You sat in disbelief on the evening of November 8th, 2016 staring at your television with your smartphone in your hand. Disbelief turned to grief. You posted things on Facebook that you knew would make Thanksgiving all that much more uncomfortable than it already was going to be. You’ve been propping yourself up with clips of Ellen in between the confirmation hearings. You made a fight song playlist and you sing to the top of your lungs (inside your head) while at the gym. Now what? What can you do to make a difference? How can you be a part of changing the dialogue here in NC and ultimately in Washington, D.C.?
- Get Active
Let’s start with where your feet are already planted. What issue inspires you the most? Voter turnout? Saving the Affordable Care Act? Continuing fight for our environment? Civil Rights? Pick the one or two things that you’re most fired up about and focus on that. Join folks who are ready to help enact change on a state and national level. Don’t be afraid to step up and lead when possible.
Identify the local NC organizations, artists, and leaders from our marginalized communities that are working for justice and follow their lead. The NAACP, the Gay Community Center of Charlotte, Planned Parenthood, Muslim Women of the Carolinas, or the ACLU may be a great fit for you.
Greater Charlotte’s Action Network R.I.S.E Together NC is a member of Indivisible (http://www.indivisibleguide.com). It is a guide written by former congressional staffers that provides practical steps for fighting against Trump’s racism, authoritarianism, and corruption. There are two main steps: 1. Focus locally and 2. Work together to block policy by demanding that Senators and Representatives be our voice on Capitol Hill via calls, town hall meetings, and showing up at offices to let our voices be heard. As our Members of Congress move toward virtual town halls and digital connecting with constituents, we will have to make our physical presence felt in other ways if community meetings are not going to be offered as often. You can join Indivisible Charlotte for call to action opportunities each week.
Becoming active inspires hope! If each one of us does the little bit that we can, together we can make an incredibly powerful impact.
- Read and Think
Subscribe to local and national newspapers. With the president’s war on the media, now is the time more than ever, to keep yourself informed with the truth. You don’t want to rely on alternative facts.
Follow our NC elected officials on social media. There are many dynamic leaders in other NC districts who are leading the way for redistricting and the special election in 2017. You might follow NC Senator Jeff Jackson, Rep. Chaz Beasley from District 92, Attorney General Josh Stein, Rep. Graig Meyer from District 50 and Congresswoman Alma Adams. Follow Republican Senators Thom Tillis, and Richard Burr and Congressman Robert Pittenger. Following both Democrat and Republican elected officials allows you to stay on top of their stance when it comes to issues that are important to you. It also allows you to respond to their actions very quickly with praise or criticism.
Speaking of social media, choose the friends and family you want to see in your Facebook feed. You can remain friends but unfollow anyone that is not your cup of tea. And guess what? It is okay! See those in-laws in person instead. Protect your heart and fighting spirit.
- Reach Out
Form real (not just virtual) relationships with others in our community. Ground yourself with like-minded passion. Fuel your drive with the momentum of our group. Meet up for coffee, attend a march, go to a community meeting and meet the faces that are behind the screen.
And finally, reach across the table and have hard conversations with conservatives. Create real opportunities for meaningful dialogue, not online but in person. Listen to their concerns and point out ways that our candidates can help solve those problems. We all want many of the same things: healthy families, more income, and safe schools that provide a great education. North Carolina is a swing state. Some of the same people who voted for Trump also voted for Governor Roy Cooper. Let’s build a bridge between conservative and progressives to elect representatives that have all of our best interests in mind.
The views expressed on this blog are my own and not necessarily those of Greater CAN RISE Together NC.