What Can We Do?
Like many of you, I'm devastated. I'm angry. I'm afraid of how the next four years could impact my life and lives of those I love. And after Tuesday night, I was left wondering what can I do? It's easy to feel powerless, and hopeless. To join a facebook group or go to a protest, because that feels like the only thing there is to do to express your grief, your rage, your heart sickness. But there are more concrete steps you can take to fight for what is good in this world. And there is still good. There are many organizations and individuals fighting for what we believe in, and more than anything what we can do now is stand together with them. That's how we can create the changes we want to see in our nation.
Who are these organizations? What are they doing? How can you support them? Here are some short lists of fantastic groups of people, and how they need your help.
One of the best ways to support an organization is by giving your time and energy towards their cause. Volunteermatch.com is a great resource for finding opportunities near you that align with causes you are most passionate about. This list is specific to Portland, OR, though these organizations have many chapters across the US and similar groups in many cities. You can also donate to many of these organizations.
- Basic Rights Oregon works to protect the rights of marginalized groups across Oregon
- Project Access Now has volunteer positions for people of all skills, from community members to healthcare providers, that allow you to help underprivileged people get the healthcare they need.
- Park Conservancy to preserve and maintain parks in your city
- Friends of Trees plants trees! No experience necessary to volunteer.
If you have the means, there are a number of organizations fighting the good fight who need funds for equipment, legal fees, travel, paying organizers, and various other necessities to keep their doors open and continue to change the world for the better. Here are some awesome organizations that especially need your support now.
- Planned Parenthood provides reproductive healthcare to women across the US that is affordable and safe.
- The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) aims "To maintain and advance civil liberties, including, without limitation, the freedoms of association, press, religion, and speech, and the rights to the franchise, to due process of law, and to equal protection of the laws for all people throughout the United States and its jurisdictions." And they're gearing up to see Donald Trump in court.
- The NAACP. Their website says it best: "The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination."
- The Children's Health Fund provides healthcare to the nations most underserved children, reducing the impact of the healthcare crises on those most vulnerable.
- The Trevor Project has a very simple mission: end suicide among LGBTQ+ people, especially young folks
- The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is comprised of 47 national organizations working to advance gun control and end gun violence in America
NOTE: I'm having trouble finding reliable pro-immigration organizations or advocacy groups. If you know of any that you support please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sometimes the people we are capable of impacting most are those closest to us. I know all of you reading this already support your sons, daughters, siblings, parents, friends, students, and coworkers. You encourage them to do what they love, to create the world they want to live in, to reach for their dreams, and be kind to others. The ripple effects of that empowerment are what create the society we live in, and that is by far the most impactful and positive thing you can do.
You can also read more about being an effective ally to marginalized groups (the article is specific to women and non-binary folks, but I find the principles apply to most groups). That article has been a guiding light to me in the past months, and has helped me be aware of my actions and how I can help others with them.
I know you've seen all the same positive quotes and inspirational text I have. I won't echo much of that here, but will say you are not powerless. Even if your action is as simple as talking to your loved ones about what has happened, and what you can do for them in their times of need, you are fighting the prejudice and hatred reflected in our laws and policies. I'll leave you with the quote that brought us all to tears: "Please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It is, it is worth it."
Thank you for reading! If you have any questions or comments, please email me at email@example.com