From now until next Wednesday, May 2, half of all sales in my shop and all commissions that are paid for before then, will be donated to End The Backlog.
That’s the important thing I wanted to tell you right off the bat. If you’re curious about what End The Backlog is or why I was moved to this particular action, I can’t wait to tell you all about it. It feels like every passion that I have all intersects in this beautiful, powerful way.
Hold on though because it’s going to feel like a random ride but it all comes together in the end. (Content warning: discussion of rape and murder though not in detail at all).
From 1979-1986, California was terrorized by a serial killer, serial rapist, and serial burglar known as The Golden State Killer–a nickname coined by crime writer Michelle McNamara. Michelle McNamara dedicated years of her life to this seemingly unsolvable mystery and when she died suddenly, just a little over two years ago, fans of hers who admired her work and dedication feared that this story might never find a conclusion. Until yesterday, there had been no serious leads, no arrests, no ideas.
At the end of February, with the help of her husband, comedian Patton Oswalt, and others, her masterpiece I’ll Be Gone in the Dark was posthumously published and quickly became a New York Times Bestseller.
My favorite podcast is a show called My Favorite Murder. It’s a comedy podcast that discusses true crime in a funny and approachable way. I know, when I explain it to people who have never heard of it they’re usually horrified that we include “comedy” and “murder” in the same sentence. I get it, I really do. But a comedic element has a way of making important or scary or important/ scary thing go down so much easier. And this podcast has spurred on an incredible and fierce online community known as the Murderinos. Murderinos get one another and we teach one another and correct one another in beautiful, open ways. Being a Murderino has made me more socially conscious and aware of another level of humanity that we’re all walking around with but rarely get to see.
Not only do The Murderinos all just get one another on a level that others who aren’t obsessed with true crime just don’t understand, but we’re out here doing awesome work! For example, I belong to a collection of other artists and we’re called the Murderino Makers. A lot of the art features quotes from the show but not all of it. Mine doesn’t, for example (at least not yet). Each month, there’s a dedicated week called Giving Week where we donate 15% of all sales from our respective shops to the same charity. I love being a part of this group.
Through being a Murderino, not only had I learned the story of the Golden State Killer and Michelle McNamara, but I’ve learned about this incredible organization that I mentioned called End The Backlog. From their website:
END THE BACKLOG is a program of the Joyful Heart Foundation, a national non-profit organization founded by actress and activist Mariska Hargitay with the mission to transform society’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, support survivors’ healing, and end this violence forever.
Yeah, the Mariska Hargitay. End The Backlog, simply put, helps to fund the testing of hundreds of thousands of rape kits that for one reason or another, have been shelved and never tested. Each test sitting there in a storage closet somewhere representing a person who suffered a devastating crime at the hands of another and has not felt even a taste of justice. When a rape victim submits to a rape kit, we would expect that it would be tested and the criminal brought to justice. There are so many different reasons, though, that explain why that doesn’t always happen. One reason is a lack of resources–this is where we come in. DNA tells so many stories. Testing the DNA in these rape kits will help bring the first steps towards justice for people who have been forgotten about.
Ahhhhh sweet, sweet DNA.
Without DNA research, the Golden State Killer would still be walking among his terrorized neighborhood in Sacramento, California (yeah, he bought a home in the middle of one of the communities that he’d ravaged). Because of DNA, this man is behind bars and all of his victims, their families, the community at large, can breathe a small sigh of relief knowing that they’re a little more safe.
And I have these big, huge feelings. I want to wrap everyone up and rock them and say, “I’m so sorry the worst thing happened to you. I’m so sorry it took so long.” But I can’t do that. I can’t DO anything even though that’s all I want. I have all this nervous energy that doesn’t know where to go.
So I’m doing all I know to do. I want to give a big ass donation to End The Backlog. I want a few more victims to get to feel that sweet relief knowing that their case hasn’t been forgotten about. Just, as a love letter to DNA research.
So, from now until next Wednesday, May 2, half of all sales in my shop and all commissions that are paid for before then, will be donated to End The Backlog.
If you can’t make a donation, that’s okay. I’d love it if you’d help spread the word. If you don’t want any art but still want to make a donation, go for it!
Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do all I can to find answers.