I’m writing this today because I need to keep track of how I’m resisting the efforts of this administration to undo the hard work that’s improved health care and the economy and equal rights for so many. It’s not enough to talk about the fight: we need resistance and accountability. I need to make lists of my efforts so I’m not just telling myself that I’m fighting for equality and for access to health care and public schools and clean water and other basic human necessities. Talk is cheap. What have I done to back up my intentions?
I have called or emailed (often both!) my Senators and my Congressman daily. They have already made their disagreement with Trump’s agenda very clear, often putting out public statements against his nominees and his hasty and bigoted Executive Orders before I’ve even had a chance to ask them to speak out. I call anyway, to thank them and to share stories about why their votes matter to me and my family.
I contacted my professional organization, asking them to make a public statement condemning the immigration ban.
I have been sharing the This Week in Autocracy spreadsheet on Facebook, hoping that others can use it to investigate news stories and find new ways they can safely protest and resist this administration.
I’ve followed more voices from minority communities on Twitter, so I can try and learn to listen, and to understand how I am helping – or hurting – with the choices I make.
I wrote a dozen letters to local Islamic centers and mosques, telling them that they have friends here who will fight for their rights and freedoms.
I signed up to volunteer for Lawyers for Good Government, who have been fighting the immigration ban and providing legal counsel to those who were detained in airports across the country when the ban was enacted. I haven’t been contacted yet, but at least I’m on their list if they need me.
I contacted my county executive, asking him to reconsider his veto of a local bill which would have made my area a “sanctuary” county where police couldn’t harass or detain people on suspicion of illegal immigration status. I also contacted my representative on the county council and thanked her for voting for the bill even though she knew it couldn’t pass the veto.
I bought Organizing for Social Change after writing to my local library asking that they purchase copies for their collection. And I’ve been reading it, and I’m examining my budget to try and make it possible for me to attend a related workshop in Baltimore next fall. It’s a longshot, especially trying to collect enough vacation time for the week-long event, but you never know.
Am I doing enough? Oh, of course not. I should be attending local meetings, doing more research into local and state politics, and planning to attend rallies and protests. I should be donating more money to groups doing the hard work. But I’m human, and there are only so many hours in a day and only so much energy in my body and money in my wallet. I sometimes need to remind myself that even little things count. I am small, and my actions are only the tiniest of ripples in this ocean. But ripples can make waves. We are many, and our actions are more powerful together.
Tell me: what are you doing to resist? How are you finding ways to fit activism into your life without completely sacrificing your mental and physical health?
Thank you for this, Jen.
Friends and strangers are feeling so much like this right now (I know I am!), and this is a read we need when we’re also asking ourselves: “am I doing enough?”
There’s no “enough,” you’re right. There’s always more effort to be made, because there’s always more injustice and pain.
Here’s what else I think, though, for all of us, and reading your piece helped it crystallize: You are doing enough! Because you are making real, personal, pointed efforts to regularly improve life in your community and our nation. That is all one person can do and still feed their family, connect with friends, and stay sane. And it’s a lot to accomplish!
You’re also doing enough because you are not doing any of this alone. Our combined efforts have already proven powerful. They give me so much hope.