More From Alder's Ledge

December 31, 2013

Letters Home

A Look At Alder's Ledge

For the past several years Alder's Ledge has been pushing ourselves to grow. We struggle for every last inch we gain. We fight for every ear we find willing to listen, to hear our collective scream. It's a war of sorts, and endless battle that saps every last ounce of strength our team has. And yet they, a surprising team of misfits, are relentless... ever passionate... ever willing to take to the cause day after bloody day.

We read articles about atrocities and suffering just as though it were as natural to us as breathing is. Some might look at this as a morbid fixation, a perversion of sorts, and yet for us it is a duty... a calling. Every word we read, every story that crosses our screens, strikes a chord within us. These accounts of others suffering ring in our own history as a team. We all have a past with genocide. We all have a relationship with these topics. And for that we reason we cannot turn away.

Genocide has a way of galvanizing our ranks. It's flames created the reason our main author fights with every ounce of energy left in him. It's cruelty gave birth to the reason our most beloved sister, an anchor for us all, struggles to keep us going even when everything has fallen apart. It's insanity is why the calming voice of the most gentle soul we have amongst us is so refreshing... motivating us when we stumble along. Genocide has a way of creating within our ranks a reason to remain when all the rest have turned away.

This year we started out with only six team members stretched across the globe. There was always someone online. There was always a conversation going on somewhere. And it was in this constant talking that we came to the conclusion that we needed to expand our voice. It was then that we took to Twitter for another outlet to scream.

Most of you who read this are probably from Twitter. And despite our presence there for most of the year being through our main author's account, we are all greatly blessed through getting to know you. We appreciate all the support and encouragement you all have given us over this past year. The ability to scream with people from all walks of life about these topics has been an amazing experience. And for that we always want to say thank you to each and everyone of you.

As a team the experience of expanding has made this past year one we will never forget. We went from six team members to a team of just under two dozen. This of course had every growing pain imaginable and plenty of frustration. But we are all still committed to the same fight... just stronger for all the struggling along the way.

With this expansion in members came a plenty of reasons to expand the reasons for which we scream. With new members came new histories and new personal stories that contentiously leak into the paragraphs that fill our posts. When we started writing about human trafficking we could not help but to include the passion of those amongst our team who lived through it. When we write about child abuse we have no way of filtering out the agony of our members who survived it. And when we write about refugees we speak with the voices of our members who were made to flee or born beyond their homelands' borders. These voices, this collective experience we all now share, are the heart and soul of our little team. These are the driving passions of our members.

At times these passions become so bold that we as a team have had to place warnings of sorts before the main body of given posts. When our soul can't be confined to what might be considered polite, we have tried to warn our readers of the post's content. Not because we are apologetic, but because we are brutally honest.

Yet for all the good this passion does for our team in motivating us it has also driven us to the point to breaking. This year we lost a member who struggled with some of the subjects we cover here. His passing has admittedly left us breathless as our team has struggled to say goodbye. We will never forget his desire to scream relentlessly. We will never forget how his presence amongst us made each and every day we had with him feel like a gift. And most of all, we will never forget how even as the hate mail came pouring in he prayed for those who hated him for how G-d created him. His memory will forever be embedded in all that Alder's Ledge does. His passing will never be forgotten.

As for the year ahead...

As a team we have a long path ahead. We are putting our main author on the road twice in the coming year. And our team mates in Asia are taking our message off the computer and putting it to words.

In China Alder's Ledge is taking to campuses where our members are introducing audio and visual depictions of what it means to be a "screamer". In a country where "the party" has control over most everything (despite appearances) we are pushing the envelope as team members there take risk to spread our message. They are telling their communities about the Rohingya people's plight. They are talking about China's complicity in North Korea's abuses of it's own people. They are talking about ethnic cleansing, genocide, human trafficking, and the need for protests and civil disobedience (if need be) to force change. None of this is popular with those who still believe in China's party line.

As for our main author, the face of Alder's Ledge, the trip down the path starts in England, Germany, and Croatia. Many of our team members will finally meet with the punk that started all this to begin with. And then the path ends in the Philippines or China.

All of this is to spread our message. It isn't a complicated message. It doesn't have many parts to remember. All we ask of those we meet is that they scream.

So what does it mean to scream?

A scream is a violent and desperate act to grab the attention of a deaf world. It is the relentless effort to force a blind world to open it's eyes and look at the suffering of those we fight for. By using our voice we restore a voice to those the world has ignored and left beyond hope's embrace. By screaming we tell the world that there is, if nothing else, a point where we as a people will no longer tolerate the anguish of the forgotten. We will not look away.

A screamer is thus someone who has become aware or witnessed genocide. A screamer is someone who has lost the desire to set on the sidelines while genocide culls the flock laid out before them. A screamer is someone who lets out the battle cry. A screamer is someone who runs toward the sounds of silent cries so that they might use their voice to bring recognition to those hushed voices. A screamer is relentless, remorseless, and tireless. 

We are spreading our voice.

We are screaming.

Now we ask simply, who is with us?

Who will scream for the voiceless?

Who will fight?

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