Like so many of us, I grieved after the election. I cried for her grave loss, I cried for the hundreds of thousands of Americans who will likely be affected by this nightmare so much greater than I will, I cried knowing that over 50 million Americans voted for a man that spread hate, bigotry, and sexism and preyed upon the ignorance and fear of other Americans. I cried when I poured coffee in my “Cup of Joe (Biden)” mug on November 9, already longing for our current President. I cried for her.
Following the news, I tried to consume as much information as I can about why this happened-- why our electoral college failed us, who were the people who voted for this man, where did the campaign fall? But it didn’t help. I refreshed my Twitter constantly; reading witty quips and depreciating notes on where it all went wrong. I felt solace in my friends and peers; online and offline; know that we were all feeling this, hard.
I thought of the other side-- the side I rarely see or hear and feel defensive when they showed support of their candidate on my Facebook wall, now President-elect. I realized me, and most of my friends, were the “liberal elite” that failed to see the “other America” due to our limited echo chambers and only hearing what we want to and agree with.
Despite growing up in the rustbelt, knowing and growing up with the “kind of” people that voted for our now President-elect; it was, and is so hard, for me to wrap my head around voting for and supporting a man that spews hate and bigotry at every corner. I don’t think I’ll ever get it.
During the days following the election, I received dozens of texts, Facebook messages and emails from Lady Project members and friends. They expressed many of the feelings that we may have: fear, hopelessness, despair, shock and anger. They were mad; riled up and ready to go. They were also grateful for their community, including the Lady Project. This election only reinforced and reiterated the importance of women working together, supporting each other and most importantly-- doing something about it.
Last Monday, we kicked off Women’s Entrepreneurship Week with the City of Providence. On Tuesday, we hosted a Change Makers Panel at City Hall with some incredible movers and shakers including Councilwomen Sandra Cano and Stephanie Gonzalez, lobbyist LeeAnn Byrne, Director of Communications for Mayor Elorza Emily Ward and non-profit lawyer and activist Dawn Euer. The panel was incredibly inspiring and our panelists were vulnerable and honest and spoke from the heart.
When asked what can we do in light of the recent election, Dawn said this: we gave ourselves a week to grieve. Ok, it’s been a week. Now we have to organize. We have to mobilize. We have to get shit done.
When Dawn said that, it really hit me. We have to get to work. We have to support one another. We can grieve, yes, and it’s important for us to let ourselves feel our feelings, but we have to do something about it. We cannot sit idly by. We need to get shit done and be there for each other.
How to get shit done
Support organizations who are helping our communities. You can find a list of great organizations to donate to or volunteer at here.
Run for office. Regardless of party lines, we can all agree that women need to have more seats at the table. Learn about running for office with She’s Should Run.
Not sure if running for office is right for you? Support candidates that care about the policies you do. Volunteer for them. Donate to their campaign. Local elections are just as-- if not more important-- than others. Be involved.
Contact your lawmakers. They have the voice to make changes-- write them, email them, call their office. Find your federal, state, and local lawmakers here.
Stand up to hate. We all have heard the hurtful comments at dinner parties or family gatherings, and we roll our eyes and tell our friends about them later. Instead of saying nothing, say something. While it may not seem like a big thing at the time, these comments or actions are a big deal. Next time your Drunk Uncle says something that is offensive, say something. Tell him how it’s wrong and hurtful and that you won’t tolerate it. Thanksgiving and the holidays are sure to be fun this year.
BUST also has a great article on how to stand up to Islamophobia-- this guide is also helpful when you see or hear other forms of hate.
Find your people. This is tough. Really tough. Don’t be afraid to ask for help-- I saw my therapist the Friday after the election and I was so glad I did. Talk to your friends, post in Pantsuit Nation, find your people. Grieve this and don’t let anyone tell you it’s “going to be ok.” You decide when you feel ok.
Photo by 1924us