Turning Energy Into Action: How to Have Impact After the Women’s March
Women just made history by pulling off the largest march in the United States ever (with sister marches on all 7 continents) – it’s time to keep that momentum going. The new administration is officially in place, which means we’ve got to be on our A-game when it comes to showing up and showing out for women and girls. The fight ahead is long, but together, like a chant you may have heard this weekend, “we are unstoppable – another world is possible.”
Here’s how we can make that true:
If we want to be champions for justice and true allies to those who will be most affected by the policies likely to be promoted by this administration, we must educate ourselves. We cannot be intersectional feminists if we don’t listen to the voices and struggles of folks who are different from us and include them in our vision for the future. Try following someone new on Twitter or Facebook who has an interesting perspective. Why not join or even host a reading group to discuss books like the ones on this list?
Follow what’s happening in the news, not just in Washington, D.C., but in your state. Between hearings on the Trump administration nominees, new federal and state legislation, Trump administration policy changes and even some shady website activities, there’s already a lot to keep track of. It’s up to us to continue to let this new administration and legislators know that we’re watching their every move.– and to make sure that we are not normalizing the actions of an administration hostile to civil rights.
Share Information and Hold Elected Officials Accountable
As Fox Mulder was fond of saying “the truth is out there” – sadly, the government is no longer just being shady about aliens. This administration has already made headlines for preferring “alternative facts” to actual facts, which means it’s up to us to make sure the truth stays out there. But this isn’t just about truth telling – it’s also making sure your community is informed and taking action. Did you see a number to call in your opposition to a nominee? Share that with your friends! Your network is powerful – make sure you use it. Calling and writing your legislators to oppose bad legislation and nominations has an impact — and we can help you do it. We’ll make sure to keep you updated and involved in the fights to come.
Stand Up for Those Being Harassed
If you see something, do something. Learn how to by an active bystander. If you see someone being harassed, try to deescalate the situation and diffuse the attack. This illustration has some good suggestions for how you can do this that applies not just to Islamophobic incidents, but to any kind of discriminatory harassment you may encounter. There were 1,094 bias-related incidents in the month after the election alone — so it’s a good idea to be prepared to step in when you can.
Disrupt Racism and Injustice in Your Own Communities
Don’t forget about the work that needs to be done within your own circles of family and friends. That racist uncle you avoid at Thanksgiving? Engage him in a meaningful conversation about prejudice and institutionalized racism. Hold your friends accountable when they make sexist and racist jokes. This is especially important for those of us who are white people, as we know people of color will be hardest hit by the policies of this new administration. These conversations are hard and often painful, but they are essential to dismantling prejudice. And if you’re not talking to your friends about it, who will?
Lift Up Voices and Actions of Communities Different from Your Own
We have yet to see how the policies of this administration will play out – but chances are they will negatively affect most of us. It’s now more critical than ever to listen to people who have different life experiences than our own — and to take their concerns seriously. Whether sharing an article on your Facebook page or attending a rally, we must take action to make sure are helping to center the voices of communities who are too often erased from the mainstream – like people of color, immigrants, disabled folks, and LGBTQ folks. Uplifting the voices of people who are different from us and pushing for policies to help all people will unite us and make us stronger — and it’s on all of us to make that happen.
Take Local Action
Our communities need us now — and while different communities have different needs, here are a few ideas of where to start:
- Join a local Standing up for Racial Justice (SURJ) chapter.
- Get involved with your local Black Lives Matter chapter.
- Become a clinic escort at an abortion clinic.
- Support a local DV shelter or hotline by volunteering or donating
- Attend local rallies and protests on issues you care about.
- If you belong to a faith community, find out what congregation-based organizing exists in your community — or help start something yourself!
- Help support organizing by donating to locally focused racial justice organizations and individuals leading local efforts.
- Volunteer professional skills to groups and individuals in need. From using legal skills to help someone process a gender marker change to volunteering graphic design savvy to help promote events and meetings for a local advocacy group, you can help people who lack access to these services.
Support organizations that are dedicated to fighting back against discriminatory policies. Instead of gifts, make a donation in honor of someone. Start a Facebook fundraiser for an organization, or hold an in-person fundraising event. Every dollar counts, and we’re in for a long fight.
Take the Plunge – Run for Office!
Yes, it may say sound like a leap, but everybody’s got to start somewhere! Best of all, there are some great organizations helping women get ready to run for local office. Try checking out She Should Run, EmergeAmerica, Higher Heights, or Emily’s List for some ideas and trainings!
And while this isn’t an official step, taking care of yourself is a necessary part of activism. The fight ahead will be long, and hard — and we can’t let fatigue or despondency take us out. Make time to recharge and refuel.
Don’t worry — we’ll be here, fighting with you at every step.