“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.” -Alice Walker
Let me first start by saying; it's been a hell of a week, folks. In case you've been living under a rock, Donald Trump was elected to be our 45th President of the United States.
And our nation remains divided on what that means.
For many, they are happy the person they voted for will become president of the US.
And for others, well…
They're scared, feeling hopeless, unheard and like they do not have a place in this country. Not because their party did not win; but because the person who was elected is a blatant bigot and has spoken terribly about women, people of color, Muslims, prisoners of war, veterans, and disabled people to name a few.
This article is for that latter group of people. Them and the allies who stand with them.
I cannot lie; I felt my fair share of despair. But that is not what I want to focus on here. I want to point out something that despite our grief we may be forgetting.
We still have power. We still have voices. And dammit we matter too.
Here I want to share the things we need to do, now that we can expect a Trump presidency next year.
[clickToTweet tweet=”We still have power. We still have voices. And dammit we matter too.” quote=”We still have power. We still have voices. And dammit we matter too.”]
Stop Trying to Explain to Trump Supporters Why This is About More Than Politics
The first thing we need to do is stop trying to explain why there are so many things wrong with a Trump presidency. This election has left the groups of people he's ridiculed during it, deflated. If there are still people out there claiming they don't understand why minority groups are so upset over the election, it is because they do not WANT to understand.
We live in an age where most ignorance towards others can be resolved by a Google search or by listening someone else's life experience that is different than your own. But like Trump, many of these supporters like to fall back to their “gut feelings” as opposed to facts backed by credible resources. Do not waste time on them, as you will need that energy to work with those who have taken the time out to listen, and can understand why there are so many that feel fearful for themselves and their families.
Despite the election results, I am so happy to say that I have witnessed many people speak up on why Trump's bigotry is wrong. Even though they are not a part of the groups that are being oppressed above. Those people give me hope. Which leads me to my next point…
Look out for one another
“Let's continue to stand up for those who are vulnerable to being left out or marginalized.” -Hillary Clinton
Before the election, there was already a lot going on. We've had the Black Lives Matter movement, the Dakota pipeline protests, the rising Xenophobia due to ISIS. And let's not forget the Religous Freedom Laws that have been passed in certain states that make it okay to refuse service to someone if they are a part of the LGBTQ community. (Just a reminder, yes this is 2016.)
When Trump won the election, that changed something. Now instead of fighting our separate fights, we have a bigger one on our hands. We are united by the oppression we all share. And unfortunately, we will face even more now that bigotry, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, and racism have been normalized. If you do not believe these things have been deemed socially acceptable, there are plenty of social media posts telling stories about the hateful rhetoric from Trump's campaign being used while harassing minorities. See for yourself here. And here.
We are in this together, and we have to look out for one another. There is a target on many of our backs, and unfortunately, we cannot change the way we look to avoid it. So let's commit to standing up for what's right. Whether we see someone being harassed on social media or on the street with hateful rhetoric; Now is the time we stand up for everyone and not just our own oppressed people.
[clickToTweet tweet=”We are united by the oppression we all share.” quote=”We are united by the oppression we all share.”]
Stay in Your Truth
“Difficult times often bring out the best in people.” -Bernie Sanders
As a black woman, I am used to having to think through everything I am going to say when faced with racism or sexism to avoid being labeled as the “angry black woman.” On November 9th, 2016, that changed for me. There is way too much to lose to worry about what people may think of me, for speaking my truth.
As of now, I have zero tolerance for bigotry, whether it is intentional or not. And this will be key in fighting the good fight. Do not tolerate hate speech, stereotypes about an entire group of people, or microaggressions. The free passes are gone. And if you refuse to educate yourself on the issues, I will school you (and you will be embarrassed, so don't try me.)
We no longer have the energy to appease to the privileged's sensitive feelings about these hard topics. As I mentioned earlier, that energy should be used towards making a change.
[clickToTweet tweet=”As of now, I have zero tolerance for bigotry, whether it is intentional or not.” quote=”As of now, I have zero tolerance for bigotry, whether it is intentional or not.”]
Do Something About it
“We don't develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” -Barbara De Angelis
Lastly, it is time to get to work. It is one thing to know your truth and to help others, but we have to work together to get anything done.
Here are a few things you can do to get involved and work on being a part of the change we need in America today.
- Brush up on your constitutional rights
- Yes, we all learned the Bill of Rights in grade school, but it is good to be aware of what they are, as some of Trump's policies he is suggesting could mean taking some of those away. Right to free speech anyone? Trump wants to increase libel laws that make it easier to sue people who speak negatively about him to the press. Make sure you know your rights!
- Get involved in your local politics
- There is much you can do here! A few involve:
- Contact your local government officials. Go to city council meetings, look for volunteer opportunities, and speak your mind!
- Join OurRevolution.com. This website lets you know about ways you can get involved locally for progressive change.
- Familiarize yourself with Trump's stances once he is in office. This is important, so you know what he plans on changing. And by the sounds of it, a lot will be different. But being knowledgeable about these things will help us prevent the worst.
- Here are more tips on getting involved locally.
- There is much you can do here! A few involve:
- Sign petitions
- There is a petition going that is trying to convince the electoral college to choose Hillary over Donald in December. Will this actually happen? Who knows. Is it worth a try at least? I say so. Sign it here.
- There is a #Twitterblackout protest going on social media using the #notmypresident hashtag. People are also making their profile photo black in protest of the election results. You could also protest in person. Here is an article that shows where some physical protests will be happening in the US over the next couple of weeks.
I know this is a lot to take in. But there is a lot at stake here. We can no longer sit on the sidelines and hope for the best. Now is the time to act, stay hopeful and keep faith in our fellow Americans. Let us hope they all come around to fight for equal treatment of all Americans.