I have lived a life of a great privilege. There have been very few times that I really had to beg for anything.
I am the youngest of four so, as my older sister likes to say, by default I had it easy. She says that my parents were tired and I got what I wanted.
A few sessions ago in Juvie when I was giving writing exercise on who we need to forgive to move on, and who we must ask forgiveness from, one participant wrote that she needs to forgive herself for begging for drugs.
When we discussed it, she said it wasn't the drugs that she wants to forgive herself for; it was the desperation and the begging, for wanting something so badly that she didn’t care how and what she did to get it.
We spent a long time talking about what it means to be desperate and what it means to beg. People tell me how lucky the girls in Juvie are to have me. I want to tell you that I am lucky to have them.
During this past Jewish holiday I had an arm full of fliers for my event LISTEN on October 30. I am starting to beg and plead and ask people to buy tickets and come to this special benefit. I have been pitching and handing out flyers even to the ones who roll their eyes, tell me they have five flyers at home or simply don’t care about my work.
It is amazing that 100% of the proceeds from this event go directly to the ADVOT PROJECT. But what is more fantastic is that we actually have the Broad Stage for my girls from Juvie to stand on, to read their poetry, and to perform. I SO, SO WANT the auditorium to be full!
I want as many people as possible to be there.
I want people who can't come to make a donation and buy tickets so that I can give tickets to those who cannot afford them.
I just want people to come and listen.
A wise, wise man who has had a lot of experience in the non profit world whom I asked for guidance this week, asked me some significant questions. Why is this important? Why should people care? Why do I do this work?
So here is the deal…
If we catch these kids now, at the doorstep of their life as criminals, and give them what they don't even know they need, change, dramatic change can happen.
We have that much power.
If we listen to their stories, we will learn of a reality so different from what we know, it will shift our perception and understanding of life.
If we want the world to be a better place, this is where it starts, low, very low, with the ones no one sees or hears.
Not being seen or heard leads to all those things we don't want in our society. This is important. No, this is urgent, because all children matter. All children should be loved and given a chance.
So here I am, handing out flyers, asking, begging, telling, pleading, and I will not stop not even if it makes me uncomfortable as hell.
"You know, Ms., here is the thing. When you want something real bad, begging is easy. You are like a blind man."
"Well, I want you to want other things real bad, like an education and a job," I say.
"So you want me to beg to get my GED?" she asks.
"Well here is the good news. You don't have to, ‘cause it’s right here for you to take," I answer.
"You ever beg for anything, Ms.?" she asks me.
"I beg people to come see you guys perform," I tell her.
She laughs so hard she starts to cry. “You’re crazy, Ms., and a little fucked up. You know that, right?” she says.
Then she gets very quiet. “Do you really?”
“Oh, my goodness, I do, email after email, shamelessly,” I say.
"Does that mean without shame?” she asks.
“Yes,” I say. “No shame. I ask again and again and again so they will come.”
She looks at me and puts her arm around my shoulder.
“So, Ms., what you are saying is that we are your crystal meth. You got us bad, right?”
We all laugh out loud.
I sometimes can't believe the conversations I have in that gym up in Santa Clarita.
“Yes, I got you bad, but unlike crystal meth, you don't harm my brain or body and you will make me proud at the show.”
I will beg and ask again and again. I will do anything I need to fill that theater so that people will hear their voice.
OCTOBER 30th. LISTEN. Will you join me? Go to: advot.eventbrite.com