I've been working on this post for the better part of a week. Like a lot of you, I've been floating through the stages of grief and trying to process the myriad of thoughts, emotions and opinions running through my head.
A week ago, I had an abundance of confidence. I had faith that the night would lead us to our first female president. My hope and optimism blinded me from the fact that a lot of people out there wanted things that weren't what Hillary represented. In retrospect, this couldn't have been more obvious.
I was gutted the day after. More overwhelmed than shocked. There are a lot of hate-filled people out there. This is not new. The reality of all the work that would now need to be done to stand up for what I believe in (like equal rights and basic human decency) set in quick. I wept myself to sleep on Tuesday. The next day, I found myself reacting to bullies calling Hillary Clinton supporters names and telling us to accept it and get over it. I went between waves of wallowing in despair, of rage, and of clinging to hope. I watched the blame fly at every possible target. How did we get to be so awful to each other?
Ever the extrovert, just being around my incredible coworkers was key to getting through that awful day. We had a big group cry. We let each other sit in silence. We made each other laugh. I texted my family and friends and told them I loved them. They were my saving grace that day.
I've sat with this overwhelming sadness for a few days, but my next moves remain clear. I have to act. This election has called us all to act. The privilege of passive participation, of selective, opportunistic listening is an ignorance we can't hide behind anymore. There are very real threats and consequences to marginalized groups, and we have to do our part however we can.
Share the uncomfortable stories.
Read as much as possible.
Do your best to understand other, polarizing views from your own.
Support the groups and organizations willing to protect us, like the ACLU.
Show up at rallies. town halls and community meetings to have those dialogues and uncomfortable conversations.
Get out of your comfort zone.
Call people out on their prejudices.
Don't be afraid to cut ignorance out of your life.
Call your senators and congressman to express your concerns. In fact, just plug their numbers into your phone because you're probably going to be calling them often.
Don't let anyone tell you to "accept" or "get over it." Challenge the attempts to normalize him and what he believes in. Hate and oppression are not normal. They are not things you should just accept or get over.
Stand up for your rights.
Yes, we're angry. Yes, we're scared. Yes, we're confused. I know I'm still asking myself, "How could this have gone so wrong?" But that's not productive. Now, we need to be committed to our beliefs. When you're not invested in change, you're sitting on your hands and your privilege. Show up.
Some useful resources (running list):
- If You're Overwhelmed by the Election, Here's What You Can Do Now - Huffington Post
- A List of Pro-Women, Pro-Immigrant, Pro-Earth, Anti-Bigotry Organizations That Need Your Support - Jezebel
- A Bystander’s Guide to Standing up Against Islamophobic Harassment (and Other Types of Harassment, Too)
- #ReportHate - Southern Law Poverty Center
- Emily's List - Supporting pro-choice Democratic women running for congress and governor.
- National Network of Abortion Funds