My reaction to Melania's jacket went viral. It shows just how many people really do care.
I spent $13.98 to buy the domain name IReallyDoCare.com.
It was a spur-of-the-moment decision in response to first lady Melania Trump's decision to wear a jacket with the message "I Really Don't Care. Do U?" printed across the back on her way to visit immigrant children detained at the border. Using that moment to buy a domain name doesn't seem like the most obvious of paths, but the end result of that choice has been incredible.
Melania Trump wearing a jacket that says "I Really Don't Care. Do U?" Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.
Like millions of Americans, I've been pretty torn up over some of the images coming out of the immigration detention facilities.
Children are screaming, having been ripped from their families. The audio published by ProPublica made me sick to my stomach. I wanted to do something, but what?
"What can I do?" is always one of the first questions I ask when some humanitarian tragedy strikes or is inflicted upon others. Whether it's children being detained at the border, people in Puerto Rico struggling without power, or the citizens of Flint waiting on clean drinking water — I want to help, but often don't immediately know how to do it.
I think a lot of people are like that. Trying to figure out how to make a positive impact can be tricky, having to go through and vet a number of sites before actually taking action. Trying to cut down on that extra work is, in my opinion, one of the most important things activists and people with large platforms can do, and I'm not alone in that thinking.
Last week, while doing that same research to figure out where to send my money, I came across an ActBlue page started by Amanda Litman, who co-founded the organization Run for Something. The page offered a simple way to donate to 14 groups doing work helping families that have been separated. It was great, and I shared it to my Twitter page a number of times.
On June 21, just hours before the first lady's jacket became a hot topic, Litman tweeted a request to her followers.
"Don't let the news mess with your head — the folks working on the border still need your help," she wrote. "Fundraising has slowed down a bit, but I'd like to hit $3 million raised by end of day tomorrow. We're at $2.65m right now. Will you chip in?"
Then came the photos of the now-infamous jacket and my decision to buy the IReallyDoCare.com domain name. Having just seen Litman's call for donations through her page, I directed my domain to simply work as a redirect to her existing site. I tweeted out a hastily made image containing the link in hopes that it'd drive a few thousand additional dollars in donations to the cause. What I got, instead, was an incredibly viral tweet.
Within hours, tens of thousands of people had retweeted my post, and money poured into Litman's fundraiser. As of this writing, the total is up to $2.88 million, meaning that somewhere around $230,000 came in after my post went viral.
My initial reaction to the message on Melania's jacket was to retreat into a shell of cynicism and apathy.
It was the end of the workday, and I was idly messing around with Photoshop, creating jokey variations of the jacket. I made one that read "Let Them Eat Cake," another that said "Michelle Obama's Speech," and of course, "Be Best." There was something sort of cathartic in making those, if only to give myself a little laugh at the end of another bizarre, surreal day in Trump's America. I wasn't outraged or even upset by her jacket. I just found myself feeling apathetic. That's when I bought the domain name.
Here's a GIF I made morphing the original Zara jacket into an "I Really Do Care" jacket. GIF by Parker Molloy, image by Zara.
Not caring is one of the worst things that can happen to us. Apathy allows us to ignore the world's problems instead of using our combined forces to fix them.
I didn't want to feel apathetic; I didn't want to become the human embodiment of that jacket. That's why I made a simple, declarative statement: I really do care, and I'm sure others do as well.
Throwing a few dollars toward buying a short, easy to remember, and topical domain name was a way to show I care (in addition to making donations through the page itself). The website was a quick way for others and myself to channel the creeping feelings of cynicism and apathy into positive action, and it seems to have worked.
"I Really Do Care" works as not only a slogan but as a promise to ourselves and to others.
It's a direct rebuke of the most dangerous thing any of us will face during the Trump administration: apathy. We need to embrace empathy, to care about something beyond ourselves. Vulnerable populations — such as undocumented immigrants, but also people of color, women, LGBTQ people, and more — are going to rely heavily on the rest of us to help weather this storm.
"I really do care" is a way to let them know that we're all in this together and that we'll have each other's backs as we weather this storm.
Want to wear your values? PSA Supply Co., a commerce site launched by our parent company, GOOD Worldwide Inc., has followed Parker's lead by turning her re-design of Melania Trump's jacket into an "I Really Do Care" T-shirt that you can purchase. 100% of the profit will go directly toward United We Dream, the largest youth-led immigrant network in the United States.