Last February (about a decade ago, seems like) was our final While Rome Burns benefit. We raised money for the awesome organization Rahab’s Sisters. It was a fun night, and as with most of our benefit shows, I went home feeling that maybe we’d done a little bit of good. I didn’t know at the time that it would be our last benefit show. In fact, the promo for our planned March show is still up on our website. That show would never take place.
Today is Thanksgiving, and my thoughts turn to While Rome Burns. To all we achieved, to the good things we accomplished, to the mistakes we made. But mostly I think about the people: our incredible staff and supporters, and the amazing people I had the privilege to meet and work with as part of While Rome Burns mission.
There are too many to mention here. Just taking a glance through our website pages reminds me of so many extraordinary folks I’ve gotten to know through WRB: folks selflessly, tirelessly focused on making life better for their brothers and sisters in this world – a world with some very sharp edges these days. I am thankful for each and every one of these folks, and for all of you who have helped support them. They, and you, have helped me to learn how to navigate some of life’s greatest challenges using love as the guiding principle.
This Thanksgiving, if the spirit moves you, I humbly suggest taking a look through our list of beneficiaries over the years. Any of them are worthy of your continued support in this season of giving, and throughout the year. If you don’t know where to start, I might humbly suggest checking out Red Lodge Transition Services.
It had become a WRB tradition to honor Red Lodge every Thanksgiving, and these shows were always some of our favorite – and biggest – events. We fell in love with Red Lodge – the staff, the artists and musicians who supported them, and the beautiful community of folks who would come out every year to show their love and support.
This year will be the first Thanksgiving that WRB will not be doing a benefit for Red Lodge, sadly. Red Lodge has faced challenges throughout its existence, but this year has been particularly difficult for them, with the Oregon wildfires adding to their other ongoing burdens. So if you have a couple of Thanksgiving dollars you haven’t allocated, please consider sending them along to Red Lodge. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Red Lodge Transition Services is a Native American led organization that provides culturally focused programs for women releasing from jail, prison or treatment.
Red Lodge serves approximately 1,200 people per year in 11 Oregon State prisons and one jail with cultural programming and Native American Religious Services. Our programs aid in prevention, responsibility, respect and empowerment of individuals, families and communities. Approximately 80% of our re-entry clients are women and 20% are men. Red Lodge’s work in the prisons often helps Native Americans reconnect to Native spirituality and culture. We are a community-driven organization with almost 100 volunteers throughout the state of Oregon. Our volunteers are the heartbeat of Red Lodge.