How To Support Anti-Donald Trump Protests

It's an undeniably dangerous time in America right now. The election of Donald Trump last week legitimized the racist, sexist, and homophobic rhetoric that he used to stoke fear and resentment throughout his campaign, and many have already fallen victim to violence invoked in his name. While thousands are taking to the streets in protest against Trump and the violent division he incited, there are a variety of reasons you might not be able or feel safe to join in, and that's perfectly alright. There are other ways to support Anti-Trump protests than by attending, because unfortunately, not everyone truly has the freedom to express that view right now.

Whether it's your age, your family and community, your living circumstances, or your location, there are several perfectly valid reasons that you might not be able to attend a protest right now. If you live in a heavily Republican community that voted overwhelmingly for Trump, you might not feel safe expressing a divergent view in light of all the politically-motivated violence going on right now. You should never do anything that makes you uncomfortable or puts you in potential harm if you can avoid it, because although standing up for your beliefs is strong, brave, and admirable, you can work in a subversive and confidential way just as effectively without putting yourself in danger.

Even if you can make it to a protest in person, you can still help the protesters out, perhaps most prominently through donation. Some organizations are collecting money directly for the benefit of the protesters, like the Chicago Community Bond Fund, which is helping raise money for protesters who have been arrested in the past week. You can also give to organizations that are working in protest of Trump and his policy prescriptions, too. John Oliver ran through an amazing list at the end of his first post-election show, so you can refer to that for guidance (and a bonus laugh). This has the benefit of being relatively secure and discreet, which can come in handy if you don't feel safe letting others know about your political views.

If you don't have the money to donate, another crucial piece of work that needs to be done is calling legislators. Protesters aren't likely to have their phones out at rallies, so this is work that can be done even better if you can't make it out to protest in person. The vast array of legitimate grievances against the Trump administration is growing, from his appointment of alt-right supporter and alleged anti-Semite Steve Bannon as his chief strategist to his disastrous anti-environmental policies, and your legislators need to hear about it. Here's some handy advice on how to contact your legislators from a former Congressional staffer, so get dialing when you have the time and personal safety to do so.

Finally, there is value in social media engagement. This one is the least confidential, so if you do live in a community that might potentially backlash against you, don't do anything you feel unsafe doing. If you can constructively engage with Trump supporters or tolerators online, though, it does make a difference. Part of the reason he won the election is that people stopped talking to each other — politics, especially views different than our own — became a "do not engage" topic that people started scrolled past or blocking on their news feeds. Reopening the channels of communication in a respectful and healthy way can help everyone humanize both sides of the political spectrum and start to heal this country's wounds.

Ultimately, there's a lot of value to going out in person and engaging in civil disobedience to make a political statement, but it's not the only way to promote change. If there's any reason you can't go in person to protest, there are still plenty of ways to support the cause either in secret or within your financial or physical limitations.