I’m using this blog space to make you all aware of a wonderful organization I am on the board of – Free Dimensional.
Since 2006, fD has worked with nearly 200 artists and culture workers, from over 35 countries, who are at risk because of their art. We help find them safe haven in artists residencies, small living grants, and we develop tools for our partners to use in supporting artists in danger.
Right now we need to raise money for:
- One-to-one case management for artists, culture workers and communicators in need of critical personal and professional support
- Design and translation of our DIY guidebook for artists at risk (called The Creative Safe Haven Advocacy Kit) into the languages where artists are most in need
- Development of 5 ‘artist safety networks’ around the world to provide immediate and accessible response when individuals are in danger
Artists inspire us and their communities, but in return they may be harassed, face physical violence, torture, imprisonment or worse …fD defends these essential voices, but to do so we need your financial support today.
Below, Lawman Lynch, a political asylee who we helped, writes about his experience.
We want to continue being in the world, helping other artists in danger. Help us to keep going.
Staying in the United States was not by choice, I had to. I woke up to see my car ablaze as a result of it being firebombed while I was asleep – the consequence of stating my opinion as an advocate on a sensitive matter in my home country, Jamaica. Reluctantly, the decision was made to seek political asylum for my safety in the United States.
When I was granted political asylum in January 2011, I realized that to survive in the U.S. with limited resources is a great challenge, but to survive in New York without a support system is an even greater challenge.
… I had no relatives in the U.S. and there are limits to how much friends can help. The minute I thought I was putting a strain on friends or “helpers”, I felt it was my cue to move on: I moved 17 times within the first 10 months of being an asylee.
fD opened the door for my stability and made my transition to life in the U.S. much easier. fD facilitated 6 months of live/work space at the Flux Factory, giving me a safe and stable space to live while I got on my feet. fD also ensured that I was connected to a network of individuals who were not only able to assist my growth and development, but also share experiences and strengthen each other. The first financial support grant I got from the Rory Peck Trust was facilitated by fD and that grant helped to offset critical living expenses I had, especially in my first year as an asylee.
fD plays a pivotal role in the NGO sector, bridging culture and human rights, complementing other programs and building support networks within civil society. fD also makes the transition process of asylees and other vulnerable individuals much easier by connecting us to a network of not just “sayers” but “doers”.
Today I am the Center and After School Program Director for a Salvation Army location in Brooklyn and I’m happy that “The Lawman Lynch Foundation” is building a base here in the United States so that my philanthropic work may continue….