Early Wednesday morning, we found out the results of a long, painful election season: The 2016 President-elect is Donald Trump. For many people across the country, the results were not what they'd been expecting, and feelings of shock, fury, terror, and ultimate hopelessness crept their way into hearts (and social media posts) across the nation.
But you should never feel hopeless. There are always things you can do to help make the country (and the world) more reflective of what you think it could be.
Yes, President-elect Trump and his running mate Mike Pence may have the power to enact changes that you might disagree with, but as individuals who truly care about our neighbors and our communities, we can all do some very, very good things on our own. By starting at the root of the issues that many Americans care so deeply about in our own neighborhoods, we can make some incredible changes. Here are just a few ideas to get the ball rolling, but find out what differences you can make with the organizations in your community.
1. Donate to Planned Parenthood
Women's healthcare may see some serious changes over the next four years of a Trump/Pence presidency. Trump has promised repeatedly throughout the course of his campaign to cut funding for Planned Parenthood in particular––a nonprofit organization that provides sexual health care, education, and support to 2.5 million Americans every year. This organization provides birth control, STD testing, and life-saving cancer screenings for people who might otherwise not be able to afford preventative care, and the proposed cuts mean the organization will need private funding from donors in order to continue these services.
Planned Parenthood has been here for 100 years, and one thing is clear: We will never back down and we will never stop fighting to ensure that Planned Parenthood patients have access to the care they need and for the people who come from communities that need our continued support in this new reality. Many of the people Planned Parenthood health centers serve may be concerned about their safety, and the safety of their families and friends. We will support our immigrant, Muslim, Black and Latinx colleagues, partners and patients in the face of threats made over the last several months. Health care should not be political. Every morning, Planned Parenthood health center staff across the country wake up and open their doors, as they have this morning, to care for anyone who needs them, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, income, or country of origin. They will do so today, they will do so tomorrow, they will do so every day as they have for 100 years. #plannedparenthood #election2016 #WeWontGoBack #CareNoMatterWhat
2. Volunteer Your Time, Voice, and Money to Vital Causes
These election results have fanned the flames inside many of us, so why not put that energy to some good, hands-on use? What cause(s) really hit home for you? We have a couple suggestions for places to volunteer your time or donate money and supplies, though of course always check out an organization's credentials to make sure they're legit and align with your values.
- Donate what you can and tweet or signal boost the hashtag #MyNameOurVoice for RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network.
- Sign up for Action Alerts from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence to see how you can help.
- Volunteer at your local Boys & Girls Club of America.
- Fill out a survey to see how you can get involved with Campaign Zero, which aims to stop police violence, particularly against black citizens, using policy change.
- Receive Action Alerts for EarthJustice to help protect wildlife, support clean energy, and other environmental causes.
- Become a Child Advocate for The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights.
These are just a few places to volunteer. Define what matters to you and investigate how you can help.
3. Support Immigrant-Owned Small Businesses
You heard it countless times over the last few months: the real-estate mogul brought up the issue of immigration in every debate, saying that he is "going to build a wall" between the U.S. and Mexico, deport hundreds of thousands of people already living and working in the U.S., and drastically limit refugees who are trying to enter the country during his presidential term. It's worth noting that forty-eight percent of the total number of business owners in New York City are immigrants, and on the national level, these businesses have huge contributions to our society as a whole. So, don't forget to show them your support in your own communities and as you're traveling.
4. Buy and Read Books Written by Marginalized Authors
Many writers have been speaking up about allowing marginalized voices (many of which were silenced in this election) to be heard. One of the best ways to do that is by reading nonfiction, memoir, and even fiction by female, POC, immigrants, LGBTQ, and other authors who may not be like you.
1) Even if you can't afford to spend, RT/share donation links, links to books by marginalized authors, hotline numbers - spread knowledge.— Dahlia Adler (@MissDahlELama) November 9, 2016
2) Make a list of books you want to make sure kids in your area can access. Then go to your library site and request any they don't have.— Dahlia Adler (@MissDahlELama) November 9, 2016
Literature is one of the best ways to immerse yourself into a worldview that is different than your own, and so often fear of differences is what drives much of the divisiveness that our country is currently experiencing. By buying and reading a book written by someone from one of the many groups of people who have been sidelined in our nation's history and in this election, you are not only financially supporting their endeavors but also broadening your horizons on perspectives different from your own and allowing their stories and their voices to be heard.
Check out hashtags like #ownvoices for a start on book and author recommendations.
5. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Many people have considered this election to not simply be a battle of left vs. right, but instead more of a struggle between socioeconomic classes. Bridging the gap between the poor and the wealthy can be a huge step toward unifying our nation. As human beings, we have the tendency to isolate ourselves into groups that are similar to us in financial status, appearances, beliefs, etc. However, by intentionally making an effort to get out of our comfort zones and having conversations with those who have different backgrounds and perspectives, we are more likely to come to a conclusion that is in between two extremes and benefits society as a whole.
6. Write a Letter to the Prez
No matter your political views, we are #blessed to live in a country where the leaders of the nation are accessible enough to actually write a letter to. It's yet another way to make your say heard in this country, where we are free to believe what we want and voice our ideas, so don't be shy. Let Trump know that you don't stand for the hateful rhetoric and show him the causes that are important to you.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
7. Get Out the Vote Year Round
Elections happen each year, and the presidential race isn't the only one that matters. Make sure you're continuing to do your part by supporting these issues that affect us at every level of the government all year round — not just in the weeks before an election. Don't forget to encourage others to vote, too! Helping them get registered and sharing resources to stay informed on various issues is a great way to inspire voter mobilization. Midterm elections will be here before we know it, so be ready!
8. In the Words of the Beatles, "All You Need Is Love"
This election is finally over––and the results officially out of your hands––but you can control your actions and how you react from this point on. Feel the anger and sadness and grief, but don't forget to "go high." Be kind to the people in your life (yes, even the people you may disagree with). Stand up for the things you passionately believe in, but respect that others might not feel as strongly. Hillary Clinton said it best in her concession speech to Trump Wednesday morning: "Let us have faith in each other. Let us not grow weary. Let us not lose heart. For there are more seasons to come and more work to do."