After The Women’s March: What To Do Now?

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On Saturday, January 21st, hundreds of thousands of women all over the world came out to march in opposition to the incoming Donald Trump administration and the threats to civil liberties that they feel it represents. But the Women’s March On Washington was so much more than a statement of political defiance. It was also a vibrant and powerful look at a population that won’t be bullied and who will give voices to the voiceless, who just happened to come together as the largest demonstration in United States history.

With that said, though, Saturday ended, the crowds dispersed, and many have been left to wonder what comes next. After all, regressive policies that leave many LGBTQIA individuals, people of color, women, and their allies worried aren’t just capable of being launched from the White House. They can spring up in statehouses and townhalls at any time. So with that desire to be heard firmly in mind, here are a few suggestions that’ll help to keep the spark alive until the next march.

Use Your Voice

While it’s easy to vent your frustrations on Twitter or with an angry Facebook post before trying to distract yourself, there are easy ways to resist that urge and really make your voice be heard. In the immediate future, one of the most practical solutions is to contact your elected representatives. Their information is online, so it’s as easy as a phone call to make it clear where you stand on the issues. Phones ringing off the hook in an office get noticed. They can’t be easily ignored.

In their effort to keep people active in these causes, the Women’s March suggested sending postcards to your representatives, which makes sense. While shooting off an email might be the easiest option, it is much easier to channel any unwanted contact into a spam folder. A physical letter or a fax bears weight. It’s hard to ignore a growing pile on a desk.

However, the most important thing you can do is vote, and not just in Presidential elections. Vote for your local officials, because politics starts on the ground floor and these elections can have massive impacts on your communities. Additionally, don’t ignore the vote for the House of Representatives in 2018 and candidates that speak to your concerns.

It’s important to remember that being a member of Congress is a job, and people who don’t do their jobs correctly shouldn’t keep them. The Congressional balance of power is not immune to being shaken up. It’s happened before and there are surely moderate members of Congress who are watching and waiting to see if this march becomes a movement that they can join in an effort to follow the crowd and keep their job.

Use Your Time

I get it. You’re busy, but even a few hours here and there can make a difference. By making an impact on the community level, you’re doing your part to help make this country truly great. Volunteering at organizations like food banks, libraries, suicide hotlines, shelters, and after-school programs does a world of good on a local level and it’s a pushback against policies that seem to devalue compassion. Websites like Volunteer Match can help you find an organization that could use your particular skills and passions.

You can also volunteer your time especially around elections, working to ensure that everyone is registered to vote. In his farewell speech, Obama encouraged everyone to do their part, saying:

“If something needs fixing, then lace up your shoes and do some organising. If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself. Show up, dive in, stay at it.”

Whether you’re checking IDs at the voting stations or shuttling people to the polls, every little bit helps. You could even take it a step further and become a grassroots community organizer and start your own march or run for local office. Take the lesson from the Tea Party revolution and let your outrage carry you to the halls of power. It won’t be easy, but participation has always been necessary for success.

Use Your Money

Do you need that venti latte every morning? Another subscription service? Putting your money where your mouth is is one of the most practical ways to help foment change. No matter the reason you marched on Saturday, there is an organization that you can donate to that is going to feel the burden of these times. Organizations like the NAACP, Planned Parenthood, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Council On American-Islamic Relations, and the American Friends Service Committee all work in direct opposition to Trump’s proposed policies, so donating to causes you are passionate about is a great way to help the things you care about.

Use Your Mind

One of the defining elements of the 2016 election was the rapid release of misinformation and fake news. A key weapon in your arsenal is an informed mind, so read as much as possible. Check your sources and then check them again. Awareness is the first step to instituting change, and the only real ally is an informed one. A few minutes spent researching the issues when the latest Trump tweet-storm comes through can make a world of difference in your personal understanding. Education is key to progress, and it certainly doesn’t stop when you leave the classroom. However, that education is nothing without a support system. While there is sure to be disagreement at times, it’s important to push your friends and families to use their voices as well. Feeling like your screaming into the void can be discouraging, so ensuring that you’ve got people there to pick you up and help you fight is essential.

There are already ample efforts to distract from the impact that was made by the Women’s March. “Alternative facts” and a seemingly ever-present stream of tweets and statements are a key weapon in this disinformation war, and it’s important to not let ourselves, politicians, and the press lose sight of what’s real and what needs to stay in the news and on our minds.