5 Ways You Can Be An Ally to Minorities Right Now

Donald Trump is going to be our president. Ick. Unfortunately, as we’re seeing from many of his cabinet picks, this appears to be bad news for minorities and oppressed groups. We’ve already seen a huge uptick in harassment, particularly of the racist, homophobic, and sexist varieties. If you are white, particularly white and cis, and most particularly white, cis, and male (and straight, able-bodied, ya know), now is the time to put your money where your mouth is and actually do something to help protect the vulnerable people around you.

It might seem overwhelming, and you may have no idea where to start. That’s ok. I have some ideas for you! Minorities cannot survive this presidency alone. It is the responsibility of those with privilege to do the work. So let’s get moving.

  1. Donate. Yes, I know, it’s a pain and it doesn’t feel like you’re doing much, but I promise that setting up a monthly recurring donation to an organization like Southern Poverty Law Center or RAINN or Planned Parenthood does make a difference. If you have the financial resources to commit $20 a month to an organization that is working to protect minorities, then you damn well better be doing it. Here’s a list of some good options if you’re feeling stuck on finding an organization.
  2. Reach out. I know that as white people and men we aren’t used to doing a whole lot of emotional labor, especially not the emotional labor of educating ourselves, supporting our minority friends, and looking racism straight in the face. We have to be willing to do that right now, because I can promise you that the people who feel threatened right now have zero emotional resources left to do that. For many people, this election is a grieving process. Your job is to give your oppressed friends all of their spoons to do the grieving. Make a list of all the women, people of color, queer people, disabled people, etc. that you know, and get in touch with all of them. Yes, all of them. Even the ones you don’t know very well. Ask them how they’re feeling and if there’s anything you can do to help. Make suggestions. I have multiple friends who are having a hard time feeding themselves right now, so I’m bringing over pre-cooked meals. I have some friends who just needed to vent and talk. Keep this list somewhere handy, and in another month or two months, or at the inauguration, or after any shitty policy announcements, reach out again. We can’t afford to be reactive right now, we have to be proactive.
  3. Volunteer. There are approximately a bajillion organizations out there that would love some help. The best part is no matter what your interest there is probably an organization that is specifically focused on it. You could do clinic escorting at Planned Parenthood, work with Black Lives Matter organizing protests and rallies, or pretty much anything else on the planet. One thing to consider is what skills you have. Are you a lawyer? Do you know social media? Are you an accountant? Volunteer your learned skills as well as for untrained work. Most nonprofits would adore someone who can do a little bit of pro bono professional work for them.
  4. Call your representative. This one is incredibly hard for me due to phone phobia, so I will likely write an email instead, but most people are 100% capable of doing it, and it’s not that hard. Take 5 or 10 minutes, call your representative with specific policy issues that Trump is proposing that will harm minorities and specific action items you would like your representative to take. Currently a great option is to oppose his choice of Stephen Bannon as Chief Strategist.
  5. Go to a rally. Join a march. Take direct action. If you are able bodied and can get to the location, you should be out in the streets, showing solidarity. I am making it a goal of mine for 2017 to attend one march or rally each month. They’re out there, and you can seek them out through organizations like Black Lives Matter, NAACP, or a local organization that’s important to you. Get out there and show that you are willing to act on your values.

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