When I heard about What We Do Now: Standing Up For Your Values In Trump's America, I knew I needed to read it. After the election, I not only had to figure out how to clearly define my values but I wanted to be an active resister agains the things that were sure to come out of this presidency. This is a short, 200 page volume with many high-profile contributors. The essays are short but powerful (as you can see by my plethora of sticky notes). Here are some of the highlights, starting with the definition of our values--
And that marks Democrats' first job in this new era: We will stand up to bigotry. No compromises ever on this one. Bigotry in all its forms: we will fight back against attacks on Latinos, on African Americans, on women, on Muslims, on immigrants, on disabled Americans--on anyone.
--Senator Elizabeth Warren
But know this: whether you actively engage in the violent culture of hate or merely step out of the way to give it permission to persist and room to grow, you are complicit. And white people, you give permission to this culture every day you do nothing more than have "conversations on race". You don't get to just have conversations anymore. You don't get to just wear a safety pin and call yourself an ally. You don't get to just talk while the rest of us fear for our lives ... Let's be clear: White supremacy harms all of us. It strips humanity from both its victims and its beneficiaries.
I want you to keep telling yourself: "THIS IS NOT NORMAL. THIS IS NOT NORMAL. THIS IS NOT NORMAL. Repeat until it sinks to the deepest of your core. The minute you decide this is normal, this is just how it is, the minute you decide that appointing a white supremacist to one of the highest, most influential positions in the White House...--that is the minute that you give up. Stay vigilant. Stay focused. Stay OUTRAGED. Perpetual outrage is what's going to fuel our movements right now. In the face of this crisis, the time is now to follow your heart. You know what feels right. Think. Contemplate. Don't just follow blindly. Stay informed, read articles, verify sources, diversify your news intake. Knowledge is power. Ignoring what's happening is not going to help you or anyone else.
As for concrete actions:
Brittany Packnett suggests that those of us who are not in marginalized groups become not allies but accomplices, the difference being actions and not just ideals.
Ilhan Omar wants us to strengthen our communities and build a coalition and Cristina Jiménez wants us to make sure that the coalition crosses social, religious, and racial lines. We must work together to be successful.
Linda Sarsour suggests using our own skills and knowledge "for the greater good". If we all focus on what we are best at, we will be most effective.
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum thinks it's essential that we "continue building a full and meaningful and joyous life."
And we, of course, need to fight for a new, strong Voting Rights Act to combat voter suppression and gerrymandering. We need to demand action to mitigate climate change and to promote a clean energy economy. We need to tell/remind our representatives that we will not tolerate the targeting of an entire group based on their race or religion. We need to fight every unlawful and discriminatory action that comes out of this administration.
David Cole gives us hope from our recent history--the eventual victory over George W. Bush's horrible policies after 9/11. Bush took all sorts of liberties in the name of protecting Americans, regardless of whether those things were humane or legal. But "they protested, filed lawsuits, wrote human rights reports, lobbied foreign audiences and governments to bring pressure to bear on the United States, leaked classified documents, and broadly condemned the administration's actions as violations of fundamental constitutional and human rights. ... As a result, the course of history changed." He also says "It won't happen overnight. There will be many protracted struggles. The important thing to bear in mind is that if we fight, we can prevail."
Finally, Linda Sarsour says it best:
I hope this election is our ultimate wake-up call--a wake-up call for the silent majority who have been silent in the face of so much injustice in recent years. Silence is violence. We cannot and will not be the generation that allows our country to live again the darkest moments of our history. We must remember that our work over the next four years is not just for us, but also for the generations to come who are counting on us.Sending out strength to all fighters,