The appalling white nationalist violence in Virginia earlier this month, and our president’s unbearably terrible response, set off demonstrations by racial- and social-justice activists across the nation. Last week, thousands marched down Broad Street, with Philadelphians of every stripe and background together condemning white supremacy. Tens of thousands turned out Saturday in Boston to drown out the preaching of a group of racist demonstrators. Efforts are underway across the nation to remove vestiges of institutional racism, like Confederate flags and monuments to Confederate leaders.
The tenor of the nation has instilled hopelessness and fear in many Americans but, as the past few weeks have shown, for every blow dealt to the progressive movement, there are ways to respond. Protests and demonstrations have become a normal part of many people’s routine, a new reality for many younger Americans, as well as for those who had never felt moved to action before. In addition to raising your voice, you can help raise funds and other resources for social-justice organizations. Go door to door and ask people in your neighborhood to contribute to agencies fighting for racial justice, LGBT equality and other causes. Share information on social media about organizations that are working to protect Americans’ rights. Despite the negative reputation social media sometimes gets, the reality is that it’s a shared space for many Americans; the more people who see the names, the work and the need for agencies like American Civil Liberties Union or other rights groups, the better.
Targeting lawmakers is another way to fight back. Familiarize yourself with your local, state and federal representatives and their positions. To keep advancing his restrictive agenda, Trump will need the buy-in of elected officials. Pressure from the public can be integral in swaying lawmakers’ support, an idea we saw on display with the colossal failure of the Republican health-care bill. Even if your elected officials are on the side of progress, make sure any family and friends who may be represented by more-conservative lawmakers contact them with their concerns.
Apart from lawmakers, have tough conversations with loved ones. We’ve likely all been tempted to avoid discussion and debate with those whose politics we disagree with, but that only contributes to the further political polarization of this nation. Even if you feel like you’re spinning your wheels in the mud, we can’t afford to give up.
No matter how you choose to fight back, all that matters is that you keep doing it.
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