During the International Women’s Protest march on January 21st, 2017, I joined in a sea of millions of voices, standing up for my beliefs and fighting for equality. I came back home and for a solid 48 hours, I felt like I had made a difference in the world.
Then reality set in.
While those few hours of our lives may have captured the headlines, they aren’t enough to stop the tide of executive orders. If one day of outrage were enough to stop discrimination, we wouldn’t have needed to get out and march in the first place.
But we did. Now we have to keep going.
You went to a march and then came home. Here’s what you can do next:
1. Stop sharing nonsense.
I’d like to say that false propaganda only comes from the right, but it doesn’t. There are people willing to publish everything from gross inaccuracies to complete lies, and they aren’t limiting themselves to one viewpoint. Before you copy/paste that list of “10 Things Trump Did This Week” from your friend’s Facebook post or share that article that seems a little too crazy to be true, take five minutes to educate yourself. Did he really do those things? Are they really bad or unusual? If in doubt, skip that post and share something else. Like the Obama’s said, “When they go low, we go high.” Don’t drop your intelligence level down to theirs, m’kay?
And while we’re on the topic of educating ourselves, let’s review the list of reliable news sites:
I’m not saying you can’t share articles from sites on the far left or right, but I am saying that you should damn well know what they are when you do so. The same goes for your friends and family. When they spout off nonsense, ask them for facts. Make them find the research and statistics to back up their viewpoint, and don’t accept Breitbart News as a source. Alternate truths are for people who are too lazy or too stupid to do the work for themselves.
2. Put your money where your feet are.
While I’d like to be out marching all day, I’ve got two kids to feed and a mortgage to pay. What I can do is give some money to groups that will keep the fight going while I’m at work. If enough of us join together, even if we each only give a little bit, it can make a big difference.
Once you’ve finished digging spare change out from underneath your couch cushions, here are a few places where you should send it:
- The American Civil Liberties Union has already won court battles against the new administration. Donate online here.
- Lambda Legal stands up for civil rights for the LGBT population. Donate online.
- The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) fights for equal rights and equal protection for people of color and all other races. You can donate here
- Planned Parenthood provides health care services to millions of women across the US. Donate on their website.
- The Southern Poverty Law Center stands against bigotry and hate. Donate here.
- The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights helps immigrant children who come to the US on their own. You can donate here
You can find a longer list of organisations in this Jezebel article.
3. Expand your identity.
Yesterday I was a white, middle-aged woman. Today I am a white, middle-aged woman who also happens to be muslim, jewish, lesbian, trans, Syrian and any other adjective that the current administration is putting on the naughty list.
Registries only work if we LET them. Rounding up 1000 people is easy. Herding half a million is not. Think how different Nazi Germany might have turned out if half the country put that yellow star on their shirt.
Find people who are different from you. Ask about their experiences. Learn what is important to them. Let THEM tell you what you can do to help. Then stand beside them and share in their identity – both when it easy and when it is hard.
4. Get back up again.
The #Resistance is working. How do I know? Because the alt-right is spitting mad. They are on our Facebook posts, they are shouting on Twitter and they’re cursing us out in the streets.
Every once in awhile, they are going to knock you down. They are going to argue with you until you take a social media break and barricade yourself in your bedroom. When that happens, pick yourself back up again. The Women’s March was the LARGEST anti-inauguration march in history. Never before have so many people, from so many countries and different walks of life come out on the same day to stand together. If I were a racist, woman-hating, pseudo-religious bigot, I would be freaking out.
Or maybe I would degrade myself by lying about the size of my own crowd. I would also call other people Libtards and Snowflakes.
Either way, our efforts are working. We have to keep at them.
5. Keep on marching.
January 21, 2017 will not be the last day we march. The scientists are walking out. Black lives still matter. Airports are packed. Heck, even the National Park Service is getting in on the movement. Insiders close to Trump are leaking damning insights from the inner circles of the new guard, so we the public know how ludicrous it really is in the White House.
You can make your voice heard by calling your congress person. Protest in front of their local offices. Organize a rally. Hand out flyers. Volunteer in your nearest swing district. Invite people over for coffee and a chat.
Whatever you do, don’t stand still. Every step they make, we’ll be there. We may be at home now, but our march is far from over.