There aren't many people who can request Alder's Ledge to do a post, especially one like this one. We are a small team that would rather hide behind the screens from which we work. So when our most soft spoken member asked us to explain to the world a little more about us... well we spent two weeks deciding just how that would or could be done.
So this is what we came up with...
Alder's Ledge began from the stubbornness of one individual and an old desktop computer. The subject was and has always been somewhat dark and dreary. What first began as widely rejected political opinions slowly gave way to the passion of the founding member... something even more depressing than politics... and that is of course genocide and genocide education.
As that founding member, I remember the first time I became aware of genocide. As a small child I remember turning on the television after school one spring day and seeing the news instead of cartoons. The images of people laying in dirt streets while others hacked away at them with machetes was burned into my mind that day. I recall asking why that was happening only to be told to forget it. But somethings never can be forgotten.
Soon after that came Bosnia. The images of people running for cover as a gunshot broke the silence still chills my blood. Watching a body drop as the world around that poor soul explodes into chaos... these are the things that young minds don't process well. Yet when Bosnia came onto the television I couldn't watch away. It was like I was watching history in replay mode.
For members of Alder's Ledge this story is told over and over again. Some of our members have a family history with genocide. Others have watched it play out on their borders. And others have survived genocide. The relationships we have with it are what drives us. The pain that it has left upon our hearts, our minds, our souls... that is the prick upon our flesh that keeps us moving.
One such member is a beautifully spirited team member from Thailand. Her story of growing up in a country right next door to the one that her family died in inspires us all. The love that she shows to people who many of the rest of us might deem unworthy is humbling in ways words can't express. That desire to address one of the darkest parts of the human experience with a love unlike any other is a light onto our path.
Stories like hers show Alder's Ledge how we are supposed to go about our work. It is why we attempt to be fair and honest in every case of genocide (or human rights violations of any sort). It is why we break complex cases of genocide up into long series of posts rather than condensing the subject. This allows us to explore the complexity of the subject in a way that shows compassion and justice rather than bias or hatred for the perpetrators.
For another member of Alder's Ledge this way of looking at the world has been with her since she was little. Growing up in a country where uniformity is expected, she watched how people act with one another. Seeing how people love, how they hate, how they can be indifferent to the suffering of others, and how they apply empathy in other cases; she learned what it meant to scream. By breaking the patterns that keep us blind to the suffering of others, she learned how to use here gentle voice to shatter the silence.
These are just three members of Alder's Ledge. In each case we have had to learn what it meant to us to scream on behalf of others. We have had to look both inward toward our own souls to examine what genocide meant to us and then look at the world it has ravaged. In every case we have come to the same conclusion. And that is that we can't afford to remain silent.
Currently Alder's Ledge has members in China, Thailand, Europe, and across North America. In each region we all do the same thing, essentially. We work to raise awareness of genocide in our local communities. We find organizations that work to help victims of genocide and then support them in any way we can. In addition we also work to connect our work with that of other organizations so that we can come alongside them and partner with them as best as we can.
We are, as mentioned above, are a small group of individuals from differing backgrounds. All that we have today, all that this small blog has become, has been hard fought to gain. Every bit of growth we have made has been through sweat and tears. And every last bit of it has always been about helping others at any cost. That is precisely why we hide who we are and how we do it. The end results should be all that ever matter to us.
Currently Alder's Ledge donates to Partners Relief and Development on a monthly basis. In addition to this our members donate to local charities and organizations that help refugees in Thailand, Syria, and across Africa (Sudan and Uganda mainly). Members who can, are supported in their volunteer work with groups across the world helping either raise awareness of genocide or refugees of war and ethnic cleansing.
The rest of our work is done here on the blog.
Screaming here on the blog is a job that takes hours of research and even longer discussing the topics amongst members with experience in the given issue. Though we are not experts in what we often emerge ourselves into, we do cite any sources that we use to educate ourselves upon the subject at hand. Recently we have begun linking the sources so that readers can continue their research after reading our post. This helps support our belief that a screamer should have a strong desire to learn constantly so that their voice can be confident and loud.
Our Path Ahead...
Alder's Ledge will continue to struggle to help spread awareness of genocides both past and present. We try to scream on behalf of the Rohingya and other ethnic groups in Burma who are suffering from what we consider to be genocide. In addition we will be focusing on North Korea, the Romani people in Europe, Syria, and countless other cases of ethnic tension and genocide across the globe.
To do this we continue to put together presentations with small groups and local organizations. These presentations can consist of anything from dinner parties to simple one on one talks with interested groups or individuals. The main goal is and will always be the spreading of the information we have gathered on any given genocide (past and present).
Our only motto is and has always been...
Never Forget, Never Relent, Scream.