2007, the American Cancer Society raised $1,039,325,000 in "total support from the public" (from their 2007 Annual Report). I know that sociological theorizing is always a murky business, but I'm going to do a little of it right now. I think that Lance Armstrong really helped the fight against cancer when he publically adopted it as his own. I think that if he had secretly given his own money, instead of engaging "the public," that the fight against cancer would not be as big as it is (and he certainly would never have been able to give $1,039,325,000 in donations in his lifetime).

It's a new world increasing run by "wikinomics" (mass collaboration, free individual agents coming together and cooperating to solve a problem--from the Wikipedia article). Wikinomics requires a level of public action by private individuals for it to work.

The American Cancer Society raised $1,039,325,000 in total support from the public, in one year, in part by romanticizing the fight against cancer (not cancer itself, of course, but the fight against it). Pink baseball bats, pink tuna cans, yellow bracelets--you know what I'm talking about. Christopher Nolan's Batman said something about people needing a symbol to become engaged. (I'd find the exact line but my DVD player is broken--someone want to help me out with the quote?)

The modern origami crane legend is rooted in the story of a little girl with a lot of hope. Her cranes were a symbol of her hope. There are children living today who still have hope despite horrible circumstances which they cannot control. We are adults, we have resources, and we must try to help them. The Cascade of Hope cranes will symbolize hope manifested and put into action, or something like that. At the very least, each crane will represent $10 that a caring person invested into rescuing children. And it will look cool when there are finally a lot of them.

I don't want to stop at $10,000 either. Law enforcement is fighting a global, multi-billion dollar, explosively expanding, Internet-based child pornography industry. They need powerful forensics computers, technology and world-class training to allow them to keep up. My hope is that someone will make another waterfall when mine is done, that these symbols of hope will dot the country ("we'll" post pictures) and that all of us individual free agents working together to solve a problem will actually do some real good.

The Facebook cause is at:

1 comment:

  1. I think this is a great idea for a wonderful cause. It's so saddening to me how rampant child abuse is these days. I'm really glad you are working to do something about it.