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.
“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.”