Where to find hope in action
Tools and resources to resist, but more importantly to act, create and build.
In December/January I was bumming after the elections and anxious about the future. Discovering all of the smart tools and groups that were emerging to resist the worst of this administration’s policies and plans was my main inspiration for hope.
I like to say “I have activist tendencies”, which I’m convinced most real activists hear as an excuse, but I care about justice and equality and community and that feeling is something most everyone can relate to. We’re all somewhere on a scale. So as we tumble further down the rabbit hole and issues that are incredibly important to our world continue to be sidelined and trampled, I’m reflecting back to those resources and the awesome things people are doing that continue to inspire me.
I’m also gearing up for another period of motivation with the next wave of citizen activism — the science and climate marches (by the way, don’t ask me why they are still separate and only a week apart). However it comes about, doing something is important. It ladders up, individual, communal and societal. I’m sure there are more (and more localized) resources, but this is meant as a starting point. If you know of others that should be included, share with us in the comments. There should be something for everyone. And everyone is needed.
The Big Ones
“The Resistance Manual is rooted in the basic principle that the power belongs to the people. We wanted to create a clear tool that people can use for targeted resistance for the next 4 years” — Campaign Zero’s Samuel Sinyangwe
A huge and growing resource from some of the most impressive groups I’ve seen. The Resistance Manual is a timeline and collection of resources for people who are compelled to act against unjust policies. There is too much to outline here, but one place to start is:
A collection of information, apps, talking points, platforms and other tools. Individuals might want to start with the scripts and alerts, tracking legislation, and boycotts sections, but there are suggestions and breakdowns for just about anyone as you dig deeper. It’s a truly robust version of what this post is trying to accomplish and gathers a ton of resources for people.
“Former congressional staffers reveal best practices for making Congress listen.”
It started as a shared document of advice on how to resist this administrations policies from political people who work on Capitol Hill. Now it’s a downloadable step-by-step guide for how to organize, activate and engage with elected representatives. It’s authored by folks with an understanding of how government and congressional offices function, and based closely on the Tea Party movement’s success. It aims first, to bring more transparency to what happens in government and what congress is doing and second, to create and support this community down to the local level.
“The #LoveArmy is a value-based movement, advancing diversity, inclusion, and compassion. We stand against those who want to turn people on each other, rather than to each other.”
I’m very much supportive of the approach by the #LoveArmy. By staying focused on humanity and kindness, it’s working to bring people together to create empathy and understanding. Related: The Albert Einstein Institute’s 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action
“Join in taking our money back”
The injustice boycott flips economic levers by helping people use their money and where their money goes to influence policy and behavior in support or social justice. It’s currently focused on NY, SF, and Standing Rock and supported by some of most outspoken justice advocates, like Shaun King. You can read his launch post here.
“A near real time look at corruption”
A site that tracks all of the media coverage around the Trump administration’s potential conflicts of interest and risks for corruption. Right now it’s averaging an update (or two) everyday(!). Started by Hillary’s former digital director, so that’s fun too.
“Understanding our lawmakers and their actions”
Countable gives daily updates on what elected officials are up to through an app. It’s a good place for regular insights and background on news, votes and bills. Beyond federal and national issues, they have localized in NY and SF at the moment, but assume more is coming.
“Spend 5 minutes, make 5 calls.”
This site is focused on getting results from calling elected officials. Choose the issues that matter to you (or see some relevant to your location) and make a call, or five. The helpful app makes it easy.
The ACLU has been everywhere recently, from breaking fundraising records to taking action. Other than being independently wealthy with treasure chest full of millions of dollars, there is likely no better tool to hold people accountable than the law (actually, this is true even if you have buckets of $). So while there is no substitute for voting for your lawmakers, the ACLU is prepared to hold them accountable.
Mailing lists, SMS letters, and other tools
A weekly mailing list of current topics and simple, coordinated actions. I enjoy the variety and focus of this one.
A text messaging based interface that turns your text messages into daily letters to Congress. Text “Resist” to 50409. A bot will ask you a few simple questions. Then you can send it messages that will be faxed to your congresspeople.
A network to help you start and maintain your own local groups to act on specific issues. Start with looking through the groups that may already exist in your area.
Humor and frustration sites
Let’s be real, a good laugh or a deeply biting joke can help put a screwed up situation in perspective. Try these if you need a dose of either one.
A .gif creation site to make things illegal in this administration. Just try it.
A Reddit user has started a list of all the “dictatorish” things said by Trump and his administration. If you’re not familiar with Reddit, this may be more difficult to navigate.
The real news media is more important than ever. If you can, subscribe, donate, or do whatever you can do to help support them. Here are a few of that are not taking “fake news” lightly and doing what journalism is meant to do, bring the facts to the people.
The Washington Post is tracking President Trump’s false claims across his first 100 days. Facts are important. See the latest “alternative” ones here.
In a push for accountability, Think Progress has collected 600+ claims Trump made on the campaign trail and is tracking how he’s delivering on those.