This Campaign Shows How Far A Dollar Can Go In The Resistance

by Mia Mercado
Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images

This Saturday, April 29 will mark 100 days since Trump took office. These first few months have been, in a word, tumultuous. However, they have not been without action, specifically from the people who have resisted the Trump administration since day one. If you want evidence of what collection action can amount to, look no further than the 100 Days/100 Dollars campaign.

Showing how far a few bits of spare change can go, 100 Days/100 Dollars encourages people to donate a single dollar every day of Trump’s first 100 days in office. Those $100 will then be distributed among three groups working to protect civil rights: Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, ACLU, and Southern Poverty Law Center. Because the Trump administration’s actions, language, and proposed policies have heavily impacted Americans who are Black, Mexican, and Muslim, the organizers behind 100 Days/100 Dollars wanted to make sure that’s who their donated dollars would support.

“In the same first 100 days that Trump’s team has begun to dismantle civil rights, we’ve banded together to support the groups who are fighting on the ground,” Katie Garth, one the organizers behind 100 Days/100 Dollars, tells Bustle via email. As of this writing, Day 98, the campaign has raised more than $20,000.

Francesca Rodriquez, another one of the forces behind 100 Days/100 Dollars, tells Bustle over email that Jeremy Cesarec, a good friend of Rodriquez’s, had the initial inspiration for the project on Nov. 9. “He wanted to brainstorm ideas for action and wanted his friends to hold him accountable for taking that action,” Rodriquez says. What started as an email chain among friends resulted in a grassroots campaign fund headed by a team of four: Jeremy Cesarec, Francesca Rodriquez, Katie Garth, and Bryn Martyna.

One of the primary goals of the campaign was accessibility. “We wanted to create a way for people to act quickly,” Rodriquez says, “There was such a huge list of things to be concerned about that it seemed like a lot of people were too overwhelmed to start.” Mobilizing people to set aside a single dollar every day seemed like a simple yet concrete way make a change.

“We also talked a lot about how to get folks without a background in activism to use their financial privilege for the benefit of vulnerable groups,” says Rodriquez. The election results spurred many first-time activists across the country. Rodriquez says their donors have ranged from people donating their first dollar to those who have spent decades dedicated to supporting civil rights.

Feeling a sense of accountability is the first step to enacting change. Campaigns like 100 Days/100 Dollars help make goals for collective change achievable. “It’s a great chance to do something you already want to do,” Rodriquez says, “And make a larger statement by joining together collectively.”

You can add your voice to 100 Days/100 Dollars through this Saturday, April 29. Donate through their Crowdrise page here.

Rodriquez’s advice to anyone looking to get more involved in activism but feels unqualified: Everyone should feel empowered to make a change. “We kept coming back to the old adage: If not us, who? If not now, when?”, Rodriquez says. “These processes are imperfect by nature, but we’ve learned a lot for next time around and raised more than $20,000 in the process.”

As for what’s next, Rodriquez will be helping with a friend’s campaign for Attorney General of Wisconsin, where he will be challenging the Republican incumbent. Rodriquez suspects one of the organizers of 100 Days/100 Dollars will come up with another smart yet simple idea. She says, “We plan to keep showing up and thinking of new ways to contribute. The work is never done.”

For more information on 100 Days/100 Dollars, visit their website here. You can also follow the campaign on Facebook and Instagram @100Days100Dollar and on Twitter @100DaysDollars.