We spend the better part of the year bumming you out about the many ways the law fails to actually provide justice. Thankfully, there are organizations that provide mutual aid and support to right some of the wrongs committed by our judiciary. Here are some of our favorite orgs that are offering healing, advocacy and care, to build the future that we want. https://reprolegaldefensefund.org/, https://bailproject.org/, https://www.thetrevorproject.org/, https://ysrp.org/, https://www.raicestexas.org, https://narf.org/, https://www.yasproject.com/, https://freedomreads.org/, https://www.heartsandbonesrescue.com/, https://www.ourchildrenstrust.org/
A podcast where we dissect and analyze the Supreme Court cases that have caused our nation to fall short of its promise, like France in the World Cup
0:00:00.3 Speaker 1: I'm not big on charities. Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Don't teach a man to fish and you feed yourself. He's a grown man. Fishing's not that hard.
0:00:16.6 Leon: Hey everyone, this is Leon from Fiasco and Prologue Projects. Happy holidays. On this week's episode of 5-4, Peter, Rhiannon, and Michael are back with their annual giving guide. As you'll hear, the hosts have recommendations galore for organizations that you can donate your time or money to in order to productively channel your grief and rage at the Supreme Court. This is 5-4, a podcast about how much the Supreme Court sucks. And this week only, what you can do about it.
0:00:50.5 Peter: Welcome to 5-4, where we dissect and analyze the Supreme Court cases that have caused our nation to fall short of its promise, like France in the World Cup.
0:01:00.8 Rhiannon: Wow.
0:01:02.6 Peter: Hot off the presses.
0:01:03.1 Rhiannon: I thought you were gonna do something about like maybe frayed nerves or like the stress of the game, but just came out and bashed the French.
0:01:09.9 Michael: I don't like that 'cause that kind of makes like Argentina the Supreme Court though, right? I like Messi. Although he is sort of a tax cheat, right? Like a money launderer, so maybe it fits.
0:01:20.4 Peter: That's right.
0:01:23.3 Michael: Corrupt.
0:01:24.7 Peter: That's right. That is what I meant to imply. So it works. I'm Peter. I'm here with Rhiannon.
0:01:30.3 Rhiannon: Hi.
0:01:31.9 Peter: And Michael.
0:01:33.8 Michael: Happy holidays, everybody.
0:01:33.8 Peter: Happy holidays. Merry Christmas. We're saying it.
0:01:37.4 Michael: No, I am a frontline warrior in the war on Christmas.
0:01:45.6 Peter: Now, in the spirit of the season, we thought we'd maybe provide you folks with some things you can feel good about spending your money on. And we're gonna do that by repeating a holiday classic. Last year, we did a giving guide where we identified some of our favorite organizations that could use your help during the holiday season. It was great to do. We got a great response from the organizations. A couple cases where people reached out to the organizations to like actually work for them. It was just a cool experience for us. It was great for the organizations. And we thought we're nothing if not full of holiday spirit here at 5-4. So let's do it again, you know?
0:02:27.6 Rhiannon: No, we like really, really love our listeners and have realized like what an impact having this many listeners and this kind of platform can have. I know I heard from organizations last year that said they really appreciated the donations that come in. I mean, these are organizations, some of them that like, $1,000 coming in means a lot, expands their capacity to do the good work that they're doing. So, yeah, we were really pleased and grateful for how listeners stepped up last year and thought we should do it again.
0:03:00.0 Michael: Yeah, you guys are incredible. And you did something incredible last year and we're hoping you'll do it again.
0:03:06.3 Peter: Yeah. All right, I'll kick it off with an organization that is frankly just more needed now than it has ever been. Repro Legal Defense Fund. They provide bail funds and defense work for people who are targeted by police and prosecutors for the outcomes of their pregnancy, whether that be abortion or not. Obviously, in the wake of Dobbs, there was a surge of donations at organizations like this. They have tapered off and given our status as a podcast that talks about the Supreme Court, and I would feel a little bit odd if we did not start off with an organization that works towards reproductive justice. So reprolegaldefensefund.org.
0:03:54.5 Michael: I think that's a great way to kick this off. It's obviously a huge issue in this country right now. And to your point, right after Dobbs, I signed up to volunteer for a local reproductive rights org. And now I'm on their volunteer list, but I've never actually done anything. And I think there's a lot of energy and it started to dissipate. I'm Exhibit A on that, and we can't let that happen. And so we need to be supporting organizations like this and I need to reach out to them and start volunteering.
0:04:26.9 Peter: That's right.
0:04:28.1 Rhiannon: Yeah, that sounds really cool, Michael.
0:04:29.8 Michael: Thanks. I am the best.
0:04:35.0 Rhiannon: My first organization is The Bail Project. This is a national organization that gets people out of jail. We know that the vast majority of people in the US who are in jail are, of course, held their pretrial simply because they can't afford the cash bail amount set by a judge. So this is one of the primary ways poor people are marginalized and punished in the criminal punishment system, even while presumed innocent. Rich people accused of crimes can pay the bail necessary to get out, poor people cannot, so they stay in. So that's where The Bail Project comes in. They use funds to pay people's bail on low level offenses so that families are reunited and people are not languishing waiting for dispositions on their cases in jail. They have freed close to 30,000 people. My own former clients have received funding from The Bail Project to get out of jail. So this is real material help for people in need. You can donate at bailproject.org. That's bail, B-A-I-L, project.org.
0:05:38.0 Peter: Yeah, I think that's a great organization to choose, A, because pretrial release is so crucial just to like ensuring people's dignity, and, B, because the system as it stands is basically explicitly designed to oppress poor people.
0:05:56.3 Rhiannon: Right.
0:05:56.4 Michael: Yeah. The first project I wanna start with, it's actually like a pretty big one, but I wanna talk about it for a few reasons. It's called The Trevor Project, and they work with LGBTQ people in crisis, and they have a 24/7 crisis hotline. They have spaces set up to help people who are maybe going to self-harm. And right now is one of the toughest times in recent memory to be LGBTQ in this country. Whether it's the state investigating parents of trans kids in Texas or fucking terrorists shooting up gay nightclubs or anything in between, it's just a very hard and scary time. And this is a time, I think, when everyone's mental health is sort of stressed, and we're all feeling worn through a little bit. And so I wanted to mention this not only to encourage you guys to donate, but also if any of our listeners are LGBTQ and struggling to know that this is out here, that there's help. So check 'em out, thetrevorproject.org. Very cool, very important work.
0:07:21.5 Rhiannon: I totally agree with the importance of this organization. I'm really glad that that was one of your orgs, Michael. I mean like 2022, what a fucking year for mental health, right?
0:07:32.9 Michael: Yeah.
0:07:33.5 Rhiannon: And then if you add to it that you're a part of a literally targeted community, targeted by the state, targeted by your fucking neighbors, targeted by members of the school board, like you said, it's just a really tough time to be a member of these targeted communities, and The Trevor Project is a great organization.
0:07:56.4 Michael: Yeah. And there's no shame in admitting that you're struggling and asking for help when you need it. I've had a number of down periods in my life, and my biggest regrets in pretty much all of them is not asking for help sooner and clearer and being more proactive in taking care of myself.
0:08:19.2 Peter: And I think as the host of this podcast, there's an onus on us because the American Medical Association recently said that our podcast is one of the top causes of depression in this country.
0:08:31.1 Rhiannon: For the host!
0:08:34.8 Rhiannon: Get me outta here.
0:08:38.5 Peter: All right. My next one, the Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project. Real Peterheads know that I have a juvenile justice background, by which I mean I did one internship, and... But I've remained kind of passionate about it. And as an apology for not dedicating my life to it, I'm gonna promote a couple of juvenile justice organizations. This one works to keep children out of adult prison facilities, as well as provides legal services to juveniles sentenced to life in prison and reentry planning for those who do leave prison. They also do policy reform work and a host of other things. It's a pretty dark time in juvenile justice spaces. The current court has made progress functionally impossible. Funding for a lot of these organizations has slowed. The organization I used to work for closed its doors a few years back, and that's not an uncommon story. So these are folks doing great work. They can always use some financial assistance. Find them at YSRP.org.
0:09:42.1 Rhiannon: Next up for me is RAICES. This is coincidentally another organization that helps out youth among many other people. RAICES is the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services. This is a Texas organization that gives critical legal services to migrants in Texas, not just kids, but they fight for family reunification among so many other things. They defend the rights of immigrants and refugees. RAICES manages tens of thousands of cases a year at no cost to their clients. We're talking about kids who would otherwise be going to immigration court completely alone with zero representation. They do residency and citizenship services, asylum representation and support, removal defense, DACA support, in addition to direct legal representation for families and kids. This is an invaluable organization that I feel really connected to. I know people who work for this organization. They do incredible work. It is beyond needed in Texas. So you can find RAICES, you can find more information about them, and you can donate at RAICESTexas.org. RAICES is R-A-I-C-E-S, Texas.org.
0:11:00.4 Michael: So the next thing I wanna talk about is the Native American Rights Fund. So if you're a regular listener of this podcast, you know we've talked about how Justice Gorsuch is actually like a very fervent defender of tribal sovereignty and Native rights, which means that even in the midst of the court's rightward slide, up until recently, Native groups have had good success at the court. But much like switching Ruth Bader Ginsburg for Amy Coney Barrett changed the math on abortion and many other issues, it changed the math on these Native cases. And we've discussed how the Indian Child Welfare Act is in danger, how tribal sovereignty is in danger. So organizations like the Native American Rights Fund are more important than ever. They are in court fighting to enforce all these treaties on the books that are constantly ignored, to protect tribal sovereignty, to protect Native children, which is gonna be even more important as the Supreme Court starts taking wax at what few remaining protections tribes have.
0:12:17.0 Rhiannon: Yeah.
0:12:18.1 Michael: So check them out. NARF.org, N-A-R-F dot org.
0:12:25.6 Rhiannon: Yeah, it's really important to note too the importance of this organization in terms of like who they're up against. You know, Native American tribes and the organizations that represent those interests are up against lots of wealthy, very powerful, money-backed organizations that represent for instance the casino industry, oil and gas, all kinds of corporations that would like to exploit especially the land resources of sovereign tribal lands.
0:12:56.0 Peter: Like Ocean's Eleven villains, you know? That's what we're doing.
0:12:58.8 Rhiannon: Yeah, the worst fucking people. Yeah.
0:13:00.0 Michael: All right. My last one, another juvenile justice organization, Youth Art and Self-Empowerment Project. They're located in Philly and they do some policy work aiming to end the practice of trying juveniles as adults. But what sets them apart is that they run a bunch of programs in Philadelphia jails primarily where they work directly with incarcerated young people. Really good work in the city where I sort of grew up, Philly.
0:13:28.0 Rhiannon: Yeah.
0:13:29.3 Michael: YASproject.com.
0:13:31.9 Peter: Have you ever actually grown up?
0:13:36.6 Rhiannon: And on top of that claiming Philly, worst sports fans in the world.
0:13:42.4 Peter: Worst by some metrics.
0:13:47.1 Peter: Highest number of batteries thrown onto the field.
0:13:49.7 Michael: Yeah.
0:13:52.8 Rhiannon: My last organization is one I'm really excited to share with listeners. It's called Freedom Reads. Freedom Reads is an amazing org that installs libraries in prisons on the housing units where literature can be accessible to everyone on the inside. So freedom libraries, as they're called, kind of expand on the idea of like a library book cart. They create space on the inside for reading, imagination, discussion of art and literature, community building. They have opened freedom libraries in prisons in Massachusetts, Louisiana, New York and Colorado. This organization was founded by Dwayne Betts, who is formerly incarcerated, a survivor of solitary confinement. And he has said, "I rediscovered a sense of freedom the system had tried to beat out of me because of a book. I realized that a poem can give somebody a whole world of hope. After reading that book, I dedicated myself to helping other prisoners and people outside of prison discover the freedom blueprint that poetry, literature and other arts can provide." This is an amazing organization and you can find them at freedomreads.org.
0:14:58.0 Peter: Yeah, and in exchange for your donations, we are negotiating a deal with them to not allow anyone to read Supreme Court justice autobiographies.
0:15:12.1 Rhiannon: Should not be valued literature.
0:15:14.4 Peter: No, it's forbidden.
0:15:16.3 Michael: So as many of you know, I am an animal lover and especially a dog lover and proud dog owner. I'm sure you've heard my dogs barking and whining in the background of many an episode, much to the chagrin of our producers. And so I wanna talk about an organization that I actually got two dogs from. It's called Hearts and Bones Rescue. And a major problem that I think is not well known is that Texas shelters are just overfull. And it leads to a lot of dogs being euthanized and a lot of organizations that are basically dedicated to taking overflow from Texas out of state.
0:16:03.8 Rhiannon: Yeah.
0:16:04.7 Michael: And so this is one of those organizations, they have a ranch in Texas where they will collect some critical mass of dogs from strays or shelters or whatever in Texas. And then they bring them to New York where they have a network of foster parents that they place them with. So the dogs are in a loving foster home rather than a shelter. It's a wonderful organization. Dave set us up with two lovely dogs that we adore. If you wanna donate, they could use your help. But also if you are in the New York area, you should consider fostering dogs. We fostered and it was lovely. We fell in love, and we ended up adopting our dog as a foster fail. So check 'em out, heartsandbonesrescue.com.
0:16:52.2 Peter: I'll keep that in mind in case I ever wanna watch Cosmo fight to the death with a dog.
0:17:00.4 Peter: All right. One more. The Where is He Project, an organization dedicated to geolocating Elon Musk.
0:17:12.4 Peter: As you know, people who are trying to track Elon Musk's real location in real time have suffered some recent setbacks. This organization is fully committed to the project of finding, tracking and eventually...
0:17:29.9 Rhiannon: Oh, my God.
0:17:34.3 Michael: Rachel, cut that.
0:17:42.6 Peter: All right, folks, we hope you have a lovely holiday season and we hope you throw some support to some or all of these organizations. And we will see you in the new year.
0:17:53.0 Rhiannon: Happy New Year.
0:17:54.5 Michael: Happy New year.
0:17:55.2 Rhiannon: We love you.
0:17:57.2 Michael: 5-4 is presented by Prologue Projects. Rachel Ward is our producer. Leon Nayfakh and Andrew Parsons provide editorial support. Our production manager is Percia Verlin and our assistant producer is Arlene Arevalo. Peter Murphy designed our website, fivefourpod.com. Our artwork is by Teddy Blanks at Chips NY and our theme song is by Spatial Relations.
0:18:27.4 Rachel: Hey, guys, this is Rachel. Normally, there's something funny at the end of the show, but nobody ever asked me what organizations I want to promote. So I'm putting this here just to see if anyone on the show team actually notices that I did it. I wanna give a shout out to Our Children's Trust. I did a story about them last year and they do really amazing work helping support legal action brought by youth against governments around the world in support of a safe climate. So if you've seen the film Youth v. Gov on Netflix, that's the work that they do. And probably their most famous case is Juliana v. United States.
0:19:10.3 Rachel: In that case, they're asserting that the government has affirmatively acted to cause climate change and as a result violated Gen Z and Gen Alpha's constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, and also failed to protect essential public trust resources. But they're involved in cases like this all over the world with partners in Australia and Pakistan and lots of different places. And they're not just looking for funding, they could also use help from lawyers, which I assume some lawyers are listening to this show. If you go to their website, ourchildrenstrust.org, and then click over to the jobs and internship page, there's a form you can fill out to contribute your time pro bono. They are also looking for legal interns, graduate and undergraduate folks. So yeah, you can send them some money or send them some time at ourchildrenstrust.org and support their work to advocate for a safe climate for generations to come.