Dear Readers,

The first time I heard the word snowflake used as an insult, I envisioned an army of snow covered people shoveling neighbors sidewalks and digging out cars. I thought of science and how a snowflake is a powerful force that gains strength from its connection to millions of other flakes, never being destroyed but simply changing form until being reborn in the atmosphere. And I thought of the times when snow shuts it down, be it a two hour school delay or a fierce squall literally stopping anything that moves.

Snowflakes, like social justice warriors, get a bad rap in this odd little slur and I’ve decided to do something about it.

We have a new project, leaning into the snowflake imagery to create a united force of support for our blogging projects. If you believe in LGBTQ liberation, feminism, racial justice, disability justice, protecting homeless animals, strong safety nets, healthcare access, and … the science of climate change … this might be an opportunity for you.

The concept is pretty simple. Donors invest their preferred amount and decide if they want to use their name and/or a short message. After approval by our team, the snowflakes will fill up the page. You can hover over any particular snowflake to read the name/message. Larger donations will generate larger snowflakes. Multiple donations will generate multiple snowflakes. Monthly sustaining donors will receive a monthly snowflake.

These funds will support our blog projects directly. We have monthly expenses and some upcoming changes to our webhosting due to the realities of 15 years of data. We have software, web guru fees, sponsorships, equipment, mileage, graphic design expenses, and more. We have #AMPLIFY and other projects in progress. We have a new artist-in-residence project to announce soon. And our current system of advertising + monthly donations + paying everything else out of my pocket is not sufficient to sustain the growth we need.

I’ve been toying with the idea of Steel City Snowflakes for years, originally as a tee shirt. It was over a meal of Indian food at Salem Halal Market & Grill with F. Dok Harris that the idea morphed from tee shirts to an animated website feature. Then my web guru, Anna, put her head together with Vannevar Bush to discuss the technical specifics. We thought it was too complicated for us, but my Facebook friend Timothy read my status about the concept and referred me to the group Code4Good. I sat for several hours at Arnold’s Tea on the Northside discussing the idea and they had a template in my inbox before I drove the 1.5 miles to my home. We had lots of further discussion and they went to work on the various components over their holidays.

And here we are – ready to roll out this idea.

So the next step is up to you. Do you want to invest in snowflakes? Honor a loved one or comrade? Send a message to the world about your resiliency and resistance?

I’ve been assured that it will be very difficult to generate so many donations that it shuts down the site, but wouldn’t that be a good problem to have? We deliberately chose to let the snowflakes accumulate on the page. Vannevar wanted to add a snowplow scraping away the bottom layers, but that will have to wait for version 2.0.

You can donate via the Paypal button on the snowflake page or by becoming a Patreon donor. You can use Venmo (@Pghlesbian) or @CashApp (@Pghlesbian) If you’d like to send a check or make a cash donation, please contact me directly via email or go ahead and send it with a note.

Messages must be approved. Nothing defamatory, hurtful, or mean-spirited will be approved. Curse words are fine, personal attacks are not. Sure you can list your business as long as it’s LGBTQ affirming.

This is an investment in our shared work. If you have feedback or suggestions, please feel free to contact me at any time.

And keep an eye out for our tee shirt …