Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States. This crisis -- and it is a crisis -- affects us all differently.
In these days of grief and profound uncertainty, let's be gentle with ourselves and each other. Some of us are still in mourning. Some of us woke up last Wednesday ready to begin long-term action. Some of us can't focus on anything right now beyond survival and safety planning. There's a wide range of reasonable responses to this crisis, and let us be accepting of our own and each other's emotional responses and needs for care.
Each of us has different skills and access to mobilize for resistance. And each of us will face different impacts on our emotional and material resources as this crisis unfolds. As there are many reasonable immediate responses to this crisis, so too there are many ways in which we can resist in the days and years ahead.
I remember sitting in classrooms as a child and wondering what would I do if I were a young adult in 1939. I know I'm not the only one who wondered that. Now we find out.
We are going to take care of ourselves and each other, and we are going to resist. None of us can stop the Trump administration on our own, but there are concrete ways each of us can resist, and there is much that we can and will resist together.
I personally plan to start hosting Shabbat dinners as often as I can. I'm going to take care of myself by stress-cooking, and by sharing nutritious food and warm conversation with my people.
A friend of mine is starting a nonfiction book group to educate herself in a more focused way on the fights ahead of us; she's starting with Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow. Another friend of mine is looking into moving to a state that voted for Trump and do deep organizing with white people to move past the resentment and backlash that were so evident in the election results. I know many people who are preparing for hard conversations with family members around Thanksgiving tables. Every organizer I know is examining the most strategic ways in which we can each resist in our professional capacities.
Practice Makes Progress will be right here, teaching organizers vital digital organizing skills and vital anti-oppression skills.
It matters now more than ever how we treat each other in progressive workplaces. Trump may sign a national right-to-work law, but progressive employers can choose to treat their staff with dignity, including by recognizing their unions. Trump may continue to joke about sexual assault, may even continue to commit sexual assault while in office -- but progressive organizers can unlearn rape culture. We can transform our workplaces and our social spaces into spaces truly safe from sexual violence, spaces where we believe survivors and where we hold abusers accountable. Trump may focus his attacks on Muslims, immigrants, Black and Latinx people, anyone who's "other", but progressive advocates can choose to insist on racial justice -- insist on ending white supremacy -- as a bedrock principle of the progressive movement.
Entrenched systems of power mean that some of us will suffer greatly under the coming Trump administration, and some of us will face little to no change in our rights and dignity. We are organizers, and we will in our work call on others to act. As we call on others to act in resistance, let's consider the context of these systems of power. Am I calling on others with more or less power than me to act in this moment and in this way? Is my call on others to act in this way a reasonable request of their resources? Is it my ask to make?
Yes, this might make our work take longer. But our work to resist the Trump administration is work to resist white supremacist patriarchy. And our work is only effective when we do it in ways that don't re-entrench these systems of power and control. We have the power to envision and advance a better world as we fight in this one.
Finally, a very personal request. This election and its result have been very, very painful for so many survivors of sexual violence. I ask you, from deep in my soul, to assume that whenever others can witness your words, a survivor of sexual violence is among them. Think about how someone who has felt the trauma of rape, assault, abuse might take your words. Let us all ask ourselves, are my words a comfort to survivors, or might they give shelter to rapists? Who am I comforting and who am I afflicting?
There's a bench in Dupont Circle, in my adopted hometown of Washington, DC, that stands as a memorial to caretakers who lost loved ones to AIDS. On it is a poem by E. Ethelbert Miller that reads:
We fought against the invisible
We looked to one another for comfort
We held the hands of friends and lovers
We did not turn our backs
In this time of crisis, we will resist. We will embrace.
With all my love and hope for the future,