Over 5 million women marched on January 21st worldwide. One of the things that I found most inspiring about the Women’s March was how many people became actively politically engaged for perhaps the first time. It would have been far more helpful to have white women this engaged before the election, but better late than never? (Kind of?) I felt super guilty that I wasn’t around to attend that march, but luckily I was able to attend the anti-Trump Downing Street protest this week. (Thanks for that boost in morale, London!)
But now it’s important to stay engaged. I’ve read theories that this administration is doing so much, so soon so that the opposition does get activism burnout. It’s physically impossible to care about all things all the time, so make sure to take some time to relax and practice self-care whilst proving them wrong. Continue to protest through the next 4 years and beyond, if needs be.
It’s so important to speak up now. “Silence is compliance” is a catchy chant slogan but it’s also true. I’d encourage bloggers to post about their stances on the issues regardless of how on-brand or not it is.
Several of these steps are aimed specifically at Americans, but many are applicable to the global community.
What Can I Do To Make My Opinions Heard Now?
1. Write to your senators and representatives. Get on the phone and call them. These things take about 5 minutes and you never know the impact. The Women’s March site even has some cards that you can print off and fill in for easy use. Sign up to their list of 10 action steps in 100 days and follow it.
3. Educate yourself. Stay up to date with the news. Read things from a position that you might not be comfortable with. Read things from multiple news sources.
4. Confront various aspects of your privilege constantly. See how your priviledge is affecting your reactions and responses.
5. Locate your nearest swing state and research how you can help there. Maybe you can help canvas for votes? There’s two years till the midterm elections and there’s so much to do before then.
6. Signing petitions takes almost zero time. Sign them. Even if you’re cynical about petitions, sign them anyway.
7. If you marched with women on January 21st, amazing! Now turn up to other protests and marches. Sign up to your local Black Lives Matter chapter. You can find some protests by state and Protest With Me.
8. If you’re not American, you can still contact your own national representatives and hold them accountable for their responses to what is occurring at the moment. Case in point: the movement calling out Prime Minister Theresa May as a Trump collaborator and enabler. I saw this thread on twitter with some helpful points when a 21-year-old, female Brit asked what she could do to help.
9. Vote with your wallet. It’s simple to do though it can be a sacrifice. If you find a company that you tend to spend money at is supporting things that you cannot, boycott them. #deleteUber is a great example of this. But make sure you let the app, organisation, company know WHY in particular you are going to stop using their services.
10. Donate your time and money. I have found myself feeling hugely guilty for not being able to physically stand with causes and protests alongside my fellow Americans since I live abroad. I don’t have much expendable income, but I’ve been trying to donate to causes that are important. I can only give a small amount at a time, but every penny counts. (Try to make donations bigger than $5 if you can because otherwise it gets eaten by processing fees.)
Here are some organisations that are a great starting place:
Planned Parenthood’s Mission Statement: to provide comprehensive reproductive and complementary health care services in settings which preserve and protect the essential privacy and rights of each individual; to advocate public policies which guarantee these rights and ensure access to such services to provide educational programs which enhance understanding of individual and societal implications of human sexuality; to promote research and the advancement of technology in reproductive health care and encourage understanding of their inherent bioethical, behavioral, and social implications.
The American Civil Liberties Union was doing some amazing work over the weekend trying to fight Trump’s travel ban. But they work hard year round. The ACLU is there to help protect the rights and liberties of people across the country. They protect free speech and the right to protest, defend reproductive freedom, fight anti-LGBT discrimination, and advocate for expanded privacy protections amongst other causes.
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is America’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE, online.rainn.org y rainn.org/es) in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. RAINN carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims, and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.
Stand with Standing Rock
Take action against the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has been actively opposing the permitting and construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline since learning about the proposal in 2014. The Tribe has voiced its strong opposition but the Tribe’s pleas were ignored. The Tribe specifically met with numerous federal agencies to discuss the harm imposed by the pipeline, including: the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. All three agencies subsequently wrote letters to the Army Corps expressing environmental and cultural resource concerns related to the pipeline. (Search #noDAPL for more info)
The ADL was founded in 1913 “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all. The ADL has been particular vocal about opposing Bannon.
CAIRs mission statement is to: enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding. It’s America’s largest Muslim civil liberties organization, and is working hard at the moment to support everyone’s constitutional rights.
Border Angels focuses on migrant rights, humane immigration reform, and the prevention of immigrant deaths along the border. They aim to reduce the number of fatalities along the US-Mexico border with specific aims like increasing water stations in the desert. They point out (apparently not necessarily in a “Build a Wall” climate that the border is already militarised.
Their tagline is “We exist because the Earth needs a good lawyer.” They are an environmental law group whose past clients have included the Sierra Club and the American Lung Association. They have helped clean up the air we breathe, banned some of the most dangerous chemicals from our food and homes, saved hundreds of threatened species, preserved centuries-old forests from logging.
Their vision statement is: “Reproductive freedom lies at the heart of the promise of human dignity, self-determination and equality embodied in both the U.S. Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Center works toward the time when that promise is enshrined in law in the United States and throughout the world. We envision a world where every woman is free to decide whether and when to have children; where every woman has access to the best reproductive healthcare available; where every woman can exercise her choices without coercion or discrimination. More simply put, we envision a world where every woman participates with full dignity as an equal member of society.”
The NAACP works to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. They’ve been particularly vocal in opposing the nomination of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General.
She Should Run is a non-profit trying to create a culture where women and girls aspire towards public leadership and want to expand the pool of female leaders. They have the awesome “Ask a Woman to Run” function that lets you nominate an inspiring female in your life as a potential leader. Hopefully some of these nominations will inspire more women to run for office.
Southern Poverty Law Center
The SPLC monitors the activities of domestic hate groups and other extremists – including the KKK, the neo-Nazi movement, neo-Confederates, racist skinheads, black separatists, antigovernment militias, Christian Identity adherents and others. They having a teaching tolerance program to proved free-of-charge resources to teachers, and seek justice against discrimination and hate. The staff of lawyers and advocates, focuses on impact litigation in these practice areas: children’s rights, economic justice, immigrant justice, LGBT rights, and criminal justice reform .
The HRC advocates for LGBTQ equality. It holds a special place in my heart as it was the first non-profit I ever donated to, and my highschool car still proudly displays my HRC bumper sticker. They work hard to ensure basic rights and educate the public about LGBTQ issues.
No matter what, I think it’s important to never normalise or go numb to what is happening at the moment.
If I left anything off this list, let me know and I’ll edit it to add your suggestion on!