With the inauguration looming just around the corner, it's hard not to feel frightened (or in my case, just plain horrified) by what's going on in the USA right now. Whether you're a citizen or not, we are all going to be affected by these changes.
The biggest problem I have is how powerless I feel when it comes to what's happening in the world. Besides voting and ranting on social media (completely useless, btw), I don't really know any real ways to make a difference, which is very frustrating.
Enter: the Internet!
In honor of MLK day, I thought it would be great to share this list from The EveryGirl that explains some of the actual things we, as individuals, can do to get involved and actually have a say in what the hell is going on. I'm sharing a few of my favorites below because I want to be able to refer back to them, so make sure to bookmark this page, and also make sure to look at the original post's comments, which has even more ideas for how to get involved.
From The EveryGirl:
Learn Who Your Elected Officials Are
"Knowing the names and faces of those behind local and state decisions positions you as a more informed citizen, which allows you to better advocate for your needs as well as the needs of your community. It also means you can vote more frequently, due to the nature of state and local elections, as well as fill out all sections of the ballot every time a presidential election rolls around, instead of staring at them blankly. Don’t be that person."
Contact Your Leaders
"Once you know who your elected officials are, talk to them! Tell them what’s on your mind: what concerns you, what keeps you up at night, what you expect of them, what makes you proud to be an American. Their job is to listen to you, so reach out frequently and respectfully to voice your opinions.
Tip: according to this now-viral advice by former Congressional staff member Emily Ellsworth, skip the social media comments, and stick to penning a letter, writing an email, and picking up the phone to ensure your point of view is heard. Not exactly sure what to say the first time around? Introduce yourself as a constituent, explain what you’d like to hear or see from them as an elected official, and don’t be afraid to ask questions or request a response."
Attend Town Hall Meetings
"Town hall meetings are notoriously under-attended, but they also happen to be a chance to speak directly to your local legislators and even members of Congress. These meetings are free of cost and held in a public space, typically beginning with a short speech from an elected official and then an open Q&A, where attendees can ask questions about a piece of legislation or a specific issue.
To find out when town hall meetings are happening in your city, do a quick Google search or call your elected officials."
Participate in a Peaceful Protest
"In light of the upcoming inauguration, unprecedented protests are scheduled in Washington and across the country to express dissent regarding the outcome of the 2016 election. Some argue that protesting remains ineffective, but it depends on the subject of the protest as well as the manner of demonstration. And whether you personally view protesting to be effective or not, know that every American has the individual right to peacefully come together with others to express, promote, and defend ideas. This freedom of association has proven to be a crucial civil liberty over the past several decades, and organizing or attending a protest or march can be a useful way to show solidarity as an effective ally against forms of oppression."
Support Organizations Already Doing the Work
"Support takes shape in numerous ways: volunteer your time and energy, raise funds, donate your hard-earned cash, lobby elected officials, sign petitions, or write letters to raise awareness. And last but definitely not least: volunteer! Campaigns and nonprofits are always looking for hands to help knock on doors and make phone calls, especially during an election season."
So now you know what to do. Get off Facebook and call your elected officials! We need all the help we can get.
P.S. For those so inclined, here are 10 Acts of Resistance on Inauguration Day.
, by Lena Barclay