Ask without shame #OpenJustice

A couple of months ago my big bruv was visiting my Mum (we live next door to each other) and he popped in, sort of uninvited one evening, in the way your big bro never needs an invite. This was cool, until he sat on the sofa like the ghost of my father, and launched into a conversation that was totally unexpected to me (in that moment). He wanted to know what the business model was for all this campaigning stuff I keep doing, and pointed out that however necessary it was it wasn’t going to pay my mortgage. In the moment I was quite chilled, and then in the days that followed I started seething about it, my anger was originally misdirected at him (lots of ‘who the hell does he think he is, coming in and being all Dad at me’ and ‘who asked for his opinion anyway?’) and then just fizzled into annoyance at what society values.

Truth is of course the reason I was most miffed was because my big bro had a point. In sharing on twitter this convo I shared what my come back to him had been in the moment:

Thing is it’s true. I have never felt that how I spend my time is more valuable. When I think of the families I’ve met, the injustices I’ve born witness to, the tweets I’ve sent, this is what matters to me. I get that it might not make sense to some, or even to most people, but it makes sense to me. I think it’s important work.

A week or so ago I asked whether people would consider making a monthly donation to support my Open Justice work. I have since had it pointed out to me that I should be talking about payments, not donations, because this is work not charity. It is. I’ve also heard loud and clear that for some people funding my open justice work on an ongoing basis presents an opportunity to maintain a connection to this work.

So far I’ve received 16 one off donations and 24 people have committed to a monthly payment. I feel quite challenged in asking people for money. It’s a complete catch 22 though, I could be applying for jobs to earn an income doing something that is less important to me, or I have to swallow my pride/fear and ask the crowd to fund work I’ve already been doing, that I genuinely believe needs doing and I don’t see anyone else doing.

Any money raised will pay me for my time doing open justice campaigning. The everyday things this includes is providing support and advice to bereaved families and blogging and sharing information publicly, both to encourage and support others to do similar work, but also to produce accessible and useful summaries of what has happened in court. Depending on the amount raised it would also enable me to speak at events about the work I’ve been doing and attend more inquests, tribunals and pre-inquest review meetings to live tweet proceedings.

Today I watched Amanda Palmer’s TED talk on The Art of Asking. If you’ve not seen it then I’d definitely recommend it, and her book is awesome too:

I really needed to watch Amanda today. I’ve watched this talk so many times, I love it and I love her. Everything about her approach, her reciprocity and trust makes sense to me. Amanda talks about the issues of trust and risk and how when working as a living statue people would drive by and holler at her out their car windows ‘get a job’. I know that wasn’t what my bro was saying exactly, but it was fairly layered in his uninvited pep talk.

There’s a line at the end of Amanda’s talk where she says that we should:

Give and receive fearlessly and ask without shame.

So this is me asking once more. If you would like to support my #OpenJustice work live tweeting inquests then please drop me a line, leave me a comment here or DM me on twitter with an email address and I’ll send you a link with more information about how to make a monthly payment. Anything over £1 a month is truly very welcome. If you’d like to make a one off donation then I’ve set up a page here.

Thank you once again to everyone who has supported this work. The next inquest I’ll attend is Danny Tozer’s which takes place in York starting next week. Danny loved nature, people and cups of tea. He was just 36 when he died. You can follow what happens in court @TozerInquest, for now I’ve got to get back to my crochet hook for some more tea cups to hang around York next week.


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