COLUMN: How to be an activist

Like so many Americans, I believed foolishly that if I tried my best in everyday life and voted for the right people, progress would be inevitable. Clearly, voting straight-ticket Democrat is no longer enough. In that spirit, I’ve compiled a list of a few tangible ways to promote activism for progressive change in Trump’s United States.

First, continue to be active on social media. In the past few years, social media has proved to be a powerful tool for change, education and organization. So, despite what your conservative aunt tells you, continue to voice your opinions via Facebook and Twitter.

However, it’s important to remember that social media activism is passive, and under Trump’s vision of the U.S., it will not be a powerful enough tool to effect change on its own.

To become more active, consider attending protests. Protests are incredibly important in this political 

Not only is protesting Trump’s victory an active way to show the rest of the world Americans will not accept bigotry, it’s also a way to show Americans who are directly targeted by Trump’s policies that you are prepared to fight with them and for them.

If you have the resources to do so, give to human rights organizations and nonprofits likely to lose funding or support during Trump’s administration. I could write 100,000 words on the number of excellent non-profits attempting to promote a safer and kinder nation, but unfortunately I only have around 500.

Keeping this in mind, some nationwide organizations to consider donating to are the American Civil Liberties Union, which works to defend rights and liberties granted to individuals by the Constitution; the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an organization dedicated to securing and defending Muslim civil liberties in America; and Earthjustice, an environmental organization focused on law that works to protect and preserve wildlife as well as to promote clean energy.

In addition to supporting organizations monetarily, volunteering is now vitally important. Here in Bloomington, there are hundreds of volunteer opportunities that can be accessed online via the Bloomington Volunteer Network.

In the wake of Trump’s particular fascination with disparaging women and the LGBT community, some Bloomington-based nonprofits to consider volunteering at are PRIDE and Prism Youth Community, both of which focus on events and advocacy that improves the lives of LGBT community members at various ages.

Many also consider the Middle Way House, a local shelter and advocacy center for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. Both of these organizations also accept 

Last, but certainly not least, remember to practice self care. It’s a lesson particularly important as we head toward the Thanksgiving holidays, during which many of us will be heading home to families or communities that support Trump.

If you get too frustrated or encounter a little too much bigotry this holiday season, remember that most human rights organizations allow you to give monetary donations on behalf of 

Come Christmas morning, don’t forget to ask your grandpa to take off his hood before he reads the card — you’ll want to be able to see the look on his face when he realizes you gave $100 to the NAACP in his name.

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