Peace, all! I truly cannot believe it has been so very long since I have made a blog post! Will it vindicate me to explain why?? No? Shucks! Well, I will tell you anyway because I have been very busy cementing my son's legacy through Beyond Clouds.
Firstly, the clothing drive went very well. However, we did expand it to the community at large, not just refugees. A few friends came out to help in setting up and organizing everything, and even donated nice clothing and footwear to be distributed. A hardy and sincere thank you to Najmah, Rose, and Omar for showing up and representing for your friend and brother, Muriyd. Also, thank you to Imam Ali Jaaber for allowing us to set up outside Masjid Darul Islam to serve the people.
We have also done other cool and wonderful things such as apple picking from a local orchard and offering the produce for free at the clothes drive; organizing a community Family Day event where children and their adults picked pumpkins; and organizing a book drive for Native American children where more than forty books were gifted to Ramapough youth. (Thank you Malika, Ami, and Sarah, for your donations!) In November we participated in the American Indian College Fund's 35 Mile Walk and Learn Challenge, earning over $400 for Native American students. (Thank you again, Rose.) Also in November, I met with a homeschool group to teach learners about local Lenape history and the story of M'siingw, and had two fundraisers: a 5K bike ride through Manhattan led by Elliot Davis, and a nature walk through South Mountain Reservation led by me. A book club, journal club, and Clubhouse conversation groups went on for a few months, but since only a few people participated regularly I decided to extend my energy elsewhere and return to those endeavors at another time when it is more feasible.
As a means to bring awareness to my son's murder as well as his life's work, I have been working tirelessly making videos and uploading them to the Beyond Clouds TikTok, YouTube channel, and Facebook page. I did a Zoom informational session geared toward the Muslim community who seemed to not know what was going on, and a podcast interview with TurtleGangNYC which can also be found on YouTube (thank you again Norris for all you do to champion your friend!)
One of the most exciting things I have been working on is 'Stand with Two Clouds Week'. It will be the last week of every May (this year May 28-June 3) and focus on humanitarian efforts and building alliances within the community. During the last two weeks leading up to SWTC Week, I will meet with youth in classrooms, homeschool groups, and libraries to teach who Muriyd 'Two Clouds' Williams was, and brainstorm with students about how they can start doing things that he did (and more!) in ways that are practical to their lives, situations, and abilities.
Lastly, a sister organization was started under the Beyond Clouds umbrella. Women Are Medicine Health Initiative focuses on the needs of cis-gendered girls and women. Lectures, pamper days and more are in the works so stay tuned!
That seems like a lot now that it is written out! Regardless of how much work is being done it could not truly be successful without our supporters! Thank you to everyone who shares the videos, uses the hashtag 'justice4twoclouds', and joins us for events. There are far too many of you to mention individually, but you are appreciated, and I am humbled. Getting the word out absolutely cannot happen without your aid, and most importantly, action.