In the last few days I have sent out over 1000 emails to politicians, corporate executives and media representatives. I have only gotten back about 2 dozen responses to date, many from enthusiasts, but mostly from skeptics and cynics. But, it's all good. It's all in God's timing. I am still moving forward, putting one foot in front of the other and having faith that it will happen exactly how it is supposed to happen. I still however, felt the need to respond to the skeptics and cynics.
I am being asked to prove I am legit before some will walk with me. Before they WALK with me?!? I am not so sure I understand that. I could see them asking that question if I were asking for millions of dollars, but I am not. I am asking for them to exert energy and spend "a mile of your time" with me . If I were Oprah or Angelina, I don't believe they would have been asked to prove they were legit.
Well...How do I prove I am legit? I exist. I have had a birth certificate for 54 years now. I have been driving for more than 30 years now, 18 of which have been here in Oregon. So how do I prove I am on the up and up? Do I have to for a walk? I guess so.
I don't know, maybe it's the way I presented the letters. The first one stated "What we are asking of the public is that if they believe in this cause, donate 1 penny for every mile walked, which amounts to $18.63. Although I would love them to support the organizations I have chosen to donate the proceeds to, the purpose of this walk is to get them to 'be a change' in helping the homeless into homes, so who they donate to is irrelevant.
What we would be asking of you, your staff and your clients, is to walk a mile or two as support for this cause and to show that the words of Gandhi are taken to heart. "Be the change you want to see in the world." With the participation of citizens such as yourself, the hearts of millions all over the globe can be touched enough to encourage them to be a change in the campaign to make poverty history, not just in America, but all over the world.
Oregon state senator Betsy Johnson was kind enough to point out that because I have not been around as a 501(c)(3) no one would donate to me.
"Okay. But I am not asking for money. I am asking for support. I even stated on my website that I was not a 501 (c)(3)."
"Oh well, I didn't get that from your letter. (Which means she did not look at the website. Oh well.) "I wish you luck and I will follow you as you walk." A little non-committal but I'll take support in any way I can get it.
My website states the following:
I am an individual trying to make a difference in the world by walking from British Columbia to Mexico as a representative for all, because it's the 'right thing to do'.
I am NOT a 501(c)(3).
If you want to be the change and do not feel comfortable donating to this cause, there are MANY causes out there just as worthy as this one.
Click on the PDF icon below for a listing of the many agencies listed state by state that could use your help.
Of course I do hope that you choose to help in supporting this cause, but where you donate is irrelevant. What matters most is that you help at all.
So there is no more confusion, although frankly I don't think there is very much difference, the letters I send out now, state" What I am asking of the public is to donate 1 penny for every mile walked to their local homeless shelter. If they would like to help offset the cost of this trip that would be welcome as well, but the purpose of this walk is not about the money. The initiative is to get America to be a change to the homeless and poverty level individuals and families so who they donate to is irrelevant. It's that they help at all that matters.
Maybe I just don;t know what they mean by legit. I have a website, albeit homemade, I have one nonetheless. I have put in months of planning, hours of walking, exercising, changing the way I eat so I can make all 1863 miles. I even made a commercial, and I HATE to have my picture taken.
I have to start somewhere. Nancy Brinker started with 800 people who believed in what she was doing. Now, Race for the Cure has over one million participants world wide. I'll take the 800. I'll take 80. Heck, I'll even take just one other person who believes in this as much as I do to walk side by side to help a neighbor that needs a lending hand, and whether or not we choose to accept them, they are our neighbors. By the way, the cinematographer of my short film donated his thousands of dollars worth of time and expertise because he does believe in this and knew it was the 'Right thing to do."
In closing, I remember somewhere in the back of my mind there was something called the Four Freedoms. Freedom of Speech. Freedom of Worship. Freedom from Want. Freedom from Fear. I can't help but wonder if it is because of the cynics and skeptics of the world that we no longer believe in nor do we feel comfortable in practicing these freedoms. What do you think?