Over the last eight years, I’ve pretty much shied away from posting about politics on So About What I Said — not because I wasn’t passionate or an engaged citizen, but because I didn’t really know how to go about it. Honestly, I didn’t know where to start. Well, if the world seemed heavy then, it feels downright overbearing these day. Right now, I feel so overwhelmed by everything and just turning on the news can send me into a tailspin on despair. So. Much. Is. Happening. What are some ways to get involved right now? What are some things we all can do that will make a huge difference? And, where do we go from here?
Those are the questions that made me realize I needed to do this post. Today. Right now. Because some things are bigger than worrying that what you do won’t be enough. There is a time to stand up and take action. This is one of those times. So, with that in mind, here are 5 ways you can get involved and make your voice heard right now…
Write to Your Representatives
Just like voting, letting those in power know exactly how we feel is one of our biggest duties as citizens, so get out those envelopes and stamps or start drafting an email to send to those who are responsible for forming policies and laws — this could be at the local, state and federal levels. Remember Winona from a few years ago? She recently spent an afternoon making notecards full of Mike Pence and Paul Ryan’s hypocritical tweets — you can even download them to send on your own! Also, check out Making 5 Calls for a list of local representative by zip code to send feedback on the issues that matter most to you.
Donate, Donate, Donate
There are literally thousands of organizations doing so much amazing works, but with looming cuts to federal and state programs, your support now means more than ever. What are some social issues you’re passionate about? Find an organization and donate today. I just donated to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood today, and here are 28 timely charities to donate to right now.
Stay Informed — and Support the Press/News Media
My journalism background is probably coming out with this one, but this is something I’m obviously extremely passionate about. The press has such a storied history and is a central part of the woven fabric of America. Journalists need to be supported so they can continue to tell the stories that matter most, so consider staying informed with a newspaper subscription (USA Today is one of my favorites for a solid overview of everything that’s going on) and don’t forget about your local newspaper. Also, thanks to technology, there are some amazing email newsletters out there that deliver a daily digest on the go, like actionnow, Resistable and Signal Boost. Bonus: These four newsletters are all run by women, from activists to journalists!
Plus, the Washington Post just announced that they’re expanding their PowerPost team that covers D.C. decision-makers by introducing three new daily newsletters, highlighting financial services sector and economic policy, healthcare policy and energy and environmental policy. I also just signed up for 5-Minute Fix, their daily newsletter for keeping up with politics. Remember, knowledge is power!
Get Involved in Local Politics/Volunteer
Beyond financial support, there are a variety of ways that you can give back on a regular basis. My mom and I volunteer at our church — she contributes to the local homeless shelter and I create our church’s newsletter. My sister also volunteers every Thursday morning at the local food bank. These local ripples will surely make big waves!
And, don’t discount the value of getting involved in local politics. My friend Kori is heavily involved in local government, and as she says, “Volunteer for a campaign (on a regular basis), run for office, contact legislators. I would also like to see more people get involved with local governments because they can make a big difference there over night. And not just negative stuff, people come out when they hate things but it is just as important to share positive ideas for programs or initiatives that can be done.”
Find Protests In Your Area
The Women’s March may be over, but the fight has just begun. Find a march in your area and get to it — there’s a lot of work to be done, but coming together is an outstanding first step (no pun intended).
Overall, what’s so important to remember is that NOTHING is too small. No gesture is insignificant when it comes to enacting change. We do have the power to change the world, but it’s going to take all of us working together.
As my mom’s been saying lately, “We must remain vigilant.” This is so true! So stand up. Fight for what’s right. Speak up when you see misogyny, racism, oppression, etc. The world we’re living in right now? It’s not normal and never will be. Let’s be the change we wish to see in the world. And of course… #BeBraveBeYou
[Illustration via Join the Uproar]