Before we get started, let me say that this article is a neutral article about making the world a better place for all people, supporting inclusion and equality. No matter your beliefs, feel free to proceed…
This election has been a particularly difficult one, polarizing and even isolating. With present day media, Americans have the freedom to only surround themselves with the media sources that support their current beliefs, cutting themselves off from the rest of the country that has a different view point than their own.
Unfortunately this works on both sides of the equation.
No matter what you believe, exclusively surrounding yourself with things you want to hear as opposed to reality is a dangerous path to take. This is what led many people to vote for Trump in the first place and led so many liberals to be shocked by the outcome of the election this past Tuesday.
Yes that is a Dumb and Dumber gif. It seemed to fit the current mood. Telling your social media friends or real life social interactions to get away from you with their beliefs is just one step closer to entering an isolationist bubble. I’m not suggesting you necessarily stay BBFLs with them, but blocking them out isn’t always the right move either.
We do not live in a perfectly inclusive, progressive society like many of us thought.
America is imperfect and we have seen this demonstrated with the backlash post-election this week, from both parties. Separating yourself from ideas that are different, and people that are polar opposite from you will make your life easier, that is the truth. It won’t help you to understand reality though and it most definitely will not help to create progressive change.
Nobody said creating positive change was easy.
If you believe that cutting people out of your life will help to create change, take a step back and consider actual moves to affect positive change. Rather than telling someone that they are simply wrong, have a discussion and try to understand why they believe what they do and who knows, you just might see some people change a view point or two.
This is not a steadfast rule, for some people will not be changing their minds anytime soon.
I will not pretend like the ‘talking things out patiently method’ works on everyone, but it is a good start for some. Rather than preach about inclusion and understanding, for those of you that are past the point of opening discussions or temperance, I understand completely. It is not an easy path or the right path for everyone, no matter what your beliefs are.
Instead of punching a wall, crying or ranting to your two hundred Facebook friends, try taking out your feelings in ways that expend your energy and create positive change. Here are a few ways you can put that energy to good use:
Support LGTBQ groups.
Back organizations on social media or online, such as The Happy Hippie Foundation which Miley Cyrus founded in order to fight injustice for homeless LGBTQ youth. If you’re looking for a national organization to align with the Human Rights Campaign is “the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization,” and packs some serious punch. To get more focused in one aspect of this broad spectrum, there is the Global Action for Trans Equality which defends the rights of transgender people. If you’re searching for a more media driven way to get involved, GLAAD works to help shape the media narrative in favor of inclusiveness for the LGBTQ community.
Help to not only envision a world where LGBTTQQIAAP (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, ally, pansexual) people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community, but fight to make it happen.
Even if you’re not personally part of the LGBTQ community don’t be afraid to get involved, allies are always welcome too!
Engage with civil rights and anti-racism groups.
Start with larger national organizations such as the ACLU which works to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States, working across the board for many of the groups mentioned in this article. The NAACP ensures the equality of rights of all persons and works to eliminate race-based discrimination. If the current refugee crisis hits home for you, look into Aid Refugees which assists refugees in assimilating to life in the states. Funders for Racial Justice lists out organizations you can join to fight for racial justice and police accountability, if any of the aforementioned don’t seem quite right for you.
Join environmental and conservationist groups.
Become a part of organizations like the Sierra Club, which is the oldest conservation group in existence, or World Wildlife Fund which promotes balancing human needs being in harmony with nature and its’ creatures. You can also check out Green Peace which fights for global environmental issues peacefully. If the environment cooperating with our countries’ energy needs is more your focus, check out Co-op America/Green America that looks to harness economic power to create an environmentally sustainable society.
Get involved in women’s equality and health.
The National Organization for Women (NOW) has received so much positive attention post election that they had to set up an additional portal for supporting their grassroots organization. NOW defends the equality of women, seeks to limit violence to women and ensures that we have access to reproductive healthcare. If you feel passionate about working with the younger generation, Girls Inc. focuses specifically on female youth inspiring them to grow up to be educated, independent, strong and healthy. If involvement in policy is more your speed, Women Impacting Public Policy, Inc (WIPP) is a national nonpartisan public policy organization that advocates for and on behalf of women business owners in the legislative processes of our nation. And lastly, if working on a national/global scale seems exciting to you, try out the Global Fund for Women which defends women’s right to live free from violence, slavery, and discrimination; to be educated; to own property; to vote; and to earn a fair and equal wage.
Hopefully this is just a starting place and will inspire you to get involved in the community in numerous ways. You can create positive change any way you see fit. Bettering America is not one organizations’ duty to fulfill.
If you are feeling inspired by a group or cause that isn’t on this list, post it in the comments below and spread the word!
These groups fight for equality, justice and basic human rights of people, no matter their race, orientation, origin or gender. So get involved, support, donate if you can afford to do so or help spread the word, because nobody is telling you to stop or start bitching, but we must take action. Let your voices be heard, because every voice counts and you can make a difference.
Nasty Women of the World Unite. Peacefully fight for positive change.