Wow, what a year! Is it just us or has this past year been packed with social movements of all kinds? Packed with awareness campaigns and progress in many areas? Packed with stories of people helping each other out, investing their time and raising awareness and money for all sorts of causes?
Our STEAKS Crew has had a very active 2019, with many of them heavily engaged in all sorts of activities, which inspired us to make this year’s retrospect all about these activities. After all: ’tis the season. We are proud that these inspiring role models in sports AND life are part of our crew.
Find out about our crew’s favourite organizations, nonprofits and charities. Find gifts that support these causes and make a skater happy or simply find new organisations that might inspire you to get involved in yourself.
B000M 💚 Korean K9 Rescue
B000M (STEAKS Shredder, NYC, USA) with her fur baby La Bomba, whose adventures can be followed on Instagram @labombathedog and HEEEEYYYY 👋 do we spot @bridgetmeows there in the background? 📸 DAVID DYTE
Korean K9 Rescue is a non-profit, No-Kill 501(c)(3) dog rescue organization that saves dogs from the meat trade, puppy mills, and high-kill shelters in South Korea. Due to the stigma associated with mixed breed and “dog meat farm” dogs, most dogs have a low chance of being adopted in South Korea. They transport these dogs to the United States and find loving forever homes for them in New York City. In the process, they can spread awareness about the brutal dog meat trade and be a voice for the voiceless dogs that are still suffering in the meat trade.
In 2017, I discovered KK9R and started to follow their Instagram. I was between apartments at the time, so it wasn’t until mid-2018 when I was ready to help the organization beyond monetary support. I started fostering dogs for them in August of 2018. I fostered 3 dogs, all for between a one to two-week span. However, I fell in love with my 3rd foster, Lamonda. I could never remember his name so I would mistakenly call him LaBomba. I realized LaBomba was the perfect match for me the moment I put on my rollerskates and he LOVED running next to me while I zoomed around on 8 wheels. I decided to adopt him on October 20th, 2018.
Now, LaBomba comes with me to skateparks and derby games! He’s such a sweet boy. LaBomba is 50% Jindo – a breed native to Korea; and 50% totally not what you’d expect! He has two wives from his past life in Korea and four children – luckily he’s now neutered. He is friends with some of his family on Instagram and it’s been exciting learning more about his story along the way.
In the near future, I plan on getting LaBomba trained to be a therapy dog because he’s SO good at snuggling! I also plan on fostering again!
How to get involved:
You can support KK9R with monetary donations. If you live in the NYC area, consider volunteering at their adoption events and becoming a foster parent!
Kira 💚 UK Student Climate Network
Kira (STEAKS Skater, South East England, UK) giving a speach during a Fridays for Future march this year. 📸 Harry Murray
The UK Student Climate Network organises the UK’s climate strikes as part of the Fridays for Future movement that takes place all over the world- students take part in global and national strikes on Fridays urging governments around the world to not just listen, but to take action on climate breakdown. I take part in youth strikes in Brighton. The UKSCN focuses specifically on amplifying the voices of those who are under 18 as we cannot vote, and their four demands are:
- Save the future (Implement a Green New Deal to achieve climate justice)
- Teach the future (Reform education to teach students about the severity of the climate crisis)
- Tell the future (Ensure the government is communicating to the public about how all of us can reduce our carbon emissions)
- Empower the future (Bring the voting age down to 16- recognising that young people have the biggest stake in our future).
Youth strikes also have a strong focus on climate justice, recognising that climate breakdown will negatively affect those who have done the least to cause it (living in countries with significantly small impact) before it will harm most consumerist ‘western’ countries with huge carbon footprints. The strikes are inherently political.
How to get involved:
Join us! If you have the time/money/energy to join us at one of our strikes, that is the best way to get involved. Alternatively, contact your representatives and ask them to do more about climate breakdown, donate some money or change your lifestyle as much as you can. Ultimately, this is not about the non-profit, but about our future. One of the easiest ways you can reduce your carbon footprint is by changing what you consume- eating plant-based and locally sourced foods, reducing how often you buy new things, and when you do, buying second-hand. Check out Depop for amazing second-hand clothes if you’re struggling to find great stuff in local charity or thrift shops.
Visit their website ukscn.org to find out more or donate.
Lily 🧡 SOHAS – Sheffield Occupational Health Advisory Service
Lily’s (STEAKS Skater, Sheffield, UK) collaboration crop top with GEO Clothing has a great message, makes a stellar gift AND all profits are donated to SOHAS.
SOHAS – Sheffield Occupational Health Advisory Service supported my partner through a very difficult time this year. We are eternally grateful for the advice and support they provided which ultimately enabled him to escape from a mentally damaging job and understand what he was entitled to in terms of care and financial aid. Organisations like this are too few and far between, they are a vital service that everyone should have the right to access. We are lucky to have an NHS that provides these services and recent cuts are just a warning for what is to come if it sold off and privatised.
The service is free to access and you can self refer. Whilst this is Sheffield Based there are other organisations that work across the country. Alternatively, you can contact Citizens Advice, The Health Assessment Advisory Service or your local GP.
How to get involved:
If you want to show your support, the purchase of the R.I.P. Negative Thoughts cropped tee is a great start! Lily has collaborated with GEO Clothing to create this top of which all profits will be donated to SOHAS. Get it on geoclothing.co.uk.
Visit their website: www.sohas.co.uk
Liñan ❤️ AMRD (Asociación Mexicana de Roller Derby)
One way Liñan (STEAKS Skater, Baja California, Mexico) helps their national roller derby governing body AMRD is with graphic design work. 📸 GOT SERIF?
Liñan is a passionate supporter of the roller derby governing bodies such as WFTDA & MRDA and is an active contributor to the Mexican national body AMRD. And let’s be honest: without these instances, a lot of people would not be able to play the sport they love so much in the way they are playing it today.
How to get involved:
Liñan supports AMRD with what he is best at: by helping out with the graphic design & with that helping AMRD communicate. But really anyone can get involved by supporting events voluntarily as a referee, NSO or logistics organizer of the event and by contributing your time and money without expecting anything in return.
Claire Sharpe 💙 Caring in Bristol
Claire (STEAKS Shredder, Bristol, UK) will be helping out during the Caring at Christmas Campaign but Caring Bristol helps homeless people 365 days a year. 📸 Caring in Bristol
It’s become a bit of a tradition for me to volunteer at Christmas and this year I’m excited to be helping Caring in Bristol. 💙 They’re an amazing charity that works to improve the lives of homeless people across the city. Like most big towns and cities in the UK, the number of people who find themselves without anywhere safe to sleep is growing.
Caring in Bristol are striving to create a society where everyone has a home, has hope and is part of their community. They don’t believe that homelessness is a simple issue with a simple solution. That’s why they work across a number of projects helping people move away from the streets and preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place.
For their Caring at Christmas campaign they are opening special shelters from 23rd of December to the 1st of January, providing shelter, food, warmth, company, activities, emotional and medical support, and a welcoming atmosphere for those experiencing homelessness at an acutely difficult time of the year.
That’s an extra two days last year on last year, and they’ve expanded the range of medical and wellbeing services offered. Over the ten days that their Caring at Christmas 2018 project ran, they provided day support to an average of 84 people each day, bed spaces for an average of 47 people each night and served 3,902 meals.
How to get involved:
How can you help? Well if you’re local to Bristol you might want to donate your time or some items on their wish list. If you’re further away but still really impressed (understandably so) then you can donate some money. Remember as with all these charities, no donation is too small. If you donate £1 no one will think you’re a cheapskate, they’ll be grateful you did anything at all! https://caringinbristol.co.uk/donate/
Furrrocious 💙 Wild Diversity
Furrr (STEAKS Coach, Utrecht, Netherlands) isn’t involved in Wild Diversity herself but this Portland based initiative sparked her interest from afar! 📸 Wild Diversity
Wild Diversity creates safe and welcoming spaces in the great outdoors for people of colour and the LGBTQ community. It is a non-profit created and run by the wonderful Mercy. I (Furrr) met Mercy through Roller Derby, and follow her activities with this non-profit with great joy and admiration. She is an inspirational human. And I’m excited to watch her creating these spaces and experiences outdoors for these communities. I myself am involved in social work in my professional life. With my main focus being community development. Maybe that is one of the reasons why I like what Mercy has created so much.
Wild Diversity has different programs that focus on education, developing (outdoor) leadership, awareness, knowledge and outdoor skills. They focus on both youths as well as adults. And have a gear library to help eliminate barriers for POC and LGBTQ communities to access the outdoors. It’s a really important and wonderful initiative that I think the world should know about.
How to get involved:
You can head to their website wilddiversity.com and donate! If you are locally in the area of Portland: volunteer! Or join one of the programs. And of course, you can share the love! Follow Wild Diversity on social media and share their stories.
Maurine 💙 Project Semicolon & Stop Stigma
As a mental health professional Maurine (STEAKS Skater, Stockholm, Sweden) can see the positive results of projects like Stop Stigma in her day to day work.
I’ve chosen to highlight Project Semicolon. And more specifically Stop Stigma, an apparel company founded by Gotham jammer Miss Tea Maven with the mission to spread awareness of mental health through visual apparel using the symbolism of the semicolon. Project Semicolon is a global movement that started in 2013 as an anti-suicide initiative “dedicated to presenting hope and love for those who are struggling with mental illness, suicide, addiction and self-injury”. The semicolon is used by authors when they’ve could’ve ended a sentence, but chose not to. In this case, the author is the person and the sentence is their life.
The movement encouraged individuals to tattoo the semicolon as a way to show solidarity between those dealing with mental illness. Spreading awareness is crucial and life-saving, but it can also be incredibly draining and intrusive to always be open about mental health struggles. With the use of apparel as a vessel for the semicolon, Stop Stigma offers a less permanent way to join in this solidarity and conversation at times when your health allows you to do so.
As a mental health professional, I’m seeing the direct results of increased conversations every day. Working as a clinical psychologist I often meet people that struggle to find words to describe what’s wrong, don’t know the reason they’re not well, and have no idea what they need or want from me, but they’ve heard people had gotten help and have therefore taken the leap of faith to come to see me. They know they’re not alone because someone chose to share their struggles.
But managing your mental health requires self-care. And although openness and awareness are important, opening that door doesn’t just let in love, hope and solidarity. It also allows in questions by people that don’t understand, criticism from people that don’t want to understand, and emotional labour for others struggling with their own mental health. Stop Stigma allows the individual to raise awareness on their own terms.
Additionally, with the connection to Roller Derby, Stop Stigma normalizes the conversation of mental health in the sports and athletic context, which is about time.
How to get involved:
There are many ways to contribute to Project Semicolon, and Stop Stigma is one of them. Purchases and donations are one way to contribute, but the best way to support the cause is to share your story when you can and practise self-care when you need to, to be open and listen when someone shares, and be respectful when they’re choosing not to. (#projectsemicolon , #stopstigma , #keeptalking)
Huevo 💜 Derby Without Borders
Derby Without Borders founder Mae Dae at the DWB booth in NOLA during WFTDA Playoffs 2018. 📸 Derby Without Borders
This year we got to work with Derby Without Borders to help raise travel funds for some teams travelling to WFTDA Playoffs and Champs. Raising funds is only one of the many activities Derby Without Borders is involved in order to achieve their goal to break down barriers and make roller derby more accessible. Check out these blog posts to find out more about our collaboration and the mission.
- STEAKS teams up with Derby Without Borders: Win cool gear in our auction!
- A game without borders – join us for Derby Without Borders auction #2
Our Crew member Huevo (STEAKS Skater, Buenos Aires, Argentina) is also a huge fan of this organization:
I got in contact with the founder of this organization during the Roller Derby World Summit in Manchester 2017. It made me very happy to find somebody who can see the barriers and inequalities we, the people from Latam, Africa, Asia and minorities in the US, face when playing roller derby. This organization works as a channel to fundraise, collect gear, organize clinics in areas where the access to gear is very difficult as the funds to compete and train are limited. Derby Without Borders creates a space to collaborate with all kinds of leagues.
My involvement has been in the two ways, receiving the help and support through used gear donations, mediation to fundraise money (we can’t use our bank accounts for this), and also collaborating getting donations and transferring them to the leagues in Latam who need them. I hope more people can contribute.
How to get involved:
- DWB are currently looking for a wide range of specialists to help with their work:
- a volunteer fundraising specialist – either experience with grant writing or fundraising campaigns would be super helpful.
- a volunteer intern for Equipment Distribution Logistics Coordinator
- an artist or designer to help with some new merch designs. Artists will be paid a percentage from sales.
- They also have a few big things coming including their big event “Patinamos Latino America” in May. It’s a collaboration event with Queer Skate Alliance (Facebook/ Instagram) and BIPOC Who Skate (Facebook/ Instagram). May 18th-29th in Colombia and Costa Rica. We will be fundraising for this the first half of the year.
- Other ways people can support our work are by – setting up a monthly monetary donation through their website: derbywithoutborders.org
- Drop off used gear for DWB to redistribute: Skates (not just plates or boots), new/unused mouth guards, and new or unimpacted helmets are the most valuable equipment donations!
- Or liking and sharing their social media posts.
GGHardy 💚 My Green Trip
Recycling and cleaning up waste has become a large part of my volunteer life in the last 6 months, after starting a team to develop a program for my company’s offices to recycle and reduce waste. Switzerland introduced a landfilling ban in 2000 and now incinerates all waste for energy. Rivers and lakes need to be protected from waste reaching them, however, this issue is even worse globally with waste reaching oceans. My Green Trip is a clean-up volunteer team who focus on collecting waste as well as provide ideas for #zerowaste trips and information on what happens to different types of waste which may end up in oceans and land.
They organize clean-ups around the world, from South America to Europe and Indonesia. Getting involved is easy. You can sign up to their site and invest in their kit if you would like to support their cause. But most importantly you can pick up trash when you see it, anywhere you are. I follow them and have supported their work by cleaning up when I travel. This summer, for example, we cleaned up a beach in Croatia and met a really nice family while doing so. I also joined their clean-up in Switzerland this past November: https://mygreentrip.com/event/my-green-trip-clean-up-november-lausanne/.
How to get involved:
To support My Green Trip you can follow them on social media, donate to any of the listed partners or invest in their kit which supports their organization. If you are in Switzerland, you can go to their next event, or share and tell your friends about their future clean-ups.
You can also support the cause from afar, simply by organizing a clean-up in your neighbourhood or parks, trails, beaches where you visit! Together, we can make a difference and educate future generations. Did you know it can take up to 450 years for a plastic bag to decompose?
I will shamelessly also mention a non-profit initiative from my work dedicated to making scientific research freely and readily available to children so that they are aware of today’s challenges: Frontiers for Young Minds.
Find out more on their website mygreentrip.com.
STEAKS 🖤 Bout Book
A team we have also had the pleasure to chat with this year have been Marie and Karolina, who are the creators of Bout Book. A not-for-profit book that was put out there to support the roller derby teams CaiRollers and Roller Derby Beirut. We got to interview them to find out how this project started and why it might just be the perfect gift for the roller derby enthusiast in your life.
But first, let’s find out more about the two creators:
A big hello from me Marie the compiler of roller derby bout art who is an ex London Rollergirl (Steam Roller and batter-C-Power). I’ve swapped eight wheels for two now and spend a lot of time in canyons or deserts on my motorbike but still follow roller derby. Karolina is Bout’s Book’s designer and plays for London Rollergirls and their B Team Brawl Saints. Previously a skater for Vienna Roller Derby you may also have seen Karolina jamming at the World Cup with Team Czech.
Last chance to grab this history of roller derby bout art! It’s in it’s final print run! Buy Bout Book via their facebook page WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/BOUTBOOK.
Can you tell us more about your project Bout Book?
Bout Book is a poster art book that’s also jam-packed full of interviews and articles from derby players. Divided into four chapters (first bout, intraleague, interleague, and tournament) it features the transitions and milestones of the sport, letting you see who is lacing up, when, and where and shows the resurrection, growth, ingenuity and fierceness of this ever-changing sport through its artwork. If you love roller derby let its aesthetics give you a real taste of roller derby history.
How did you decide on where the proceeds go to and why?
Bout Book was always going to be a not for profit book but it was Melissa Waggoner (Mick Swagger) Team Indigenous who really galvanised us into looking at how this book can contribute more directly and effectively to the sport we love. There are racial imbalances and economic barriers in roller derby and we really want to play an active part in addressing this where we can. Profits from the book will be split between CaiRollers and Roller Derby Beirut to ensure that these leagues can continue to focus on being fierce and athletic, whilst alleviating geographical barriers that further escalate the cost to play (skates, protective gear, membership fees, insurance, coaching) that can and does stop people accessing the sport.
Why is Bout Book the perfect gift for roller derby enthusiasts?
Not only is this a book created by roller derby skaters for all those who love the sport, but this is also our final print run in bounds and ready to be wrapped up for Xmas. So if you or someone you know is interested in seeing the games breakaway moments, as well as reading interviews from Team Indigenous, CaiRollers, Roller Derby Beiruit, Bette Noir (founder of London Rollergirls), VRDL Allstars, Electra Blu and supporting leagues to continue being fierce and athletic then this is the gift to get.
Where can people get it?
To buy Bout Book you can go to our facebook page www.facebook.com/BoutBook. We’re based in the UK but can ship worldwide and offer league packages too. We will always look for the cheapest ways to ship so get in touch.