With all of the changes happening during the past week and a half, it might feel like we’re living in a crazy movie turned real-life nightmare and with every day that passes, things only seem to get worse. Last Wednesday, CNN reported that “Trump signed two executive orders directing the construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border, boosting border patrol forces and increasing the number of immigration enforcement officers who carry out deportations.”
A couple days later, Trump made another horrible move — an executive order with the purpose to ”ban more than 218 million people from the United States, targeting seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for the next 90 days and suspending the admission of all refugees for 120 days.” While many activists immediately found a way to take a stand, showing up at airports to protest and attorneys provided pro-bono services to those being affected, there are still many of us who are looking for a way to get involved but are feeling overwhelmed by it all. To be honest, in the midst of trying to stay informed, a part of me is also struggling to keep myself sane. But as Desmond Tutu’s popular saying says, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” In light of all this, here are three ways to get involved and move from passive to active citizens.
- Be intentional in your adovcacy and make legislators accountable.
To amplify our voices, we must ensure that we do our part by keeping our legislators accountable. Elected officials are elected to serve the communities they represent. If we want them to vote a certain way, we can’t expect them to just do what’s right. There are a lot of big players in politics. We must ensure we are equally influential. So make sure you call their offices, visit their office when possible, email them, and use Twitter to message your legislators directly. Remember that the staff keeps track of everything by issue and by level of support. Every call/visit/email/tweet counts so ensure you make your voices heard. To find your Representative, simply visit this website and type in your zip code. To find your Senator, search under your state here. To find who your California representatives are simply type in your address here.
- Let your wallet talk.
Money is a powerful player in politics and in society. As soon as news surfaced that Uber’s CEO had a connection to Trump, people went to social media to share pictures and comments of them deleting the Uber app from their phones. In the same way that we reacted against Uber and took a stance against a company with ties to someone who governs with hate, we must do the same against all other companies with similar ties. Learn which companies are tied to President Trump and his family, and avoid them. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #GrabYourWallet when you share what you did to boycott a business affiliated with President Trump.
- Support organizations that are actively taking a stand against Trump.
ACLU and other groups have taken a stand against the Trump Administration by representing those often forgotten and not at the table. If you want to become a Freedom Fighter — join the ACLU and donate here. If you want to support Planned Parenthood, who has transformed women’s health and empowered millions of people worldwide to make informed health decisions, donate here. There is also the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the National Immigration Law Center, the International Refugee Assistance Project, the New American Leaders Project, the National Council of La Raza and so many more. If you are looking for a way to influence, support organizations whose values you align with but whatever you do, take a stance.
In times of uncertainty, we must come together. So march, protest, run for office, be an advocate through one of the three ways outlined above, but whatever you do, do not be a bystander.
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