Anger Into Action: 100 Acts of Resistance
These are worrying, frustrating, enraging times. Every day, I read about people in power attempting to chip away at hard-earned progress. Women’s rights, immigrants’ rights, labor rights and children’s rights are in jeopardy; and the independent press, Latinos, the environment, public and higher education, and scientists are under attack. As a Latina, journalist, feminist and mom, I find this personally unacceptable. As an American, I can’t see my country headed in this direction and do nothing.
So, starting in January, I’ve begun turning my feelings of sadness and hopelessness into action. I am choosing to resist.
Now, not everyone can be a water protector at Standing Rock or donate thousands of dollars like a wealthy philanthropist. I can’t contribute to the world that way, but I can do something. And, this year I’m determined to do 100 somethings.
Whether I’m joining a protest or march and exercising my First Amendment rights to speak out against injustice, donating what I can to organizations working to help immigrants or the poor, or writing letters to my elected officials, I am counting each act, big and small. My hope is that each act – just a few a month, one to two a week – can help counter the growing tides of hate, fear, gross ignorance and greed.
I’m notorious for beginning grand n only to abandon them months or even weeks later, so I’m making myself accountable, publicly. I’m going to do this, and I hope you do it with me.
This is how I resisted in January:
- I marched for justice and equality – and took my husband and sons with me. The day after the inauguration, I walked alongside my people. We were all different – 30-something mothers, sorority girls, older women, disabled, veterans, children, fathers, grandfathers, young activists and so many more – but we were all at the Women’s March/Mujeres Marcharan in San Antonio to make a show our resistance to injustice against women. It was exciting and moving, and opened up a conversation with my oldest son about equality and fairness. Once the march was over, I realized the work was far from done. I couldn’t pat myself on the back and consider it over, I needed to keep the momentum going. That feeling inspired this project.
- I donated items for the homeless and stray animals.
This is a small thing, but I am counting it. This month, I collected three bags worth of small bottles of shampoo, soaps, lotions, boxes of sanitary products, T-shirts and more. All of these items were lying around my house gathering dust, it made me feel wasteful and greedy to have so much “extra” while people in my community went without. Plus, with looming cuts to social programs, charitable organizations will likely soon rely on individual donations more than ever.
- I Grabbed My Wallet.
I am a firm believer in voting with your dollars, or choosing to do business with those enterprises that reflect my beliefs. For me, that means supporting businesses with inclusive and progressive principles, and refusing to spend my money at businesses that don’t. For instance, I do not shop at Walmart or Hobby Lobby, and I no longer eat at Chik-fil-A or Papa John’s. In that spirit, I am largely following the Grab Your Wallet movement that encourages people to stop spending money at businesses that support Trump enterprises. One notable exception is Amazon, which I feel does good by providing an outlet for Latino writers, poets and other authors to get their works in the hands of readers everywhere.
- I supported investigative journalism.
As a journalist, I have always been a news junkie. While long-form features and thoughtful opinion pieces have always been my go-to, I’ve found myself drawn more and more to deep investigative stories. Now, more than ever, it’s important to be informed and support media that’s doing more than recycling propaganda and talking points. Journalism is an essential check on governmental power. Mother Jones, Washington Post, The Hill, Politico, The New Yorker, PBS NewHour – I’m reading, arming myself with knowledge and helping good journalism live another day.
- I embraced science and scientists from rogue Twitter.This is another tiny thing, but an important one. One of the movements against the current tide has occurred on social media. When the president’s administration stopped government agencies and federally funded parks from sharing climate change and environmental information, these groups went rogue and launched their own alt-Twitter accounts to share the truth. I have learned more about the state of our climate and the political hurdles scientists must jump via these accounts than from anywhere else.
- I learned from Writer’s Resist.
In January, writers and poets gathered all over the country to read their works and share how the recent political shift has impacted them. I joined the San Antonio group and heard over and over how scared, worried and disappointed these artists feel. I could certainly relate. While it was certainly comforting to find myself among like-minded creatives, it also lit a fire under me. In addition to moving poems and prose, I heard clear, strong voices declare that they would not resign themselves to the new reality. They won’t stop resisting, and neither will I.
If you are determined to make a positive impact on your community and world, please share what you are doing. Hopefully, we can all support each other.