Enthusiastically, I decided to make November, The Giving Issue, primarily due out of a lack of complacency and a desire to get out and about here in Austin and meet new people, and while I can say my intention was clear, motivation is an entirely different thing. Since the presidential election, which is a whopping two years ago already, I have been through stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and the fifth one, acceptance, has been a somewhat reluctant pill for me to swallow.
So, instead of continually sitting on the sidelines listening to the decisive rhetoric of this administration, we need to band together now, more than ever, to change the current narrative that is playing out in our country. Basically, the work is not over, even after the midterms, it’s time to strap into your Vetements Star Boots and march into volunteering like the stylish mother fudging activist you are.
Below, are a few key points to getting out there and sparking your activism.
1. Get Off Your Booty & Volunteer!
One of the first steps is to really take some time to assess and ask yourself what you are passionate about? Is there something that you connect with—tutoring kids, working at a nursing home, the environment, escorting at an abortion clinic, mentoring teens, LGBTQIA+—find a cause and commit.
There are also really easy sites that volunteer can help you find the proper volunteer opportunity for you, like, volunteermatch.org or this one prodded by the U.S. government. https://www.usa.gov/volunteer
My personal favorite is Volunteer Match, it basically is like a dating site for volunteering and helps you connect locally and globally in whatever way possible. I will say, sometimes, organizations take a minute or two to get back to you, so don’t throw in the towel if you don’t hear back right away.
2. Donate to A Cause
If you don’t have a lot of time and are jam-packed with a schedule so full that you get anxiety from even thinking about adding one more thing to your to-do list, then consider some of the organizations below to donate some cold hard cash. Honestly, people often doubt how much money impacts a nonprofit organization, but oftentimes it keeps the lights on at buildings, provides a small income for dedicated volunteers, and assists with the bare essentials to run the organization, below are some causes we care about that are worth a few bucks a month.
The Slate list of organizations to channel your anxiety into action.
The ACLU: “For almost 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.”
The American Immigration Council: “The American Immigration Council (‘Council’), established in 1987, works to strengthen America by honoring our immigrant history and shaping how America thinks about and acts towards immigrants and immigration.”
Black Lives Matter: “An affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.”
Emily’s List: “We ignite change by getting pro-choice Democratic women elected to office.”
Everytown: “Everytown is a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities.”
The Future Project: “Young people everywhere should have the opportunity to discover their potential and build the skills they need to change their lives and the world. We exist to make that dream a reality, and we’re starting in American high schools.”
HIAS: “HIAS stands for a world in which refugees find welcome, safety, and freedom.”
It Gets Better Project: “The It Gets Better Project’s mission is to communicate to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth around the world that it gets better, and to create and inspire the changes needed to make it better for them.”
KIND: “KIND staff and our pro bono attorney partners at law firms, corporations, and law schools nationwide represent unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children in their deportation proceedings. Together, we ensure that no child stands in court alone.”
The NAACP: “The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.”
NARAL Pro-Choice America: “NARAL was founded before Roe v. Wade, before legal abortion was even possible in the United States. We as an organization and as a progressive movement exist to fight for the dignity and equality of all Americans. We hold the line—in good times and in bad—to defend the freedoms that are enshrined in our constitution and that define what it means to be American.”
National Center for Transgender Equality: “The National Center for Transgender Equality is the nation’s leading social justice advocacy organization winning life-saving change for transgender people.”
Planned Parenthood: “Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of women, men, and young people worldwide.”
RAINN: “RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.”
Women’s Prison Association: “WPA works with women at all stages of criminal justice involvement. We promote alternatives to incarceration and help women living in the community to avoid arrest or incarceration by making positive changes in their lives. Inside prison and jail, we are a source of support to women and a resource to them as they plan for release. After incarceration, women come to WPA for help to build the lives they want for themselves and their families in the community.”
3. Stay Vigilant, Stay Informed, Stay Connected!
Honestly, one of the most impactful things to do with your life is to stay informed. Information is power and education is freedom. Take the time to listen to experiences of people that are different from you. Educate yourself and others. Question everything, including yourself. Stay clued into your own implicit biases and fight against them. Question authority. Question the media. Learn to remain bipartisan. Stay passionate.