If like me, you are firmly planted on the left of politics, you are probably despairing at the moment. Trump has been in power for 13 days & he’s already making terrifying changes. It’s easy to feel far away & powerless, especially when you have a disability. However, the truth is there is lots we can all do & it’s essential that everyone does what they can.
The most obvious sign of dissent are protests. Taking to the streets & making your opposition clear can be very powerful. I know this can be difficult & sometimes down right impossible for those with disabilities. The most important thing is not to feel guilty about missing protests. You have to put your health first. You can still engage with the movement by sharing details and pictures of marches on social media. If you can manage for 10 or 20 mins, go for that time only. Every little bit counts.
Southern Poverty Law Centre is an organisation that fights intolerance. The monitor & inform the public of hate groups, help the most vulnerable seek justice, educate communities to reduce prejudice & much more. Racists & extremists are emboldened in the current climate, funding a group like this pushes back.
American Civil Liberties Union defends freedom of expression & equal rights for all. The first weeks of this new administration have already shown signs of hostility towards free press. Rumoured changes to laws protecting the LBGTQ community are very worrying. Now more than ever a group that can fight injustice through the courts is required.
Planned Parenthood Aims to provide affordable health & reproductive care to all women (& others who need their services). Along with vital access to contraceptives and abortion PP also offer sex education, sti testing,smear tests & breast exams. With a president on record as believing that people who have an abortion should be punished, this safe access must be preserved. The entirety of PP’s services save & improve incalculable lives. It is an essential organisation.
There are of course many other charities worthy of your support. From refugee orgs to LBGTQ rights groups, there are no shortage of worthy non profits. Anything you can give will help. If eveyone gave even 50p it would make a massive difference. Having said that, I know not eveyone has any money to spare. Again, you can help by sharing groups on social media & getting their message to a wider audience.
Try to engage with bigotry in your own friendship/family groups. Trust me I know how infuriating this can be. It hurts so much more to discover someone you care about holds these vile beliefs , but some folk can be saved from the dark side. Know your history & use it. There are so many similarities to be drawn between the period between the world wars & the period after the financial crisis. For example the conditions in Germany during the Weimer Republic helped to create an environment for Hitler to flourish in. Compare Trump’s strategies to that of Hitler’s, the parallels are frightening. Learn about American history, having an understanding of it’s story helps to illustrate what is so wrong about modern racism, xenophobia misogyny. Do remember it is also ok to withdraw. If someone stubbornly sticks with toxic views, you are entirely with your rights to ditch them
Share your message in as many forums as possible. Share articles & graphics on social media. Join local political groups, help distribute leaflets or raise funds if your health allows. Talk about your opinions on the ‘alt right’ on your blog or in your art. Make your voice heard in any way you can. Their is value in solidarity, it is massively comforting to know one is not alone.
Last, but absolutely not least, do not forget about what’s happening at home. Post brexit Britain is no picnic; hate crimes have seen a 40% increase since the referendum. Our government is purposely defunding the NHS & cuts in benefits for the most vulnerable members of society are ongoing. There is work to be done here too. Write to your Mp about important votes & any issues you feel are critical. Apply all of the suggestions above when fighting on the home front.
Finally, support local charities too. This month I’m turning my charitable attentions to Refuweegee. They are committed to ensuring refugees arriving in Glasgow receive a warm Glaswegian welcome. You can donate money or goods & even write a nice letter for our new arrivals.
Go forth & fight the good, inclusive fight!