My e-friend Amber, the editor of the Rainier Valley Post, has asked me to help publicize her efforts to collect money and other needed items for the children of Noemi Lopez, who was murdered in her home by her ex-husband a week and a half ago.
She's collected over $3,500 so far, which is fantastic, but doesn't cover the needs of the three kids, whose hard-working mother is gone and whose father is hiding out in Mexico.
You can make a donation through a PayPal link at the top right corner of her blog.
I should have posted this when she first asked me to, or even before she even asked me. I bug her all the time about things I want her to cover, or local problems I want her advice on, and she always does her best to help.
She's been running the whole show in terms of response to the murder, from protesting local newspaper coverage to organizing a community vigil to collecting funds for the children to providing news updates beyond what the police are saying. (Meanwhile, she's also trying to keep up with the endlessly changing news on the school closures and doing on some investigative work on the New Holly/Brighton shooting incident Saturday night.)
Though I wasn't impressed by her blog at first -- I thought she was basically just rewriting stories from the daily newspapers and, worse yet, press releases from the mayor's office. (And I'm still not fully on board with her "Bus Bitch" writer, or with the "hip twenty-something" who writes the "Myra, Myra on the Wall" column.)
However, nowadays, Amber's own posts represent some of the best news reporting in the city. It's advocacy journalism, of course, but, Christ, if any neighborhood ever needed an advocate, it's the Rainier Valley in 2008. More and more, her work shows that she's both a tireless investigator as well as a passionate crusader for a neighborhood that's been ignored by the city for, well, forever.
Anyway, I'm personally uneasy about making monetary donations while I'm on my extended unpaid leave from work, but I'm making a contribution to Noemi's kids, who have been through more than I could even imagine and could really use the help right now. I'm doing it for them, but I'm also doing it for Amber, who always does so much for the rest of us.