Chronic Pain · Mental Health · Personal · Social Justice

How to Support Others During Uncertain Political Times: A Primer for People of All Political Parties

“Finally, let us understand that when we stand together, we will always win. When men and women stand together for justice, we win. When black, white and Hispanic people stand together for justice, we win.” – Bernie Sanders

Friends, I try not to write about politics on this blog, but the election is affecting people’s health. The political is personal, and the personal is political. I truly believe that “Illness to Wellness” would not be doing its job if I were to ignore this and pretend that everything is fine. It’s not. I’m not fine. I’m scared. I’m mad. I’m tired. I’m wondering if my health insurance will be intact a year from now. I know I’m not the only one, either – there are thousands of protests happening across the country, I’ve received more scared text messages than I have in a long time, and I have repeatedly wept with people who are fearing for their safety and rights.

This has been one mess of an election. Hundreds of hate crimes against different groups have happened since election night. The country is enormously divided and, to be honest, I’m not sure how we begin to bridge the divide on a large scale. However, a few of my most fabulous advocate friends and I have some ideas about bridging the divide on an interpersonal level. Huge thanks to Shannon Cheung, Hayley Cohen, Amanda Man, Allison Connelly, an anonymous journalist from a major scientific magazine, Kate Mitchell, Asheeka Desai, Sangeeta Sarkar, Lindsey Kayman, an anonymous lifestyle blogger, Seth Madison, an anonymous graduate student, Garrett Law, Agbo Ikor, Elizabeth Gonzalez, an anonymous animator, Estrella Sainburg, and Colleen Toole. I couldn’t have written this without you.

There are many people who are scared for their lives because of who is going to be the next president. There are people who have no idea why some are scared and want to know more. This article is for all of you and everyone in between. This is how you become a helper to communities that are terrified, as well as how to take care of yourself in this difficult time. It’s about who is scared, why they’re scared, and what you can do to show solidarity. Wearing a safety pin, although a beautiful gesture, isn’t going to be enough in these times. Let’s not make the same mistakes as bystanders in previous historical periods of crisis. Let’s not wait to help until it’s our group at risk and repeat history. Let’s get into gear now. Now is the time to arm yourself with knowledge and know that it’s absolutely okay to not be an expert. You can still be a source of strength. The worst thing to do right now is to be silent or even to make fun of people who are scared or protesting for being “whiny.” Show your love, compassion, and solidarity right now. That’s what matters.

If you are scared, know that you are loved and that I’m with you 100%.

This is the order of groups who will be talked about in this article: People of color (black, Native American, Latinx/Hispanic, and Asian), immigrants and refugees, LGBTQIA folks, disabled folks (with physical and/or mental illnesses), religious minorities (Muslims and Jews), women (especially survivors of sexual assault and those seeking reproductive healthcare), climate change fighters, and journalists. But before we get to those specific groups, I want to provide some basic resources: definitions, simple actions to take that transcend any one particular group, and self-care resources for people that are worried.

First, some definitions, in case you aren’t familiar with the lingo: What is privilege? | What is intersectionality? | What is rape culture? | What are racism and systemic racism? | What do the different letters in LGBTQIA stand for? | What is conversion therapy? | Free books about race, gender, sexuality, and class | Different kinds of flawed arguments (fallacies)

Second, some resources for taking actions that transcend any one particular group: How to report a hate crimeHow to call your representative (includes calling scripts, phone numbers, and everything else you could need) [and some tips on how to do it if you have social anxiety] | How to get your congressperson to listen to you Republican party survey about what you want to see happen in the first 100 Days | What to ask your local officials | How to stay safe at protests | How to organizeHow to make your activism intersectional | Companies to boycott | Basic kindness tips | Showing up for racial justice

Third, self-care resources for people that are worried: Concrete suggestions in preparation for January | Creating a bad moment bag | What are your different emotions telling you?Affirmations | Resources for anxiety | Resources for grief10 ways to look after your mental well-being | 101 self-care ideas | Self-care resourcesAlternatives to self-harmDifferent suicide hotline and textline phone numbers | How to call your representatives if you have social anxiety19 calm questions to ask people who voted differently from you | 12-step program for living in a Trump presidency | Proof that people can change (documentary on Netflix)Idea: donate even a dollar to different organizations each time that Trump does or says something harmful to a certain group

Now, onto the groups that are scared of a Trump presidency: why they’re scared, what you can do to show solidarity in words and deeds, and organizations you can volunteer at or donate to. 

People of color (black, Native American, Latinx/Hispanic, and Asian)

Black

Why they’re scared:
The KKK endorsed Trump for president.
Trump thinks that “stop and frisk” is a good policy, even though it was ruled unconstitutional because of how much it unfairly targeted people of color, especially black people. In addition, his comments about making America a nation of “law and order” again are likely coded language referring to people of color.
Trump has little respect for the strength of communities of color, as shown through his many comments about inner cities and rising crime rates (even though the crime rate continues to decrease).
Trump is notorious for housing discrimination, especially in his early career. 
Sentiments of white nationalism and “white pride” are on the rise at alarming rates. People are feeling viscerally empowered by Trump’s disturbing rhetoric.
Police brutality against black people makes people wonder if someone in their family or friend group is going to be the next viral hashtag calling for justice.
Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump’s pick for Attorney General, is infamous for his racism.
The number and nature of hate crimes since the election.

What you can do to show solidarity:
-Educate yourself about white privilege, racism, systemic racism, and why “black lives matter” needs to be said in 2016, even though we would love to think that we’re a post-racial nation.
Call your officials and ask them to have Trump denounce the KKK/Neo-Nazis/other white supremacists.
-Talk to other white people about racism; don’t leave all the work to communities of color. Here’s a guide to talking about race as an ally. Basically, don’t be silent.
-If you hear a racial slur, hateful language, discrimination, harassment, stereotypes, or racist jokes, say, at the very least, “That’s inappropriate.”
Learn how to leverage your white privilege.
Talk to your kids about race.
Understand why it’s important to say “black lives matter” instead of “all lives matter.” If you’re uncomfortable aligning yourself with the movement because of some of the other causes that they support or because of the ways that they protest, you can still say “black lives matter” and you can still respond appropriately when people say “all lives matter.”
-Share with black youth examples of black excellence so that they feel proud instead of ashamed.
-Do not push your friends to “give Trump a chance” or to believe that everything will be okay because it’s only 4 years.
-Listen to your friends. Ask them why they’re scared. Tell them you love them and stand by them.
Report hate crimes when you see them.

Organizations to donate to or volunteer at:
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)
Movement for Black Lives (#blacklivesmatter)

Native American

Why they’re scared:
There’s a big fight currently over the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Trump administration has said that they would support the building of it. Water protectors have been inhumanely treated as they’ve fought back against the breaking of yet another treaty.
-Well, look at American history and see how poorly we’ve treated Native Americans right from the beginning.

What you can do to show solidarity:
Learn about the #noDAPL movement.
If you have the ability to switch banks, switch to a bank that isn’t funding the Dakota Access Pipeline. If not, contact your bank and ask them to stop.
Make some calls to business and government stakeholders saying to respect the sacred lands.
-Do not push your friends to “give Trump a chance” or to believe that everything will be okay because it’s only 4 years.
Report hate crimes when you see them.

Organizations to donate to or volunteer at:
The Oceti Sakowin Camp
The Sacred Stone Legal Defense Fund
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Dakota Access Pipeline Donation Fund

Latinx/Hispanic

Why they’re scared:
Read Trump’s immigration plan.
-Many have friends or family members who are now at greater risk of being deported, or they may be undocumented themselves. Many undocumented immigrants came because of increased opportunities in the United States or because their lives were at risk in their home countries.
-Legal immigrants and people who were born in the United States are being stereotyped as well and being made to feel as though they don’t belong here, either. People don’t feel safe walking around their neighborhoods anymore, even though America may be the only home they’ve ever known.
The rhetoric that Trump has used from day one of his presidential campaign – conflating all Hispanic people with Mexicans (Hispanic people come from many different countries) and rapists and drug dealers – has emboldened white nationalists.
The number and nature of hate crimes since the election.

What you can do to show solidarity:
Fight back against English-only movements.
-Learn about Hispanic history in the context of American history. There are great podcasts about history that are way more fun than you might remember your history classes being.
-Remember that we are a nation of immigrants. Remember your own family history. When did you get here? How did America change your family’s lives? Have empathy for people who have felt so desperate to get to a safe space.
-Understand that it’s a privilege to be able to joke about moving to a different country now that Trump is president while we are so hesitant to accept refugees.
-Learn about cultures different from your own. Go to a Hispanic religious service. Learn a few Spanish phrases. Participate in cultural events.
-Stand up when you see injustice.
Call your officials and ask them to support amnesty and other immigration-friendly policies.
-Do not push your friends to “give Trump a chance” or to believe that everything will be okay because it’s only 4 years.
Report hate crimes when you see them.

Organizations to donate to or volunteer at:
The National Immigration Law Center
RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services)
National Immigrant Justice Center

Asian

Why they’re scared:
Read Trump’s immigration plan.
Many stories of racism since the election.
-There are many groups of political and religious refugees from East and Southeast Asia whose immigration status is either unclear or now in flux due to the next administration. Return to their countries of origin could be dangerous. Some of these folks are undocumented.
-Many immigrants from Asian countries are here on H-1B visas, which allow skilled foreign workers to work in the US for extended periods and can be a foot in the door for citizenship or permanent residency. With the anti-globalization and nationalist rhetoric of Trump’s campaign, as well as the campaign’s proposal to end, curb, or rewrite this system, people worry about their visas being in danger of being cut short or the program being cut entirely.
-The idea that foreign workers are stealing American jobs can lead to discrimination, harassment, and employment loss.
-Due to being seen as “the model minority,” Asian Americans with less privilege than some of their counterparts can be left out of important resources and conversations on a personal and national level. They feel left out of conversations about racism and class, and there’s a sense of not being Asian enough and also not being American enough – being an outsider from all angles. In addition, certain history lessons like Japanese internment camps, the building of the Transcontinental Railroad, “Yellow Peril,” and so on are now being more and more left out of discussion in schools.
-They are underrepresented at almost every level of politics and popular media, leaving Asian Americans vulnerable to policies and rhetoric that can negatively impact them.
-Trump’s anti-China rhetoric makes Chinese Americans feel at risk of being harassed simply because of their heritage.
-Sikhs are often the victims of Islamophobic hate crimes in the US.
Asian Americans are also very unlikely to seek mental healthcare, meaning that they’re possibly going through this season without help.

What you can do to show solidarity:
Fight back against lowering immigration quotas.
-Ask your Asian American friends how they’re holding up in this time and give them space to express their feelings. Talk to them about their mental health and ask what you can do to help.
-Go to an Asian American religious service and meet the community there. Tell them that they are welcome in America and that you are honored to be their neighbor.
-Do not push your friends to “give Trump a chance” or to believe that everything will be okay because it’s only 4 years.
Report hate crimes when you see them.

Organizations to donate to or volunteer at:
Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund
National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development

Immigrants and refugees

Why they’re scared:
Read Trump’s immigration plan. He wants to deport millions of people.
Trump’s immigration plans have huge biases against many groups, including Muslims.
-Many have friends or family members who are now at greater risk of being deported. Many of these undocumented immigrants came because of increased opportunities in the United States or because their lives were at risk in their home countries.
-Many immigrants no longer feel much connection to their country of origin or may have even been born here, so when someone tells them, “Go back!”, it indicates to them that they neither belong here nor there. It’s a sense of homelessness that’s hard to understand unless you’ve felt it yourself.
Trump’s isolationist and “America-first” foreign policy is highly unlikely to be friendly to those seeking refuge.
-Many immigrants are here on H-1B visas, which allow skilled foreign workers to work in the US for extended periods and can be a foot in the door for citizenship or permanent residency. With the anti-globalization and nationalist rhetoric of Trump’s campaign, as well as the campaign’s proposal to end, curb, or rewrite this system, people worry about their visas being in danger of being cut short or the program being cut entirely.

What you can do to show solidarity:
Learn about immigrants benefitting the economy.
Learn about what’s going on in Syria and in other countries that people are seeking asylum from.
-Donate to legal organizations that can file for U-Visas, asylum, and other petitions on behalf of clients. Much of the immigration work cannot be done without attorneys, and many of them don’t have the funds necessary for the number of cases they now have.
-Remember that we are a nation of immigrants. Remember your own family history. When did you get here? How did America change your family’s lives? Have empathy for people who have felt so desperate to get to a safe space.
-Understand that it’s a privilege to be able to joke about moving to a different country now that Trump is president while we are so hesitant to accept refugees.
-Tell your friends who are immigrants and refugees that you are thrilled that they are here in America and that you will do anything you can to help them feel more welcome.
-Ask your church to get involved in refugee resettlement efforts, remembering that Jesus Himself was a refugee.
-Sign petitions for your local universities to become sanctuary universities.
-Do not push your friends to “give Trump a chance” or to believe that everything will be okay because it’s only 4 years.
Report hate crimes when you see them.

Organizations to donate to or volunteer at:
-Oxfam
-Your area’s local refugee resettlement efforts
-Amnesty International
-American Refugee Committee
-Catholic Charities
-International Rescue Committee

LGBTQIA folks

Why they’re scared:
-Mike Pence is notorious for his policies against LGBTQIA rights and dignity. While Trump is known for being more friendly with LGBT+ folks, his pick of Mike Pence as his VP and his own flip-flopping on so many issues doesn’t sit well at all with the LGBT+ population. Mike Pence still advocates for conversion therapy, something that is dangerous, ineffective, and damaging to human dignity. He also has proposed to remove funds from HIV/AIDS support, which affects the LGBT+ population disproportionately. The medications for HIV/AIDS are incredibly expensive, meaning that if the Affordable Care Act does get repealed, these folks are at even a worse risk.
-Many other government officials that Trump is tapping for his new administration are notoriously homophobic and transphobic.
Bathroom bills that humiliate and put transgender folks at risk are likely to stay or even increase with the administration that’s coming in. Especially with the focus of small government advocates on states’ rights, this could get out of control.
The number and nature of hate crimes since the election.
-Though the country overwhelmingly supports same-sex marriage, Republicans tend to not, meaning that marriage equality could be at risk. Many of the judges that Trump is considering putting on the Supreme Court would seek to roll that back.
-Transgender folks getting hormone replacement therapy might not be able to if the Affordable Care Act is rolled back. In addition, they may no longer be able to legally change ID markers like their name. This is humiliating.
-The number of murders of transgender people each year is high, and with an administration that believes and legislates these opinions about the LGBT+ population, that number could increase dramatically.

What you can do to show solidarity:
Tell your LGBT+ friends that they’re not broken. If you’re from a religious background that has told you that queer people’s love interests are indeed broken, please at least find something kind to say, like “You are created in the image of God and God loves you” because that’s true, regardless of what you think.
-Tell them that they’re not alone and that the LGBT rights movement has had some incredibly strong figures who have come before them. Encourage them to follow some fighters on Twitter and Facebook and to join a local pride club. Listen to their stories and why they’re scared.
-Take time to educate yourself about what it means to be queer or have a non-binary gender.
-Move the public discourse of taking care of queer communities past just gay marriage. It’s so much more than that. Talk about non-discrimination laws not only for sexuality but gender identity. Talk about violence towards people who are queer, especially towards people who are transgender. Talk about stripping away access to healthcare related to the LGBTQIA community. Talk about Mike Pence’s stance on conversion therapy. Talk about access to needed legal avenues for the transgender community as well as healthcare.
-Avoid phrases like “that’s so gay” and tell others why they aren’t okay.
-Especially stand up for kids right now. If you are interested in helping to start online support groups for LGBTQIA+ youth (or know youth who might benefit from these groups), contact Parity.
-Do not push your friends to “give Trump a chance” or to believe that everything will be okay because it’s only 4 years.
Report hate crimes when you see them.

Organizations to donate to or volunteer at:
-Lambda Legal
-Planting Peace
-Trevor Project
-Transgender Law Center
-Local pride center and local LGBTQIA youth support programs
-Local homeless or domestic violence shelters that serve folks of all gender and sexual identities
-Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund
-Trans Lifeline
Help fund trans ID changes

Disabled folks (with physical and/or mental illnesses)

Why they’re scared:
Trump mocks disabled people. And it hasn’t happened just once.
-The repeal of the Affordable Care Act that Trump has been promising and could actually get through because of the fact that both the Senate and House are now Republican majorities would be absolutely disastrous for disabled people.
1. ACA made it so that insurance companies couldn’t discriminate based on pre-existing conditions. Here’s a list of some conditions that used to prevent people from getting or being able to pay for their insurance, and now this could become a huge problem once again. Trump has promised to keep this aspect of it, but how will they pay for these higher risk plans without the presence of the lower risk plans that the personal insurance mandate has made possible?
2. ACA made it so that people could stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26. Again, Trump has promised to keep this aspect of it, but again, how will they pay for it?
3. Many chronic conditions cost thousands of dollars to care take of a month, and that’s with good insurance.
Trump plans to slash the main sources of disability and aging services funding.
Trump would likely fight for a cure for autism rather than better educational accommodations and assistive technology. In addition, he linked autism to vaccines, a long-disproven claim.
Police brutality against disabled people is well-documented, and it’s unlikely that Trump would push for meaningful police reform because of his endorsement from the Fraternal Order of Police.
-The Americans with Disabilities Act is likely to be weakened, meaning that there are fewer safeguards against discrimination.
-Trump has proposed weakening patient privacy, meaning that it could be easier for relatives and other outsiders to get private health information without permission.
Trump believes that mental illnesses is a sign of weakness, shown by his comments about veterans with PTSD. This is triggering to all sorts of folks, including survivors of assault and abuse.

What you can do to show solidarity:
Sign up for insurance on the Healthcare Marketplace, especially if you’re a young, uninsured, healthy millennial looking for an affordable plan. You could literally save a life in doing so, and it might be your own. Your support of the ACA is especially necessary right now. Do not avoid getting insurance.
Call your officials and tell them you’re worried about the healthcare reforms that Republicans are proposing because they’ll be more expensive and less inclusive.
-Tell your friends that you believe them when they say they’re sick (chronically ill), even if you can’t see it or fully understand it. Ask them how you can help them manage their condition and balance their life better. Learn about how to help them in little and big ways.
-Tell them they have a right to healthcare and that they aren’t a burden on the system. Check out this great letter from doctors for some examples of words of encouragement.
Educate yourself about ableism and what it it’s like to live with a chronic condition.
Educate yourself about invisible illnesses and disabilities.
Make space for disabled folks in your activism by making it intersectional and accessible. Don’t forget to include them.
Remove ableist vocabulary from your language. Fight back when others use inappropriate vocabulary or make fun of someone because of their disability.
Become a patient advocate.
-Fight mental health stigma. For example, don’t blame mental illness on a lack of strength.
-Listen to stories. Believe them. Empathize.
-Advocate for accessibility in any building that you work, play, learn, or worship in.
-Do not push your friends to “give Trump a chance” or to believe that everything will be okay because it’s only 4 years.
Report hate crimes when you see them.

Organizations to donate to or volunteer at:
-Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
-Autism Self Advocacy Network
-Cancer Research Institute
-Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
-Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
-American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
-Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF)
-VOR
-National Suicide Hotline or Crisis Text Line

Religious minorities (Muslims and Jews)

Muslims

Why they’re scared:
Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the U.S. is, to be honest, terrifying. This would mean that family members of Muslim citizens could not visit relatives, Muslim citizens may not be able to leave the country.
Trump has also called for a Muslim registry. There is little in recent memory to compare this to other than Japanese Internment Camps, which one of his supporters said was a constitutional precedent for why this is a good move right now.
The number and nature of hate crimes since the election.
The number of hate crimes in 2015 were the highest since 9/11.
Certain states are trying to limit religious freedoms such as wearing hijabs.
-Trump’s rhetoric surrounding Muslims (and frankly, much of America equating Muslims with terrorists) leaves Muslim Americans fearful for their safety. To say that every Muslim is a terrorist is extremely flawed logic – that would be like trying to make the argument that every white person is part of the KKK or that every Christian is a part of the Westboro Baptist Church.
-Trump’s highly pro-Israel stance and his possible choice of Mike Huckabee as his Ambassador to Israel – someone who doesn’t believe that Palestinians are a people group – could be truly devastating to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and any chance of a two-state solution.

What you can do to show solidarity:
Call your officials and tell them that you’re horrified by the Islamophobic language and policies of the new president and his administration.
-Learn how to say “asalam ‘alaykum,” a statement of peace and greeting.
-Register as a Muslim if there is a registry eventually.
-Go to a mosque sometime and meet people.
Learn how to intervene in anti-Muslim harassment.
-Wear a hijab if it becomes illegal in places like Georgia.
-Host interfaith events at your religious organization.
-Do not push your friends to “give Trump a chance” or to believe that everything will be okay because it’s only 4 years.
Report hate crimes when you see them.

Organizations to donate to or volunteer at:
-Muslim Advocates
-Your local Islamic Center
-Local interfaith organizations

Jews

Why they’re scared:

The number and nature of hate crimes since the election. There are Swastikas being drawn all over the country.
-The choice of Steve Bannon to high government ranks. He is known for anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry. The alt-right movement that he is a face of is known for having white nationalist sentiments and many white nationalists in it.
-The Holocaust is always present in the minds of the Jewish community. Many of the groups that Trump has emboldened throughout his campaign, including the KKK, Neo-Nazis, alt-right participants, and others have terrible things to say about Jews and often act on their hatred. This is just one video of people using the language of “Mein Kampf” to talk about the white struggle in the Trump era.
-Jewish Americans are the most likely recipients of religious-based hate crimes.
Trump’s constant reference to the “liberal media” is a reference to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which was fictional work of propaganda that claimed Jews ran the world or at least were conspiring to take it over.
There has been a rise in anti-Semitic language and other overt acts of anti-Semitism, and there are campaigns on Twitter to isolate Jewish journalists.

What you can do to show solidarity:
Casual anti-Semitism is a huge problem that often goes uncorrected. From telling people they look Jewish because they have bigger noses or curly hair to claiming that Jews run Hollywood or the world banks, these comments come from a place of misinformation and stereotyping. These comments are often tolerated by non-Jews as truths. If you hear someone saying something like that, call them out, saying “That’s inappropriate.” If you say something anti-Semitic, whether to a Jew or non-Jew and it was totally unintentional, apologize as soon as your realize what you did.
Partner with a local synagogue to advocate for the rights of all people.
Understand that someone can be pro-Israel but also anti-Semitic.
-Read about the history of the Holocaust and some of the amazing things that people did to show solidarity then. Ask yourself how we can avoid repeating the past and how we can apply this incredible sense of solidarity to all who are scared right now.
-Do not push your friends to “give Trump a chance” or to believe that everything will be okay because it’s only 4 years.
Report hate crimes when you see them.

Organizations to donate to or volunteer at:
-Anti-Defamation League (ADL)
-Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)
-Hebrew Immigration Aid Society (HIAS)

Women (especially survivors of sexual assault and those seeking reproductive healthcare)

Survivors of sexual assault* (this is not to say that there are no survivors of sexual assault of other genders – I’m just lifting up women in particular because of the tone of this election. These tools are useful for being in solidarity with survivors of all genders and backgrounds, however).

Why they’re scared:
-A man with sexual assault allegations in the double digits is going to be our president. These allegations include an allegation from a 13-year-old, who dropped the lawsuit due to a threat against her life.
-When he denied the allegations, he said he would sue his accusers and that they weren’t even attractive enough to rape.
-This means the president elect is a living reminder of rape culture that thrives in the United States. He reminds millions of people of the people who violated them and got away with it, including the author of this blog, who is one of the 97% of people whose rapists never see a day in jail.
There is an infamous tape of Trump saying that he’ll grab someone by the pussy. And now that he’s president, many women around the country have been grabbed by Trump voters who live in a country with a president that’s done the same thing. The president is a role model, whether or not the president is a person with a character worthy of being modeled after.
Title IX is likely to be at risk with the Trump administration. This affects survivors at schools in particular.
-Some of Trump’s financial backers and possible government administrators support the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which encourages rapists all over the country to sue the schools that punish them. It also pushes for higher evidentiary standards to be applied to these cases, and it’s very difficult already to get “enough” evidence to make a case. (Trigger warning: I had a concussion and it wasn’t “enough”). There’s also a lawsuit against the Department of Education.
-Many hardline Republicans do not make space for rape, incest, and risk of health as exceptions in their pro-life stances. In addition, Trump has promised to appoint justices who will go back on Roe v. Wade, a landmark legislation that legalized abortions nationwide. This could mean that people would have to travel even farther to get abortions, including to other states.

What you can do to show solidarity:
Follow these basic tips about showing your love and solidarity.
-Humanize women. Don’t just stand up for survivors because they’re “someone’s daughter, sister, or mother.” They’re people in their own right. Talk about them like that.
-Avoid victim-blaming or slut-shaming talk. Learn about things you should never ask a survivor.
-Tell your survivor friends that you think his behavior is abhorrent. Do not write it off as locker room talk, as he’s tried to do.
-Learn about consent and how to be an active participant rather than a bystander in dangerous moments.
-Learn about rape culture and fight it. Acknowledge that what Trump says and does is rape culture, defined.
-Stop people who are making rape jokes.
-Don’t spread false notions of accusers being liars. It does not have a higher percentage of false reporting than that seen with any other crime.
Learn why someone might choose not to report sexual assault.
-Believe survivors unequivocally and tell them you do.
Do not slut-shame Melania Trump for her past.
-Volunteer and protest. Loudly.
-Do not push your friends to “give Trump a chance” or to believe that everything will be okay because it’s only 4 years.
Report hate crimes when you see them.

Organizations to donate to or volunteer at:
-Your local domestic violence shelter or rape crisis center
-The Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
-Futures Without Violence
-Polaris Project
-V-Day
-Children’s Defense Fund
-Distributing Dignity
-Just Detention International (JDI)
-Network for Victim Recovery of DC (NVRDC)
-Atlanta Women for Equality (AWE)

Women seeking reproductive healthcare

Why they’re scared:
-No one knows what will happen to the accessibility of birth control. In fact, many are rushing to get it right now because of that.
Trump’s tax plan will affect single parents terribly.
-Repealing the Affordable Care Act, which mandates insurance companies must cover FDA-approved birth control methods, has been a strong point of Trump’s campaign and looks to be part of his first hundred days as president.
He could also strike the entire list of no-cost preventative health services, including testing for STIs and HIV, annual well visits with gynecologists, and breastfeeding supplies.
-Trump has promised to appoint justices who will go back on Roe v. Wade, a landmark legislation that legalized abortions nationwide. This could mean that people would have to travel even farther to get abortions, including to other states.
-Many hardline Republicans do not make space for rape, incest, and risk of health as exceptions in their pro-life stances.

What you can do to show solidarity:
Learn why birth control is important. It’s not just for reducing chances of pregnancy.
-Fight for $0 birth control to continue to be part of our healthcare system (thanks Obama!).
-Sit with people in your life who need to make these challenging decisions and provide them an open space, mind, and heart.
-Thank your local reproductive health center workers. They get a lot of flak for the work they do – many protests and few thanks.
If you believe abortion is immoral, make sure to get your church to create funds for young and pregnant soon to be single moms, support groups for single parents where they can be loved and supported without the stigma that often accompanies single parenthood or young parenthood. Also, know that many people do have sex before marriage and that they should have cheap or free access to birth control.
Learn the reasons why someone would choose to get an abortion to increase your empathy and understanding.
-Do not push your friends to “give Trump a chance” or to believe that everything will be okay because it’s only 4 years.
Report hate crimes when you see them.

Organizations to donate to or volunteer at:
-Planned Parenthood
-Guttmacher Institute
-Feminist Majority Foundation
-Center for Reproductive Rights
-EMILY’s List

Climate change fighters

Why they’re scared:
Trump’s administration’s energy policies are not generally in favor of clean energy.
Trump does not believe in global warning, and has picked a climate skeptic to lead the EPA.
-The Dakota Access Pipeline, something that was shut down in a different area of North Dakota a while back because of drinking water contamination fears, is likely to be signed into place by Trump. The Keystone Pipeline would also be signed into place.
Trump wants to get out of the most recently global climate deal.
Climate change disproportionately affects people of color and future generations.
-They are scared that Americans won’t have a home very soon. Many already do not as a result of climate change displacement. Their call to action to work together for a common home transcends economic, racial, gender, faith, and nationality.
If we don’t take care of the environment now and take steps to reduce our carbon footprint, we will be in terrible shape. Food supplies will be endangered, extreme weather events will become more frequent and serious, ecosystems will be stressed and destroyed, marine life will be endangered, sea levels will rise and affect a large portion of the world’s population that lives on the coasts, and so on.

What you can do to show solidarity:
-Do research so that you can have educated conversations with climate change skeptics. It affects much more than just our community or country – this affects the entire world.
-Do not push your friends to “give Trump a chance” or to believe that everything will be okay because it’s only 4 years. 

Organizations to donate to or volunteer at:
-Environmental Defense Fund
-Conservation Fund
-Union of Concerned Scientists
-Sierra Club

Journalists

Why they’re scared:
Trump, throughout his campaign and even now as he is president-elect, has a notorious distaste for the First Amendment’s safeguarding of freedom of the press and for certain publications. He blacklisted many news outlets over the course of his campaign. He has indicated a desire to limit freedom of the press.
Some of the things that were said and done at Trump rallies were disturbing.

What you can do to show solidarity:
Subscribe to news outlets you trust. Pick at least one national paper and a local or regional paper. Monetary support is important because digital ads are only a small revenue source and chasing those dollars leads to destructive editorial decisions, such as clickbait. Increased subscription revenue gives outlets room to pursue the journalism that matters.
1. Try to read centrist papers – look at how bad the divisions are in what different Americans read.
2. These are some papers and websites to avoid because they’re sensationalized or even fake.
3. Here are papers that people read and where they lie on an ideological spectrum.
4. How – and why – to become a global citizen.
Donate to and vocally support outlets that defend press freedoms because it’s absolutely vital that civil society defend the press against any government overreach.
-Share journalism you trust and respect with your friends, family, and peers. Outlets live or die by their stories getting out there.
-Write to journalists. Tell them that their work is appreciated. Tell them that it inspires you. They get a lot of flak in the comments because outrage is a much more powerful commenting motivator than satisfaction at a job well done.
-Call your legislator if any policies come down the pipelines that threaten press freedoms.
-Do not push your friends to “give Trump a chance” or to believe that everything will be okay because it’s only 4 years. 

Organizations to donate to or volunteer at:
-ACLU
-SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists)
-International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (of “Panama Papers” fame)
-The Center for Public Integrity
-ProPublica.org
-The Center for Investigative Reporting

Thank you so much for reading and learning more about how to show solidarity, my friend. May you be empowered by the information you take in and the actions you take.

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah , even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.” – Quran 4:135

“(Lead us) from the unreal to the real,
From darkness to light,
From death to immortality,
Peace peace peace.” – Brihadarnyaka Upanishad

“Radiate boundless love towards the entire world.” – Buddha

But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” – Amos 5:24 (NIV)

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8 (NIV)

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

7 thoughts on “How to Support Others During Uncertain Political Times: A Primer for People of All Political Parties

  1. This is a very thorough list. Thank you for including people with disabilities on it (I have a disability myself, and it seems as though the only time people remember those with disabilities is to tack on the phrase at the end of a statement, to make themselves sound politically correct. But most people do not realize that the ADA was only passed in the 1990s and that discrimination still exists.)

    One thing I would change, is that if you are against abortion, please do not support Planned Parenthood. Abortion is 3% of their services, but they include every little service in that count, even those that are very inexpensive, so much more than 3% of the funding goes to abortion. PP offers fewer and fewer cancer screenings each year, while performing more abortions. I think the government should fund other, non-controversial groups for women that do not include abortion. For example, there are many cancer societies in America that already offer cancer screenings, so the government could fund one of those, as well as another nonprofit organization that offers other non-abortion services for women. Or the government could funnel those funds into improving the healthcare system and providing subsidies for low-income citizens.

    Like

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