Los Angeles: Let’s Do This
Since the election, there’s been a lot of talk about the kind of things we can do to be more active members of society. There are a lot of things at stake (including but not limited to: climate change, the Supreme Court, women’s rights, immigration, race relations, healthcare, campaign finance reform and the entire first amendment (!)) and if we’ve learned anything from the election, it’s that we need to fight for what we believe in. Nasty Women Get Shit Done put together another great list of things you should do right now, and as they say, retweeting things on Twitter is great but simply not enough. I’ve complied a list of things that Angelenos can do online, by phone, or in their beloved city to make a change. Please feel free to add additional resources in the comments below.
It can be hard to be so (geographically) removed from all the action in Washington DC, but that’s why we have representatives. Reach out to the folks who are supposed to be voicing your concerns. Their job is to represent you, so why not let them know what you’re thinking? Tell them how you feel about the current election, your concerns about what our President-Elect has said he will (and won’t) do, your worries about what could happen to your healthcare and your rights. It is your right to talk to them and it is their job to listen. Your voice matters. They do keep track of who calls about what (just look at what happened in Georgia!), so it’s important to reach out when you have something to say.
Our senators are currently Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein (and in 2016, Kamala Harris will replace Barbara Boxer). Unfortunately, the Democrats still have a minority in the Senate, but we still have one seat that can go blue! You can support Foster Campbell for Louisiana Senate here. Moving over to the House of Representatives, you can find your Congressional representative here, or check out this list of elected officials in Los Angeles.
To request a bipartisan review of our President-Elect’s financials and potential conflicts of interest, you can contact the House Oversight Committee at 202.225.5074 or, if their voicemail is full, send them a fax (which you can do online!) at 202.225.3974.
There’s been mounting evidence that Russia interfered with our election. You can reach the Department of Justice at 202.353.1555 (or send them an email) and request a formal investigation into this matter.
Another big issue is that the Senate has refused to appoint Obama’s pick to the Supreme Court, based not on experience or any sort of logical reason, but because they just don’t want to. There’s an argument as to why this needs to change, and a petition to appoint Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court has been circulating.
This election has also reignited the debate over the Electoral College. It’s got a pretty interesting history (this video covers it well), but there are some who believe it’s no longer relevant, especially when you consider the “vote power” of different states. If you’re interested in contacting them about their vote, you can check out #asktheelectors. There is currently a petition going around to ask the electors to reconsider their vote (since Hillary clearly won the popular vote), which you can find here.
See? And those are all things you can do from the comfort of your bed!
…AND AT HOME
It can be kind of overwhelming to figure out which organization to support — after all, many of us have limited resources when it comes to time and/or money. Togetherlist is a great resource for finding different organizations organized by cause, with easy links to donate and volunteer.
If you’re interested in volunteering in Los Angeles, there are a ton of great places that could use your help. I’ve tried to link to as many LA specific chapters as possible below.
For those interested in supporting civil liberties, contact ACLU SoCal. The National Immigration Law Center offers trainings to educate folks about the rights and legal issues facing immigrants. The Sylvia Rivera Law Project, whose mission statement is “… to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination or violence” is in need of people to help with the mountain of paperwork that comes with these lawsuits.
The Trevor Project is focused on ending suicide amongst LGBT youth. Next Gen Climate Action is working to fight climate change, one person at a time. Last but certainly not least, there’s been a lot of bullying since this election started and even more since the results were announced. Kind Campaign is a great organization that’s focused on ending bullying.
This is just a smattering of examples — there are so many more organizations that could use your help. Jezebel put together a good list of “pro-women, pro-immigrant, pro-earth, anti-bigotry organizations that need your help.” This list of actions to take (put together by Mikki Halpin) is fantastic. I also think the Action Group Network looks really promising.
One thing that’s not getting as much press as it should are the myriad of ways our President-Elect is working against the First Amendment. His plan to keep a Muslim registry questions freedom of religion (not to mention reminding us of some of the darkest parts of American history). He has always ranted against the free press, even going to so far to threaten to sue the New York Times for running a story about him. You can support journalism by subscribing to a paper you support. He has even questioned the freedom to assemble (“very unfair!”) as thousands have exercised their right to protest by protesting his election. And his demanding of an apology from the cast of Hamilton after an audience booed his VP underlines 1) the importance of freedom of speech and 2) the ways in which art is crucial during these times. Support the arts by getting a theater subscription, stopping by an art museum, or mentoring kids.
This election was exhausting, but the fight is just beginning. Let’s show the world that we’re willing to put our money where our mouth is and that we’re willing to work for the country we love so much.
Thank you to Calvin Starnes for all his help!