Many of us have been stuck in a gray cloud since last Tuesday. If you’re like me, you’ve been making your way through the stages of grief, often simultaneously (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, more rage, more tears, still waiting on acceptance…). I hated that our first female presidential candidate felt the need to apologize in her concession speech to a crowd of hundreds of crying women. I hate that she, the overqualified candidate, was passed over for a loud, ignorant bully like so many women and minorities before her. I hate that so many people are living in fear of deportation, hate crimes, and life without affordable medical care. In a head that’s clouded by anger and sorrow, It’s hard to know where to start. How to be productive.
However. We can’t afford to give up. If you are in a safe space, and feel that your rights are intact, you need to fight for those can’t. Find your words, and get pissed. If we don’t, this will get worse. We now know that any illusion of equality we had in America is broken. Sexism, racism and homophobia are alive and well. I don’t want to be afraid for the next four years, and I don’t want those in fear to feel alone. Have you guys been combing the internet for a productive solution to your pain? ME TOO! Here are some tips…the best tips you’ll ever see…I have put together a fantastic list of tips that will help you bigly in a ‘uge way, while the world burns around you…Too soon?
- Donate your time and your money. It doesn’t have to be a lot. Pick a cause that you care about (Trevor Project, Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, ACLU, International Refugee Assistance Project, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Planned Parenthood, Center for Reproductive Rights) and volunteer to keep these organizations strong during these difficult times. You can make a donation to Planned Parenthood in Mike Pence’s name and he’ll receive the certificate of the donation. Yes, I am still finding solace in petty solutions. Sorry.
Office of Governor Mike Pence
- Engage in state and local elections. Look for candidates who genuinely care about people’s rights, security, and quality of life. Midterm elections for the Senate are coming up in 2018. This is a power structure we can actually influence, when Trump may seem untouchable in his ivory tower.
- Talk to someone who voted for Trump. We all know someone who believes in the Donald. Many of us have family members who are celebrating this week. Tell them how this affected you, and what’s on the line for you. Avoid using an accusatory tone and the word “you”. Try very hard to listen to their perspective. These are the conversations that need to be had, and will hopefully allow people to see that we are all fighting for similar rights and freedoms.
- Don’t quit facebook. Don’t leave the country. Engage and stand up for what your believe in. If you are privileged enough to consider running to Canada, consider staying in the USA to speak up for those who don’t have this luxury.
- Speak up if you see hate. Hate-speak is nothing new, and certainly cannot be attributed to the 2016 election results. However, this is a really good time to start doing something about it if you witness an attack. Here is a really great Buzzfeed video inspired by the viral cartoon by the artist Maeril that breaks down what do to if you witness Islamophobic harassment. These instructions are easy to remember, and can be busted out when you witness any kind of racist or homophobic behavior. Here are the steps in summary:
- Engage the person/victim in conversation and ignore the attacker. This approach is known as “uncomplimentary behavior”. Basically, if someone is being aggressive towards you, you want to be as unaggressive as possible to defuse the situation.
- Introduce yourself. Ask if you can sit down. Talk about anything you want (TV shows, weather, what the victim’s plans are for the day). This is about building a safe space. You want to make the attacker feel irrelevant and ignored. You want to make the attacker want to leave.
- If the aggressor won’t leave, see if you can get the person to leave with you, and head to a neutral space. “Would you like to get a coffee?”
- Ladies- Look into getting an IUD. Come January, the availability and pricing of birth control may be compromised. The most common options, Mirena and ParaGard, last 5-12 years respectively. I’ve had an IUD for 7 years now, and have tried both. I’m an aggressive advocate for these things, and will tell any girlfriend who will listen about the endless benefits. As we know, the quest for the perfect birth control is treacherous and uncertain and IUD’s may not be right for everyone. However, this is one good option for keeping your pussy out of Trump’s grasp.
- Peaceful protesting. These have continued to pop up in all major cities this week… and I’m betting they will continue in the years to come. Participate and stay safe.
- Reach out to people in need. President Obama said today “It’s really important to send some signals of unity, and to reach out to minority groups, or women, or others that are concerned”. If you know someone who is feeling attacked or fearful, take time to listen to their individual concerns and let them know they are not alone.
***IF YOU ARE WHITE, it is especially important that you listen to the concerns of minorities. Do not assume that your experience is the same as women and men of color. Read about white privilege, white feminism, and how to be the best ally you can. ***
Remember that progress is not linear, and life has peaks and valleys. Take time to feel, but then get ready to fight. I would absolutely love to hear more productive solutions. For those of you who made this far in this article, we at Feminist Forester want nothing more than to start a dialogue. Please comment, and let me know where I’m wrong, and what you think!