The Betrayal of the Red Cross and Other Medical Charities at Mar-a-Lago

By: Megan Hussey and Margaret Bates

The Red Cross once was a noble institution that helped serve others. Founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1863 by Gustav Moynier and Henry Dunant. Its original mission was to help provide non-partisan aid for individuals caught up in both natural disasters and the horrors of war. Since its inception, it has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize thrice. However, it’s an organization that has in the last decade or so fallen into corruption. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that they are planning to host their annual ball and fundraiser at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, aka “The Winter White House,” but the decision stings nevertheless. It seems beyond hypocritical to claim to help refugees when spending money to rent property from the very man banning the entry of Syrian refugees into the United States as well as ruining countless lives with his Muslim ban.

To be fair, Red Cross has been in decline for at least a decade. They raised nearly half a billion dollars for Haiti after its devastation during a 2010 earthquake, but only built six houses total on the island. Similarly, they misspent funds raised during Super Storm Sandy. Moreover, NPR has noted in the past that The Red Cross misrepresents where donor money goes. It’s claimed to spend 91% of donations given directly on aid efforts, but NPR has estimated that the actual amount returned is around 70%. Even before this questionable support of President Trump’s properties via their fundraiser, The Red Cross was betraying the trust of its donors.

However, this seems to take the poor choices when spending its donations to new levels. Not only is President Trump exacerbating refugee and human misery with his Muslim ban, but he also has a history of abusing women, something The Red Cross has claimed to be against in the past, albeit their actions (and money) seem to speak more loudly than their words. As a service organization, the American Red Cross often has served as a contact point for survivors of rape and domestic violence; connecting them with agencies and services that will offer them hope, security, and a plan of survival in a time of personal tragedy.

By aligning themselves with a man who — since the 1970s — has faced numerous allegations of sexual harassment, assault and domestic violence, the Red Cross dishonors those survivors who see them as a safe haven and a port in the storm. The agency also dishonors those contributors and volunteers who wished to strengthen and support their role in providing vital support services for women.

What will they say to the next woman who comes to them in a state of devastation because she’s been touched or grabbed inappropriately? Will they be so ready to reveal that they shook hands with someone who bragged about grabbing women’s private parts?

In addition, the Trump administration has announced the intention to cut the Department of Justice’s Violence Against Women grants; thus threatening the very lifeline resources that these women so desperately need.

Although known for its good works, the Red Cross must at all times reinforce and reinforce its reputation as a representative of the common person and those in need; people not currently being served or aided by the actions of the Trump administration.

One would think that once this information leaked that The Red Cross would reconsider rescheduling and moving its gala, especially since it currently could be considered an affront to both domestic abuse survivors and to refugees worldwide. However, they have double-downed on their resolve to continue with their fundraiser this Saturday (February 4th) at Mar-a-Lago:

It’s a shame that they’re going through with this, but there are steps activists can take. Currently, there is a protest and demonstration being organized on February 4th outside of the ball and Mar-a-Lago, although the demonstration might be altered to a different type of march to allow for planned protest numbers and crowd size.

If you don’t live in the Palm Beach area, then there are some things you can do right now to make your voices heard:

  1. First, money talks. If you were thinking of donating to The Red Cross, please reconsider. There are alternate organizations that have come out against the refugee ban and do seek to help refugees and the Muslim community. For example, consider donating to the ACLU, CAIR, The Southern Poverty Law Center, and UNICEF. Similarly, don’t donate to The Red Cross in order to help domestic abuse survivors. Instead, work on donating directly to local shelters in your area.
  2. Similarly, instead of donating blood via The Red Cross, please also consider direct donations to your local hospitals.
  3. Finally, contact them to let them know that you don’t support their choices and won’t be donating again to them. Their twitter handle for the American Red Cross is “@redcross” and below is their national hotline:

1 (800) 733–2767

Finally, it is with a heavy heart and huge disappointment that we report that The Red Cross will not be the only medical charity hosting a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago in the coming months. There will be three other huge galas this month, which include The American Cancer Society on February 10th, The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute on February 15th, and Cleveland Clinic on February 25th. Note that irony is certainly lost on both The Red Cross and Cleveland Clinic as they literally have Versailles themes in their balls. I would again make a Marie Antoinette joke about how they’re eating cake while refugees, women struggling with domestic abuse issues, and people who may have Obamacare repealed on them are suffering, but even Marie Antoinette never actually said that. I would also like to point out that among these four institutions, Cleveland Clinic exhibits the most hypocrisy as one of their own doctors, Dr. Suha Abushamma, was exiled from the U.S. under the current Muslim ban.

However, if you want to contact these organizations too to express your frustration with them and your desire to no longer donate to their causes either, then here is how to contact them as well:

  1. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute — “@DanaFarber” on twitter and

617–632–3000

2. The American Cancer Society — “@AmericanCancer” on twitter and

800.227.2345

3. Cleveland Clinic — “@ClevelandClinic” on twitter and

800.223.2273

So please, politely let them all know of your disapproval and the fact that you’ll be taking your donations elsewhere, and, of course #RESIST!


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