Small Cats | Small Acts

From Nov. 2016: In light of the election results and news from friends who are struggling in different ways, I’ve been thinking a lot about what the word “compassion” means — what it really means — to me.

Earlier this summer, my mother was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia. It’s been admittedly devastating news as we — my husband and I and the rest of my family — figure out how to navigate this tenuous path together, how to show compassion for my parents while also maintaining self-compassion too.

I’m trying to move on beyond devastation and despair.

Last night, I told my husband that what adversity does often bring is clarity, which has shown me that, although I’ve experienced or witnessed social injustices — as a woman, as a person of color, as a daughter of immigrants, as someone in an interracial marriage — I have sometimes been complacent about my civil liberties and have taken them for granted.

I want to stop being complacent and, instead, regain more compassion and deepen my understanding — not only for folks who voted the way I did, but for those who didn’t, along with folks who didn’t vote at all.

I want to re-ignite my own hope and galvanize with loved ones and strangers, and be open to finding sources of strength in unexpected places.

In thinking about my loved ones and people who are disenfranchised, I’m going to follow Maud Newton’s lead and try my own log of dissident actions (from most recent to oldest):


Oct. 15th-21st:

Submitted an idea for this IDEO Challenge, “How might we better support family caregivers as they care for a loved one with dementia?,” that revolves around a sharing economy based on gratitude for caregivers.

Oct. 1st–14th:

I’m working on a speculative design project to help alleviate some of the stress that caregivers (with special emphasis on caregivers for loved ones with dementia).

The feedback from surveys and interviews have been illuminating, sometimes heartbreaking, but also humbling and inspiring in terms of getting the chance to hear people’s stories about resilience, humor, and compassion.

I’m hoping to take this research to the next step and consider possible solutions to the problems and challenges that caregivers face.


Sept. 3rd-30th:

I’ve been admittedly distracted me from this blog due to some consequences of Hurricane Irma, which threatened the safety of loved ones, in and all the way up to Charleston, along with our future home (sailboat, “Hope”) which was stored in Indiantown, FL. That said, everyone is thankfully fine, so getting back to some normalcy again.

I volunteered as a TA for a 3-week Girl Develop It course, “Intro to UX,” which was super fun and reaffirmed my love and interest for UX research and design.


Aug. 27th-Sept. 2nd:

We donated groceries and cleaning supplies to a neighborhood homeless shelter for men, plus housewares to a non-profit thrift store that offers resources for the homeless.


Aug. 20–26th:

Volunteered for the Podcast Movement Conference — it’s been a week full of inspiration as podcasters from around the world share about this incredible — and growing — platform.

Volunteered a few hours to create four t-shirt designs for Women Who Code, a national organization with a mission to “inspire women to excel in technology careers.”


*Aug. 13–19th:

My husband and I made a donation to the African American Teaching Fellows, a Charlottesville-based organization that fosters more diversity in teaching by offering Teaching Fellows help with tuition, books, licensure fees, as well as a one-on-one mentoring.


*Aug. 6–12th:

Called and emailed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at (202) 224–4651 and Web_Inquiry@foreign.senate.gov to urge them to use their voices to counter the reckless language coming from the President, as well as urging for all senators to interrupt their recess to address the President’s actions with a forceful response.

As a volunteer for Second Helpings, I’ll pick up surplus produce from Morningside Farmers’ Market to bring to My Sister’s House, a shelter for women and children.


*July 30th-Aug. 5th:

Made a donation to Hambidge, an artist residency located on 600 acres in the mountains of north Georgia.


*July 23rd-29th:

Hounded my senators every day by phone (with Isakson, I couldn’t reach anyone, so I emailed him instead) and urged them to oppose any version of the senate’s “repeal and replace” healthcare bill that will include cuts to Medicaid, negative impacts to Planned Parenthood, and insurers charging more for older Americans.

On behalf of this great org, Second Helpings, I volunteered to pick up 244 lb. of bread and other baked goods from Publix and bring it all to the Community Assistance Center (CAC). It was hilarious trying to fit all this bread into our tiny Hyundai!

6 shopping carts’ worth of bread and baked goods!

Joined Georgia Alliance for Social Justice to stay informed!

Participating in a “Our Lives on the Line” Protest this Saturday:

Congress is working to take away health coverage from 22 million Americans by repealing Obamacare. It will hurt everyone by stealing insurance, but women, transgender people, and marginalized communities will be hit the hardest. Republicans will soon vote on dropping coverage for mothers, people with disabilities, working families, and anyone who is vulnerable.

*July 26th–22nd:

Donated groceries to a neighborhood homeless shelter for men.

Starting this month, I’ll start volunteering to transport food for Second Helpings, an organization that helps to fight food waste and food insecurity.

I called my senators and, although neither of their legislative health assistants were available, I made sure to urge the senators to vote against the simple ACA repeal, to include more transparency and public hearings about drafting a new legislation, listening to their constituents, and expressed why the defunding of Planned Parenthood and decreasing federal funds for Medicaid were, in particular, just two of the reasons why I felt the senate’s bill was atrocious.

A handy list of Health Legislative Assistants and senators’ contact numbers:

From https://twitter.com/benwikler/status/872923148357947392.

*July 9–15th:

Participated in a live town hall meeting via telephone to speak with U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson.

Called and urged my senators to oppose the latest version of the Senate’s health care bill, which would have terrible impacts on millions of Americans, including the de-funding of Planned Parenthood and the rollback of federal funding for Medicaid expansion.

From http://www.politico.com/interactives/2017/senate-vote-gop-health-care-bill-details

*July 2nd-8th:

Donated groceries to a neighborhood homeless shelter for men and continued to hound my senators about the healthcare bill in the Senate.

*June 25-July 1st:

I’m continuing to call my senators to urge them to oppose the current “TrumpCare bill” (American Health Care Act, or AHCA), which will result in devastating 23 million Americans with losing health insurance coverage, including about a million in Georgia alone. According to the Indivisible Project, it will also

cut Medicaid by $800 billion, in order to give hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations. It would also undermine critical protections for people with pre-existing conditions, defund Planned Parenthood, and raise premiums for American families.

I also urged my senators to more transparency and the opportunity for debate about the AHCA and amendments offered on both sides of the aisle with the goal of creating legislation that provides better or equal access to healthcare as the Affordable Care Act. I’ve asked if they’re holding a town hall over the upcoming July 4th recess — and if not, why not — and ask them to pursue a bipartisan solution to health care. I’ve also signed up for an e-alert about future town hall meetings.

Here’s a breakdown of the impact of this terrible bill by state.

*June 18–24th:

Donated groceries and toiletries to a neighborhood homeless shelter for men.

Donated furniture and housewares to a local organization that helps refugee families.

Called my senators again and also their staffers dedicated to healthcare to voice my opposition about Trumpcare, to demand more transparency and that their colleagues hold hearings since this healthcare bill would, according to the Congressional Office Budget, cost 23 million Americans health insurance coverage over the next ten years, as compared to current law, and, according to Vox health policy expert, Sarah Kliff, premiums for some elderly low-income people could go up by 800 percent.

I also asked them to not make any cuts to Medicaid as this would have immediate, grave impacts on my parents and the other 70 million people (or 1 in 5 people in the country, including low-income adults and children) who are enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP.

Here’s a helpful script to borrow by We Are The 65.

*June 11–17th:

Signed this letter to demand transparency and constituency input about the Senate’s Trumpcare repeal bill.

Thanks to the handy guide offered on Wall-of-Us, I called my senators to reject Trumpcare and the repeal of healthcare for millions of Americans.

Also, in addition to asking them simply not to support the bill, I’ve asked senators to make a commitment to abstain from voting on it before recess, when they’ll have an opportunity to hear from constituents.

According to Topher Spiro, Senior Fellow, here are the millions of Americans who would lose their coverage under the Senate’s revised bill:

  • 5.3 million in waiver states
  • 4.3 million people age 55–64
  • 5.4 million on Medicaid expansion
  • 1 million elderly on Medicaid

*June 4–10th:

Donated groceries to a neighborhood homeless shelter for men.

*May 28-June 3rd:

Made a contribution to help Jon Ossof “Flip Georgia’s 6th District” — he’s running in the first competitive Congressional Election of Donald Trump’s Presidency.

Called my senators again to urge them to oppose the latest Trumpcare plan, especially since any cuts to Medicaid would have a terrible impact on my parents.

*May 21–27:

My husband and I signed up to host volunteers and staffers who are campaigning for Jon Ossoff before the June 20th runoff election for Georgia’s 6th district.

Called my senators to oppose the latest Trumpcare plan, which would take away health care from 23 million Americans, and eliminate protections for pre-existing conditions, and could include cuts to both Medicaid (which provides necessary healthcare for my mother with dementia) and protections for pre-existing conditions to give the rich a tax cut.

*May 14–20th:

Spoke with the director of a religious-based organization, World Relief Atlanta, to coordinate a furniture donation and also sent emails to neighborhood listservs on their behalf about their furniture needs.

Donated groceries to a neighborhood homeless shelter for men.


*April 5th-May 13th:

I’m honoring my time to write with a month-long artist residency at Djerassi, which islocated in the remote mountains of California.


*March 26-April 1st:

Contacted several organizations about donating furniture to refugee families.

Signed this petition to stop Governor Rick Scott from continuing to undermine Aramis Ayala, the first Black woman state attorney in Florida history, after she refused to seek the death penalty.

Called senators to urge them to protect women and continue to fund Planned Parenthood.

Called senators to ask for an independent, bipartisan commission led by a special prosecutor to investigate Trump’s ties to Russia.

Donated most of my literature and poetry books to a local high school for the arts.


*March 19–25th:

Called my senators several times this week, mainly to urge them to oppose the repeal of the ACA and the proposed federal budget, which includes cuts to the arts (especially the National Endowment for the Arts) and other programs (i.e. Meals on Wheels).

Donated groceries to a nearby homeless shelter.


*March 12–18th:

Called my senators to urge them to not support Paul Ryan’s bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act as it would leave millions of Americans without health insurance and would directly impact my family as well.

Called the San Quentin library about the possibility of donating my books.


*March 5–11th:

In opposition to the the Affordable Care Act repeal bill that would defund Planned Parenthood, I referred to this handy “Emergency Guide” for tips on things I could do to help.

I found an event in Atlanta that will celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th.

Called senators to ask they reject Paul Ryan’s terrible bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act and oppose the de-funding of Planned Parenthood.

Inquired about the possibility of donating books to the Prison University Project.

Participating in a postcard-writing party this Saturday!


*Feb. 26th-March 4th:

Thanks to Wall-of-Us, I signed up to help support my closest swing district and signed up for a team to help Democrats win this swing districts to take back the House.

Also RSVP-ed to participate in a Swing GA 6 left — Kickoff House Party this Saturday.

Called my Senators to demand that Sessions resign as Attorney General.


*Feb. 19th-25th:

Called reps to ask that they support H.Con.Res.24 and demand full transparency about Russia’s influence on the 2016 election and Presidential transition, including a bipartisan investigation into the current administration’s ties to Russia.

RSVP-ed to participate in an upcoming Georgia Resistance Network March Meeting.

Donated groceries and toiletries to a neighborhood homeless shelter for men.


*Feb. 12th-18th:

Called reps to demand full transparency about Michael Flynn’s communication with Russia in the months prior to Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Signed this petition to urge Congress to reject any budget that cuts federal funding for the arts and humanities.


*Feb. 5–11th:

Called my state reps to urge them to:

— oppose Steve Bannon’s appointment to the National Security Council. This site, “We are the 65,” offers a super helpful script.

oppose Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education

RSVP-ed to join a “huddle” meeting this month, which are a part of the 10 Actions for the First 100 Days campaign, which launched at the Women’s March.

Donated groceries to a neighborhood homeless shelter for men.

Mailed these Women’s March postcards to friends.


*Jan. 29th-Feb. 4th:

Participated in a weekend non-violent communication workshop (or “compassionate communication”) in Colorado. It was an incredibly illuminating and moving experience!

Reached out to contacts in Georgia about non-violent communication workshops and training. I hope to continue my learning and help introduce NVC to other folks too.

Ordered and picked up these Women’s March postcards from a local printing shop, so I can begin hounding my senators again and following these “10 Actions for the first 100 Days.”

Read this Twitter post, which made me teary about the unexpected, positive outcomes that have happened, even during the most challenging moments during the Trump presidency so far.

Participated in a rally for refugees and immigrants near downtown Atlanta where folks were asked to text the number 864237 (with the message “unity”) to receive calls to action.


*Jan. 22–28th:

Following Maud Newton’s lead, I emailed the White House to let them know that I definitely care about seeing Trump’s tax returns and expect them to release them, and how this secrecy goes against the idea of an open, democratic government.

Also put this anti-Trump rally for April 15th on my calendar.

RSVP-ed for this event to learn more about how to help support and elect Democratic women to our state government, hosted by Melita Easters, the founding chair of GA WIN List.


*Jan 15th-21st:

Talked to the founder of Refuge Coffee Company this week about helping them with design projects and applied for grant on their behalf! They’re a non-profit coffee truck that offers “job training for international refugees in Clarkston, GA!”

Also, I joined friends in D.C. to participate in the Women’s March! It was one of the most heartening and inspiring experiences and we’re planning to harness that energy for good trouble over the next four years and beyond!

So grateful to everyone who participated in marches around the world and for their smartass, witty signs, along with the gorgeous artwork made in honor of the event.

One of my personal favorites:


*Jan. 8th-14th:

I was fortunate to receive a scholarship from Podability to participate in a future, weekend workshop! Very psyched! I’m hoping that I can help bring more stories (by marginalized voices) to more listeners via the podcast medium.

I signed this petition by Color of Change to ask one of the largest book publishers in the country, Simon & Schuster, to cancel their $250,000 book deal with Milo Yiannopoulos, a rightwing writer who was permanently banned from Twitter for his racist tweets about the “Ghostbusters” actor Leslie Jones.

Based on the advice below by a writer, I’m also planning to write a letter to Simon & Schuster:

Corporate Headquarters
SIMON & SCHUSTER, INC.
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
PHONE: 212–698–7000

WHAT TO DO: Write them letters, hard-copy ones that need a stamp and an envelope. At any major publishing house, the people at the bottom are mostly clever, thoughtful, progressive gals who don’t like this sort of thing any more than you do. They want to be able to go to their bosses’ bosses’ bosses with a massive stack of post and say, “Hey, this is the only reader correspondence we’re getting now,” because that wastes time, and the easiest way to piss off a publishing house is to waste their employees’ time. Wasting time = less time for making books. Remember also that everybody who gets into publishing does it because fundamentally they love to READ, they READ anything that is put in front of them, even the guys at the top who spend more time on the phone and at cocktail parties than working with text believe in words as a magical conduit of ideas, and if you write them a long heartfelt letter, they may scoff at it but they will read it, and if they have 1000 heartfelt letters a day, then sooner or later all those words will sink in.
This is not a plastics manufacturer, this is not a bank. This is a book company. Write to the people who are in the business of reading.

*Jan. 1 -7th:

We visited and got coffee from Refuge Coffee Company — a non-profit coffee truck that offers “job training for international refugees in Clarkston, GA!” I’m hoping to stop by this weekend, try their coffee, and explore Clarkston — a fifteen-minute drive from our place and an area dubbed the “most diverse square mile in America” by Time Magazine.

After a friend kindly offered to knit this “pussyhat” hat for me to wear to the Women’s March in D.C. in a couple weeks, I felt inspired and looked into where I could try learning how to knit, so I can try making one for someone else who is going too and found a cool, local place offering knitting drop-in circles.

A colleague kindly asked me to join a Basecamp demo for Breanne, one of the co-founders of the the Women’s March! Very excited and grateful about this opportunity!

It was great to hear her enthusiasm about how much they’re looking forward to using Basecamp 3 (esp. since their org is extending beyond the march and has become global!), how she’s “right-brained,” and appreciates an easier, more visual to see everything.


*Dec. 25–31st:

We made a donation (kindly matched by my employer!) to Kundiman, a national non-profit devoted to fostering Asian American writers, and also donated several bags of food to an emergency shelter for men in our neighborhood.

Also reached out to our CSA, Fresh Harvest, about volunteer opportunities and learned that they’re located in Clarkston! They’re trying to get their harvest program (which focuses on a subsidized market of organic fruits and vegetables in a refugee apartment complex) off the ground in 2017 and aim to expand their growing operation to provide more refugee neighbors from agrarian backgrounds the chance to be empowered through their agrarian skills and knowledge. Very cool.


*Dec. 18–24th:

Earlier in the week, I was off-grid in a cabin in N. Georgia, so didn’t access the news for a couple of days, which left me feeling a little relieved and also anxious. It’s something for me to keep myself in check about — my amount of news consumption and paying attention to when it’d be good to pare back sometimes.

I volunteered my aspiring coding and design skills for The Injustice Boycott and also seeing if I can help our CSA — Fresh Harvest — with upcoming garden volunteer dates.

I encouraged a particular friend to apply for a programmer position. She’s an incredible person (woman of color) who’s overcome a ton of adversity in former positions (mostly in tech) and I look to her as a source of strength.

I spoke with a writer friend last night about how to minimize feelings of “hyper vigilance” when trying to contribute toward social change and thinking about ways to keep a sustainable focus, maintain hope, and not burn out.


*Dec. 11–17th:

Thurs:

I read this illuminating, concise guide written by former progressive congressional staffers who saw the Tea Party beat back President Obama’s agenda and their advice about how the Tea Party’s approach (an unlikely model, yes, but they’re a small, vocal, dedicated group of constituents) can offer a guide about how to get Congress to listen.

Like us, you probably deeply disagree with the principles and positions of the Tea Party. But we can all learn from their success in influencing the national debate and the behavior of national policymakers. To their credit, they thought thoroughly about advocacy tactics, as this leaked “best practices” guide demonstrates.
Ch. 1: How grassroots advocacy worked to stop Obama.
Ch. 2: How your MoC thinks, and how to use that to save democracy.
Ch. 3: Identify or organize your local group.
Ch. 4: Four local advocacy tactics that actually work.

I made several calls to urge aid to citizens in Aleppo, based on this guide by writer Mikkie Halpin.

I urge you to donate to Doctors Without Borders, who are delivering babies as bombs fall.
I urge you to donate to the International Rescue Committee who will aid the refugees.
I urge you to call your senators and ask them what they are doing to help the situation.
I urge you to call the National Security Council: 202 456 1111
I urge you to call the White House 202–456–1111 (TTY/TDD: 202 456 6213)
​I urge you to call Samantha Power, the United States Ambassador to the UN: (212) 415–4000
I urge you to call the United Nations Human Rights Council Office of the High Commissioner (international calls) +41 22 917 9220

Tues: Composed an email to send to electors asking them to consider not voting for Donald Trump if their conscience tells them so. Mailed postcards to electors.

Visited the state capitol to attend a Georgia Election Board meeting where folks expressed their concerns about a Trump presidency, citing reasons, including the significant increase of hate crimes due to his rhetoric.


Mon: Ordered postcards (template passed along by a friend) from Kinko’s to be printed, which will be ready tonight. I’ll mail them tomorrow to Georgia electors (10 min)


Sun:

Contacted the Gold Dome Breakfast Club (Atlanta chapter), which aims to “provide consistent, entry-level resource for knowledge and skills that progressive-minded folks can use to actively (and collectively) engage in the state legislative process. The goal is to generate a sustained increase in citizen participation in and around the Gold Dome.”

They’re organizing an event on Jan. 7th that’ll go over the basics of doing advocacy work at the state level, so I’m psyched to hear more about it and hopefully be able to participate.

Emailed administrators Katherine Siggerud and Timothy Minelli at the Congressional Relations at U.S. Government Accountability Office to voice my support of Senator Warren’s request to audit President-Elect Trump’s finances for conflicts of interest:


*Dec. 5th-9th:

Every day this week, I’m going to call the House Oversight Committee (202–225–5074) and chairman Chaffetz (at 801–851–2500 or 202–225–7751), along with my reps and senators, to urge them to support a bipartisan investigation into Trump’s financials and to support H.R. 6340, Rep. Katherine Clark’s Presidential Accountability Act requiring Presidents to resolve conflicts of interest. (5 min)

Here’s a guide from #FightTrump:

  1. First, see if anyone from your state is on the Committee: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/committees/HSGO
  2. Call either your representative on the Committee or call the House Oversight Committee directly at (202) 225–5074.
  3. Call the Committee chairman, Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) at (202) 225–7751.
  4. If any line goes to voicemail or the voicemail is full, pick another member of the committee and call their office.

*Dec. 4th:

I wrote letters (hand-written) to my senators, representative, and to Jason Chaffetz urging for an investigation of Trump’s conflicts of interest. (15 min)

I signed this “Close Georgia’s Coverage Gap” petition to urge Governor Deal and the state legislature to help close the coverage gap for low-income folks (like my parents) to receive Medicaid.

Feeling overjoyed about this news about Standing Rock and thanked President Obama here for honoring indigenous rights and the environment:

The Obama administration just announced that it will not grant the final easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline! Instead, the Army Corps of Engineers will conduct an environmental review.


*Dec. 3rd:

My husband and I attended a direct action training by SURJ (Showing Up For Racial Justice) to learn more about our rights and responsibilities during protests.

The National Lawyers Guild shared advice and resources, including the “198 Methods of Non-violent as Action” by Gene Sharp.

I signed this Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline petition, these petitions related to Trump, and this petition by Susan Sarandon to tell the Big Banks behind the funding of the DAPL pipeline to stop its construction (they’re close to the goal of 110k signatures!).


*Dec. 2nd:

Scheduled time this weekend to write letters to my rep and senators.

Signed up for #FightTrump and signed this petition to prevent Trump’s Muslim Registry.

#FightTrump is a committed group of scientists, journalists, veterans, designers, small business owners, parents, policymakers, educators, organizers, and friends. We came together after the election to provide simple, powerful calls to action on high-stakes issues like civil rights, reproductive rights, government transparency, climate change, criminal justice reform, and immigration policy.
Our mission is to make it simple for those who oppose Trump’s harmful policies to learn and take action.

*Dec. 1st: Shared some materials with a Google Group from when I’d participated in the Op-Ed Project a few years ago.

The OpEd Project’s mission is to increase the range of voices and quality of ideas we hear in the world. A starting goal is to increase the number of women thought leaders in key commentary forums to a tipping point. We envision a world where the best ideas — regardless of where they come from — will have a chance to be heard, and to shape society and the world.

I was happy to see that this resolution passed in the House and is heading to the Senate!

Encourages North Korea to allow Korean Americans to meet with their family members from North Korea.
Calls on North Korea to take steps to build goodwill that is conducive to peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Familiarizing myself more with using govtrack’s site and reading their emails to stay updated about upcoming legislation in Congress.


*Nov. 30th:

It’s promising to learn that Jason Chaffetz’s office is receiving unprecedented calls from concerned citizens who are urging for an investigation of Trump’s conflicts of interest, so I called them (202–225–5074) again today.

Thanks to suggested action steps from one of my favorite writers and thinkers, Rebecca Solnit, I called my senators and representative in support of Senator Cardin’s resolution in the Foreign Relations Committee that urges Trump to comply with requests to eliminate conflicts of interest, along with my support of co-sponsored House Bill 6340 by Reps. Clark and Nadler to require Trump to address his conflicts of interest. Also sent related emails to administrators, Katherine Siggerud and Timothy Minelli, at the Congressional Relations at U.S. Government Accountability Office. (5-10 min).


*Nov. 29th:

Made a donation (kindly matched by my employer) to the Oceti Sakowin Sacred Water School, which needs shelter supplies to keep the children and teachers warm during winter.

This school, in the midst of much adversity, makes it possible for the students ages 4–14 and their families, to continue protecting the Missouri River and sacred sites from the development of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

*Nov. 28th: Attended a Planned Parenthood meeting tonight and grateful to see a packed room of folks who want to volunteer their strengths — for events, as citizen lobbyists, as escorts, for letter writing campaigns, etc. — to protect women’s (and everyone’s) rights and health.

Also learned that the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organizations (including Planned Parenthood and others) selected by customers.

We were also reminded about the power of our voices with a recent story: a proposed legislation in Georgia that would have restricted the rights of Muslim women to wear veils in public was withdrawn after two days because of public outrage.


*Nov. 27th:

RSVP-ed to attend a Planned Parenthood event.

Inspired by Emily Ellsworth’s advice, “How to Make your Congressman Listen to You,” I looked up my congressional staff members for my rep. John Lewis, relayed info about the Planned Parenthood event, and requested a staff member to attend.


*Nov. 26th:

Used this great app, Spendefy, to find out about more black-owned businesses in Atlanta.


*Nov. 25th:

Though offices seemed closed, I left messages for my senators to voice my opposition against Trump’s cabinet appointments — also emailed them for good measure. Thanks to the Muslim Grassroots Movement for providing a handy script!

Thanks to my generous employer and amazing boss queens, I’ve registered to attend a conference sponsored by The Center for Nonviolent Communication. I’ve wanted to learn for years about NVC and now have the opportunity to start.


*Nov. 24th:

I wrote.

Read this and this, and then made a donation to this initiative by the Stein/Baraka Green Party to help fund election recounts in several states — they’ve reached their goal for Wisconsin but need help for other states (Pennsylvania and Michigan) due next week.

From Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein:

“After a divisive and painful presidential race, in which foreign agents hacked into party databases, private email servers, and voter databases in certain states, many Americans are wondering if our election results are reliable,” Stein said in a statement on her campaign website.
“That’s why the unexpected results of the election and reported anomalies need to be investigated before the 2016 presidential election is certified. We deserve elections we can trust.”

Received a great email from SURJ (Showing Up For Racial Justice) offering a toolkit and additional support for having tough conversations about charged issues:

This Thanksgiving, SURJ is offering two ways to help support white folks in having tough conversations with other white folks — conversations that are necessary if we want to break silence about race in this country:
Thanksgiving Discussion Guide: These conversations are tricky, and often get “in the weeds” fast. We’ve put together a discussion guide that gives some more substantial talking points for those tough conversations, as well as some questions you can ask to elicit feedback and avoid conversational shut-downs. Click here for the discussion guide!
SURJ Holiday Hotline: When you get stuck during Thanksgiving conversations, SURJ has you covered. Simply text SOS (with no quotation marks!) to 82623, and we’ll send you some key talking points that tend to come up in these tough conversations. If you get *really* stuck, we’ll even hop on the phone with you for a short 1:1 coaching call. It’s vital for white people to break white silence about the danger of Trump’s presidency — we we’ll make sure you have the tools you need to have those conversations over the holidays

Later today we’ll drop off some food to this emergency shelter for men in Candler Park. One of the interns there shared that they have something like a 80–90% placement rate for helping folks transition to more permanent homes and jobs.


*Nov. 23rd:

I put some local Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) events on my calendar.

Signed up for daily alerts from govtrack to stay informed about upcoming legislation in Congress, including specific activity by my reps. Pretty cool!

I called my representatives and senators to tell them how I don’t agree with the privatization/phase out of Medicare and Medicaid (proposed by Paul Ryan and Trump) and how it could leave 20 million Americans (who are currently covered) without insurance and weaken coverage for seniors (an issue VERY dear to me). Here’s Mawd Newton’s great script (I wish I’d used it as I get flustered on the phone sometimes!).

And a great article about how these repeals will impact folks on all sides:

The three biggest provisions of the ACA — Medicaid expansion to all low-income people, the individual mandate to buy insurance, and the creation of a subsidy-backed private-insurance marketplace — are the most obvious candidates for the axe. Unfortunately for many of the millions of voters who elected a Republican president and Congress, cutting those provisions could place their lives in disarray.

*Nov. 22nd:

I called Paul Ryan’s office because he’s conducting a survey hoping to show a popular mandate to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). It’s automated and quick. Here’s what to do:

  • 1) Call (202) 225–3031
    2) **WAIT through 40–50 seconds of pure dead silence suggesting you have called the Death Star. (Seriously. Don’t hang up. There’s no hold music. It’s a little odd.)
    3) You will get prompted by the survey
    4) Press 2 to participate
    5) Press 1 to register your support for the ACA

I signed up to volunteer for Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)

Read “How to Make your Congressman Listen to You” by former Congressional staff member Emily Ellsworth and her advice on how to get your representative to take notice and hear you out (and how much phone calls matter!).


*Nov. 21st:

Input phone number and address of my representative for my congressional district into my phone.

Called The House Oversight Committee at 202–225–5074 to support the call for a bipartisan review of Trump’s financials and apparent conflicts of interest. They’re reporting phone jams, but I got through on my second attempt.

Started to research new orgs to volunteer for.


*Nov. 20th:

I signed this petition by the Southern Poverty Law Center to rescind the appointment of Stephen Bannon.

I read this Brain Pickings article, “No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear: Toni Morrison on the Artist’s Task in Troubled Times”:

This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal….Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge — even wisdom. Like art.

I put this quote on my wall and got to work.


*Nov. 19th:

I left a message for my state senators to voice my protest against Jeff Sessions’ nomination for attorney general. I also put their contact info into my phone. (5 min)


*Nov. 18th:

Made a donation on Georgia Gives Day to the ACLU of Georgia and my employer kindly matched it! (5 min)


*Nov. 17th:

Made plans for the Women’s March in January! (it took a few hours to find an affordable place to stay, but we did it and found a spot in Baltimore, a 50-min train ride away!)