The election of Donald Trump has been met with mixed reactions. While some are celebrating, many others have felt anger, fear, frustration and anxiety in the aftermath as they wonder how this election (and the growing list of contentious cabinet appointments) will impact them and their loved ones. After the election, many Grokites got in touch asking what *they* could do to make a positive impact. We asked our fearless feminists — many of them well-seasoned in community and national activism — for ways folks can get involved.
What is one concrete action item you’d suggest for someone who wants to help make things better/safer in light of a Trump presidency?
Patricia Valoy: “Do not normalize his presidency! If the only thing you can do is talk or write about his egregious reaches of power, that is enough, but never accept him and his ilk as normal. Change starts around dinner tables, and I firmly believe that small actions within our communities make a large impact in our society.”
Katie Klabusich: “Go Local/Small! In this time of people signing up to support the big orgs, I highly encourage people to also find a local group in need of funding and/or volunteers. Volunteering doesn’t have to be a massive time commitment or even take much training. Some groups need people to stuff envelopes or make deliveries. Some need people who are willing to do outreach in their community. Some need assistance with transportation or occasional housing for people traveling for services like healthcare. Yes, the PACs need resources to fight the onslaught of laws that are coming. But local groups need hands. And individual activists and independent media contributors need sponsors. Please consider supporting those who are already on the ground making things better/safer and bracing for the impending storm.
Seraphina Ferraro: “CALL EVERYONE. Find out the numbers for every office of every person that represents you in government. Call them. Identify yourself as one of their constituents and make them aware of your concerns. If they don’t address your concerns, call again. Let them know that you will call again. Get to know the people answering the phones. They can ignore your emails. And your petitions. But they cannot ignore your phone calls.”
Jennifer Pozner: “We need to get serious about re-setting America’s critical thinking skills, especially when it comes to deciphering propaganda. One of the clearest and most impactful ways to do this is to make media literacy a consistent part of public education. We need to teach critical media literacy — from a gender/race/class-conscious lens — in every K-12 school in this country. I’ve done media literacy keynotes and workshops on gender, race, class, and sexuality in news and entertainment media since the late 1990s, and yet I’ve never a more crucial need for broad-based media literacy than at this moment. How do we decipher fake news from facts? How do we prevent corporate journalists from normalizing fascism? How do we protect the Fourth Estate from an anti-free speech demagogue, and protect the country from his impact? Media literacy is one key way forward. I’m currently outlining plans for my next book — on media complicity in Trump’s rise to power — and if all goes as planned I will be including a major focus on media literacy as one of the ways America can survive a Trump administration.”
Allison Smartt: “Don’t allow yourself to spend too much time worrying about whether what you’re doing is ‘enough.’ Spend more time taking action — whether it’s calling your representatives and posting a picture of you calling so as to inspire your friends on social media to do the same (my friend did this and I’ve followed suit), or making a sign and going to a demonstration, or volunteering/donating money to organizations that work for justice (say, in lieu of gifts for your family). Do the work.”
Sara Habein: “When people from marginalized communities tell you what will be helpful for them, LISTEN. This isn’t about your ally feelings; it’s about actually causing change.”
Shaindel Beers: “My advice is to choose one cause and do everything you can. I’m on the board of a local animal shelter that does pet food handouts for low-income individuals on a weekly basis. This year, we’re teaming up with service organizations to include pet food handouts in their holiday support for low income families so that people who need assistance over the holidays won’t have to stress about taking care of their pets as well.
It’s easy to feel hopeless that you can’t do everything because so much needs to be done, but it’s amazing the difference you can make if you focus on one task you give yourself.”
Danielle Corcione: “White Americans need to be actively talking about Trump constructively with families, friends, co-workers, etc. Here’s an open-sourced guide to talking about Trump with friends/families/colleagues/everyone else.”
Tamara Oliver: “Find a way to be helpful or useful every single day. Make it part of the day’s work. Put it on your To-Do list. Make it count. It doesn’t have to be a big, grandiose action, but it needs to be measurable or quantifiable. It can’t be something you’re paid to do, but something you’re doing because it will truly make something easier, better, or safer for others. If you can do it anonymously, do that. If you need to ask a person directly, ‘How can I be helpful or useful to you today?’ do that, too. But make it a part of every day’s work. There is a quote attributed to Mister Rogers that goes “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'” I say don’t just look for the helpers, BE the helper.”
Kris Kimmel: “If you can spare a little money — or a lot! — donate to Planned Parenthood or the ACLU. If money is tight, you can donate goods to a local organization that helps incoming refugees. If you have no goods, donate your time! And contact your reps and let them know how you feel — this is critical!!! I realize I just listed more than one thing, but pick one and go! Or do all the things! I don’t care how you live your life, we just gotta KICK SOME ASS TOGETHER!!!!”
Kat Rutkin: “My daily action item — among other financial and activist activity — is to LOOK UP. Greet neighbors with a good morning and a real, connecting gaze. I am no longer staring at my feet and feeling shy. I want to reaffirm we are all humans with needs, and make sure my neighbors know my interest in them as the people they are, not just a cause to protect. I can’t say I’ll stand up for you in a crisis if I can’t even take the step of connecting with you when things are calm and lovely. I think that a lot of people are doing this. To me it’s the one bright spot since the election; we are all getting out of our own heads, off of social media, and seeing each other face to face again.”
Mayim Bialik: “I’ve felt confused and a bit at a loss for what to do right now. I just found out that a friend of mine started an activism group called Rise Up LA that is ‘committed to protecting socio-political progress and fostering humanist values through support, inspiration and action.’ They have had a few rallies with the likes of Stephen Stills and some other progressive public people to give us suggestions based on experience about what can help right now; both for how we can prepare to act if things shift to the point that we need to, and how we can feel supported and not alone. I have been really inspired to know there are people doing concrete productive things such as starting organizations like this and mobilizing in healthy and safe and productive ways.”
Do YOU have a question for our cabal of fierce feminists? Email it to Avital Norman Nathman at TheMamafesto@gmail.com.