Be The Change
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Politics and Activism

Be The Change

Now is the time to start fighting for what's right.

Be The Change
OC Weekly

This has been an extremely difficult few weeks for many, and as Hillary’s lead in popular votes continues to grow, many have become increasingly active in standing up for what they believe is right. But it’s possibly even easier to become complacent, to try and forget the results and your anger and fear, withdraw yourself from the political realm, and shut out the news and social media, at least until Trump’s presidency begins in January and you feel the desperation of reality re-emerge. But this is not the time for complacency. Now is the time to stand up and fight for what is right.

I am not encouraging you to become consumed by anger, to reject happiness or allow for your normal life to resume. Quite contrarily, now it is more important than ever to spread positivity and love. Because we are fighting for the most fundamental of rights – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And in this vein, it is important to allow yourself happiness.

After the election, I found myself stuck in a funk, retreating into myself and unable to move on from the constant weight of injustice that I felt so heavily on my shoulders – not only because I was so deeply saddened and angered, but because I felt guilt in any glimmer of happiness that surfaced. With the rights of so, so many at stake, I felt selfish every time I began to emerge from my depression ever so slightly. But I have come to realize that anger and sadness are best articulated when they can become productive; when they are used to spread positivity and love, to rouse people to act and truly make a difference instead of seething and wallowing in futile negativity and pain.

It’s easy to feel helpless. You are not a politician, and the election is over. Your time to articulate your voice through your vote (even in a system that is not fair nor representative) has passed. But there are still ways to facilitate change and make yourself heard.

If you can, get involved in your local politics. Find out who your local representatives are and send them letters, call them. Attend local town halls and other meetings. Peacefully protest, and be loud about what you care about – because if you’re loud enough, the government will hear it, and will not be able to ignore it.

But you can also make a difference in less direct ways that are just as important. Become involved in organizations that fight for those things you care about on a large scale, in the public eye. This week, I considered writing about Trump’s appointments or the explosion of hate crimes we have seen, both of which are frightening and horrifying. But I thought about the importance of making my rage and dejection productive, and the significance of spreading love and positivity in a world that seems rife with antithetical ideals. I wanted to, in even a small way, help people take action in the productive and positive way that is so essential to improving our society and making our voices heard.

This is not just for Hillary supporters who are devastated by the election results. This is for all those who think it is important to stand up for the rights of all people, to stand up to bigotry and intolerance and make sure Donald Trump, his administration, and his government and held accountable for their actions, and know that the American people condemn those behaviors and stand with all people, not just a select few.

If you are a Hillary supporter, I probably don’t have to tell you what is at stake, and why you should get involved. But if you didn’t vote, or voted for Trump as the “lesser of two evils,” or were a blatant Trump supporter but you are not racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, or intolerant: get involved. Make it clear to Donald Trump that his supporters support him without his platform of bigotry and hate. Make it clear that you do not want that, and will stand up for what is right, and what you believe in – even if you didn’t prioritize it in your vote. Support your president, but support those who are threatened, endangered, and frightened as well. Show everyone, including Donald Trump, that you support him, but not his bigotry. Your vote has been cast, and your candidate won – now is the time to prioritize those things that you cared about and care about, but didn’t vote for.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I decided to compile a list of organizations that you can give to – and not just by donating money. You can support, raise awareness for, and yes, if you can afford it, donate to these organizations.

This list is by all means not comprehensive, in no particular order, and only addresses issues that were critical in this election; if you are involved in any other organizations, know your work is important, valuable, and appreciated.

1. American Civil Liberties Union

The ACLU is an organization that has pledged to legally hold Trump’s administration accountable for any potential violations of the law based on the bigotry and intolernce he based his campaign on. It is a non-profit and nonpartisan organization that uses legal assistance, lobbying, and community empowerment to protect civil liberties. Their stated mission is, “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.”

You can become a member and receive updates on the organization’s work and remain informed. For more information, visit their website.

To donate, click here.

2. Planned Parenthood

This is an extremely important organization that provides essential health care all people around the country and fights for reproductive rights. The Trump Pence administration poses severe threats to access to Planned Parenthood around the country, so now it is more important than ever to support Planned Parenthood. (Look here for more information on Mike Pence’s record on reproductive rights.)

Here are some ways to get involved in Planned Parenthood.

To donate, click here. And if you’re feeling like a nasty woman, donate in Mike Pence’s honor, so he receives the receipt for the donation.

3. The International Refugee Assistance Project

This organization mobilizes lawyers and law students to advocate for establish rights for refugees, aiming to help Syrian refugees and other refugees around the world amidst the largest refugee crisis since World War II.

For more information, visit their website.

To donate, click here.

4. Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund

With Latinos as one of the principle targeted groups in the Trump campaign, the work of this non-profit to protect Latino civil rights in America is essential. The organization addresses education, employment, voting rights, and immigrants’ rights. This sheet provides information on potential threats to Mexican Americans under the Trump administration.

For more information, visit their website.

To donate, click here.

5. The Trevor Project

This non-profit works to prevent suicide in LGBT+ youth. It aims to educate and guide parents and educators to foster safe and accepting environments for all youth, and operates “The Trevor Lifeline,” which is a confidential and toll-free hotline with trained counselors. Approximately 30% of LGBTQ+ high school aged youth have attempted suicide, and although Trump has stated that he will not attempt to challenge the legality of gay marriage, his rhetoric and staunchly anti-gay running mate have created a more hostile and terrifying environment for LGBT+ individuals.

For more information, including volunteer opportunities, visit their website.

To donate, click here.

I understand that this is difficult, and it’s so easy to feel defeated and afraid. I too know these feelings. But your rage and desperation are useless if you do not make them productive. Use your despair and your pain to take action and make an impact. Do not wait for these threats and fears to become a reality.

And if you are celebrating Trump’s victory, with the guilt of concern for your disenfranchised and targeted friends, your fellow Americans, your fellow human beings – force Donald Trump to be the president you want to see, and the president you believe he can be. Show all of those who now wake up each morning with a pit in their stomach, who are terrified to leave their house each day, that you care. That it matters to you. That bigotry and intolerance have no place in this country under any administration.

If you are disgusted by the hate and bigotry you have seen blossom, empowered and commanding – spread love and tolerance. The election is over, but that doesn’t mean that it’s time to lie down and give up. It means it’s time to emerge from the bed you’ve been lying in for the past two weeks, put on a new pantsuit, and fight harder than you’ve ever fought, because what you believe in matters more than ever, and it is never too late, and it is always worth it.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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