Stunned. Fearful. Angry. Confused.
The 2016 election has left many of us feeling a miserable mix of emotions. Some of us are wondering if we’ve lost the hard-won gains of the last several years — the ability to be safe in our communities, to find and keep good jobs, to be respected as human beings with fundamental rights.
Well, we can’t change the outcome of the election, but here’s what we can do. We must channel all the emotions we’re feeling into a force for positive change. Let’s come together and support each other. And let’s start thinking about what it will take to preserve all we’ve achieved and stay on the path to progress. We simply can’t allow the aftermath of this election to paralyze our advancement of human rights.
Preparation for the next four years begins today. Here are three suggestions we can easily set in motion starting now.
Find an organization or a cause that inspires you, whether it’s Planned Parenthood, an environmental agency, or an immigrant rights or LGBTQ+ organization. It’s “all hands on deck” time for progressive groups in the months and years ahead. It’s easy to complain, but being solely a keyboard activist will no longer suffice. We all need to get out there and help make a difference. Use your unique skillset to help these organizations succeed. Whether you are a photographer, a lawyer, a teacher, a website designer, an accountant, or a writer, there’s an important part for you in this urgent work. Challenge the traditional model of volunteering and create new ways to help the people that are most desperately in need. And if the process of signing up to help is unorganized or non-existent, don’t give up. Offer to coordinate or create your own volunteer team.
We all have different ways of giving. For some of us, it’s time; for others it’s money. Help support an organization that is working on the issues you care most about. Give them resources they urgently need to thwart new attacks on people’s rights and to be an unstoppable force for change. Ask your friends, family and coworkers to join you in helping these organizations stay strong and effective.
It is no surprise that this new administration and its allies are going to say and do things that threaten the rights and opportunities we have worked so hard to achieve. When the time comes to speak out, we will need to act fast. Whether it’s a spur-of-the moment protest, a million-person march, a sit-in or a social media campaign, people will need to mobilize in a short amount of time. Let’s sustain and grow our networks and relationships. And let’s turn our shared fears and frustrations — and our common hopes and dreams for a safer, more inclusive society — into something tangible and powerful and great. We have come so far together. Let us use these next four years as a catalyst for change.