Nearly 3 million people took to the streets on Saturday January 21st for the Women’s March on Washington and its sister marches across the country. This was not only the largest inaugural protest but also the largest civil demonstration in American history. As one popular tweeter declared: “Sorry Mr. Trump, THIS is what a populist movement looks like”.
Saturday represented an incredible moment of pride and hope for many of us. However, populist movements are not built on one march alone. It is absolutely critical that as individuals, communities, and as a nation we capitalize on this action-oriented momentum, continue to advocate for our beliefs, and organize to create change.
We’re in this for the long haul and it is essential we mobilize to prevent more damage. Midterm elections are just 650 days away. That’s Tuesday, November 6, 2018—mark your calendars now. More than ever civic engagement, and robust discussions are necessary for us to mend the rifts in our country and push forward a progressive political platform. The change starts with us, the people, joining together for grassroots movements. With that said, RHIG presents your activist toolkit. We’ve outlined a number of actions you can take, both big and small, that will make a real difference (even if you live in the progressive bastion that is California).
Toolkit to being the best advocate EVER during the Trump Presidency
- Seriously, mark your calendars for Tuesday, November 6, 2018 and remember to vote. Even better, mark a reminder for sometime in the summer of 2018 to make sure you’re registered to vote and to remind family and friends to register. If you’re a California voter you can check your registration status right here.
- Pick two. Pick two causes you care about to focus your efforts. Impact comes from focus. This will also help you avoid activist fatigue.
- Reach out to your local community and volunteer. Find an organization in your community whose mission you are passionate about and ask how you can best be of service to them. Better yet…find a volunteer activity that involves reaching youth. Help foster the next generation of activists by volunteering as a big brother or sister, getting involved in peer mentoring, or talking to youth in your community
- Try swinging…as in, politically. Get involved in swing states and swing districts to make a difference where it has the most impact. The entire House of Representatives, a third of the Senate, and many state Governors are up for reelection in 2018 – and most are democratic seats. We have an incredible opportunity to take control back in Congress and a responsibility to at least maintain our current levels of representation. Find your closest swing district and get information about being a volunteer here: https://swingleft.org/ (FYI – Keep an eye out for announcements from RHIG; we’re working on getting some partnerships going with public health schools in Nevada and Arizona.)
- Use your expertise to write op-eds and publish them in local papers. Here’s a quick guide on how to get started.
- Put your money to work for you. The threat to defund Planned Parenthood is absolutely real. But do you know what else is real? Private donors. The power of private donors is incredible and, truly, even $5 goes a long way. Pick a cause and make a recurring monthly donation of $5, $10, or more! Even graduate students can afford that! Here is a list of just some organizations that can use your help. Even if you can’t afford a contribution you can absolutely withhold your money from companies that support Trump. Boycott Trump is a free app to help you determine what companies have a connection to Trump.
- Lobby your representatives on Capitol Hill. Population Connection Action Fund holds an annual advocacy training event in Washington D.C. and, if you’re a student, you can go for free. Check out their website for more information. RHIG and The Bixby Center are also prepared to offer help for students to attend. If you are interested you can email UCLARHIG@gmail.com.
- Join the Women’s March organizers in their 10 Actions for the First 100 Days campaign. The first action is simply to send a postcard to your Senator telling them what issues are most important to you. Consider hosting a postcard writing party for friends and family, postcard downloads are available online. You can also sign up for their email list to keep up to date on the next 9 actions.
- Don’t shy away from difficult conversations with conservatives you love. Remember to keep your conversations positive – we are all human beings even if we don’t always share the same perspective. If you need a little help, check out this Tedx talk, with social psychologist Robb Willer, on how to have better political conversations. Remember to always lead with “empathy and respect”.
- Organize often. March, protest, show up and occupy physical space when you can on the issue you care about. Engage your friends and family, make the fight feel good by getting everyone excited. The next march is April 15th for Trump to release his taxes! Get ready!
BONUS STEP: Share this toolkit with friends and family. We all know the frustration of wanting to help and not knowing how. Start sharing these ideas, or some new ones of your own, and let’s get to work!