I want to do what I can to help people of color be able to breathe, both literally and figuratively.
From their beginning breaths as babies, I hope the babies who receive these 2 little plants get the privilege of breathing, and breathing cleaner air. I hope this symbolic gesture of love is seeded deeply in their little hearts and minds, and that their little lungs get a strong start in life to improve their odds at developing stronger respiratory systems as they grow up so that maybe they can overcome things like COVID more easily, as they have enough to overcome already.
These are two of the most valuable new ways that I am learning from the privileged.
The knowledge about this way of life is the critical privilege that I have been so fortunate to gain from the privileged community that has so kindly made it possible for me to finally, FINALLY, pursue my happiness.
The privileged safeguard their health and their wealth, and because they have shown me this way of approaching life, I am finally able to, myself, breathe. Knowing how valuable these little tweaks have been to my feeling of finally being able to truly pursue happiness, it is my duty to share it, as silly as it feels doing so in this way.
These little plants (Victorian Parlor and Peace Lily) are setting me free from chemical allergy remedies. They are making my days better because they help me get better sleep. Now that I am feeling healthier from having a healthier environment, I feel I am putting my best foot forward and am able to thrive. The other big reason I can sleep at night is because I know my money is in safe hands, as the VA got me a fiduciary, so I know that no matter what, I will always have food, shelter, water, so finally feel free and can move up on Maslow's hierarchy.
I am not seeking to make any money or get anything out of this other than the selfish act of getting to pursue my own happiness-- happiness comes from serving others and I want to get to help as many black lives as possible in the ways that I can.
It costs about $10-$13.50/plant and about $8.00 per "Self Watering + Self Aerating Unique Drainage Deep Reservoir Round Planter Pot Minimizes Root Rot & Soil Fungus" with free shipping for everything. This totals about ~$100 (there is some small sales tax for the plants) , to deliver 5 plants and their pots to the new babies' mommas. The Hirt's Peace Lily- Spathyphyllium help get rid of insects, and the Hirt's Victorian Parlor Palm - Chamaedorea are NASA-researched as proven to purify air and to remove allergens.
If at any point the funding exceeds the goal, I will ask GoFundMe to transparently redirect the excess to the Floyd family in a fully transparent way so that it used for them to self-select and pay a custodian or fiduciary, or as she gets older find the little girl a suitable financial mentor, or whatever may help them, for any amount of money that isn't used to buy the 5 plants and pots for the NY babies. The reasoning is, as we have seen with lottery winners or people who suddenly come into a windfall, it is very important to know how to manage the funds so that they last and are used wisely (my custodian is one of my guardian angels).
I am answering these following questions because I have to for GoFundMe:
1. Who you are:
Elsa Velazquez, female, Hispanic, 42 years old, Navy veteran, former kindergarten teacher, recently graduated at 42 from a computer science program so am now a software engineer and am about to enter an immersive Data Scientist program
2. Where you're from
From El Paso, Texas, but have lived in Seattle, College Station, Norfolk, and am now very happily living in the mountains in Boulder, CO
3. Your relationship to the parties you're raising funds for
No direct relationship, but I was arrested at age 18 for "trying to take a police man's gun from his belt." Total lie. My sis called the cops (thankfully) because my parents and I were having a pretty rough domestic dispute (we actually get along quite well, that was a rare fight). When the cops arrived, 4 or 5 of them wrestled my old man t the ground, so I yelled badwords at them and got arrested for "interfering with a police investigation," which was later reduced to "disorderly conduct." My parents are ok people, just doing the best they can, and the whole interlude with the cops sucked and is the one ugly stain on my record. I was home from college at the time. I was a premier high school kid, graduating in 3 years (26 years ago, before that was "a thing"), graduated with that Psych degree in 3 years, got another degree in web dev and DJd electronic music for about a decade, went to the Navy supposedly to be a crypto officer and ended up as an enlisted aviation electronics tech and mostly only cleaned floors all the time(yes, more discrimination and glass ceilings), got out early and became a kindergarten teacher, got a master's in bilingual education, got "put in the hospital" (I had a mental breakdown, and you should see the reports-- I was accused of delusions of grandiosity for saying I went to school and owned real estate- I still don't get why that was so hard to believe), very soon after moved to Denver with my service dog, got into an engineering program at CU Boulder, got inducted as probably the oldest Hispanic female ever into the engineer's honor society, and recently got accepted into a 3 month immersive program to become a Data Scientist. So...I went from one of the poorest zip codes in the nation, literally eating out of trash cans during a short bout of homelessness, to living in Boulder with my friend, a retired nurse, who is now an energy healer and has helped me as much as anyone possibly could have.
I can attest to that having the support from my VA counselors and others in my current community mentoring and helping me, (vs being persecuted and accused by police and other ego-driven institutions), has been the right way-- I am living proof that placing resources in the hands of folks who act with their hearts and not trigger fingers is part of the equation for helping the wounds heal. This is why I am happy these flowers will be going to New York, because NY are defunding police and redirecting the funds to things that actually work and to folks that, collectively, in my opinion, deserve the jobs more because I haven't ever heard of a bad apple corrupting a group of social workers. I think they will do better jobs, at their jobs, and as research shows, there will be less need for policing, as a result.
4. How the funds will be spent :
I got permission from Dr. Shakeema North at Covenant House New York, to send the expectant mommies these little flowers and planting pots to give to any of their babies' mommas that want them.
I will order 3 Victorians, 2 Peace Lily's, and 5 self-watering/self-aerating pots (fingers crossed these remain in stock, though there are similar options in similar price ranges), and have them delivered directly to Covenant House New York, which totals about ~$100.
For my friends who want to help and have asked about tax write-offs for charitable donations (totally fair question and yet another example of lessons learned about protecting wealth and creating a more happy, abundant life), please refer to the Covenant House's website where they have a donation link, as I am not myself creating a 501c.
- Khiem Doan
- Elsa Velazquez