Monday, Feb. 20 is Presidents Day, a day set aside to celebrate the lives and achievements of all of America’s presidents. This year, though, the day is obviously a little more charged than usual, based on who's in the White House right now. So, here's an idea: Donate to these organizations this Presidents Day. Even if you only have a few bucks to give, it'll make a big difference for the people who are the most vulnerable under the current administration.
For me, toasting Trump actually makes me feel a little sick, but Presidents Day is happening all the same. Sure, you have the option of staying in bed and pulling the covers over your head; however, you can also choose to use Feb. 20 as a day of action instead. Countless organizations are fighting to protect the rights of refugees, the LGBTQIA community, the disabled, reproductive rights, the environment, and more.
Fighting fascism is hard work, and many organizations are stretched thin with the recent barrage of Trump's policies. Is there an organization that you feel strongly about? For me, it's Planned Parenthood and any group that supports refugees. I honestly couldn't have gotten through my 20s without Planned Parenthood; additionally, I used to live in Portland, Maine, which is a refugee resettlement city. The influx of immigrants positively contributed to the city's culture and economy, proving immigrants are a vital part of our society.
Which group speaks to you? It's time to put your money where your mouth is and openly oppose Trump this Presidents Day by supporting one one of these nonprofits fighting for the causes that need it the most right now.
1. PEN International
President Trump's attack on free speech extends to journalists. Some reporters covering Trump's inauguration were arrested and charged with felonies, despite having simply been doing their jobs. The free press is a vital part of any democratic society. With centers in 100 countries, PEN International promotes literature and freedom of expression and unhampered transmission of thought within each nation and between all nations.
PEN, which works to free imprisoned journalists around the world, receives much of its funding in the United States from things like NEA grants, which Trump has threatened to get rid of.
2. Miry's List
More than 1,000 refugees settled in Southern California in 2016. Now, a new nonprofit is helping them feel at home. Miry's List creates lists to provide essential supplies to refugee families once they've been placed into housing.
According to the website, most re-settled families have experienced trauma, high levels of stress, and feelings of helplessness for many years. Miry's List provides them with items they need to start a new life.
3. International Rescue Committee
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping people whose lives and livelihoods have been destroyed by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their futures. The organization is currently collecting donations to assist vulnerable refugees in the United States.
4. Refugees Welcome
Imagine coming to a new country. You're traumatized by war. You don't speak the language. You've lost all of your possessions. You have no place to live. Refugees Welcome houses refugees in actual homes in countries around the world by allowing people to register their homes, or rental properties, as available housing for refugees.
While not yet available in the United States, Canada has vowed to take refugees turned away by Trump, and Canada supports this housing-first program.
5. Planned Parenthood Action Fund
The Trump administration's war on reproductive rights endangers your right to access safe, legal abortions, birth control, and basic gynecological healthcare.
I did not have health insurance throughout most of my 20s, and would have received zero gynecological healthcare without Planned Parenthood. Help keep this option available for millions of women who rely on it. The Planned Parenthood Action Fund is dedicated to fighting for laws and policies to protect your rights and health, and elect officials who will do so too.
6. The American Civil Liberties Union
When Trump's executive order instituting the travel ban began, it was lawyers from the ACLU who headed to airports across the country offer free legal representation to those being unfairly detained.
The ACLU has worked to protect and defend the rights afforded to all Americans under the U.S. Constitution for more than 100 years. During the next four years, we're going to need them more than ever.
7. Lambda Legal
With recent news that the U.S. Department of Justice would reportedly no longer enforce Obama's protection of transgender students, the trans community is more vulnerable than ever. A national nonprofit organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of marginalized communities, Lambda Legal fights for lesbians, gay men, bisexual people, transgender people, and those living with HIV through impact litigation, education, and public policy work.
I personally know two lawyers who work with Lambda Legal; the work they do is difficult, but hopeful. Help support America's most vulnerable communities.
8. NOH8 Campaign
The NOH8 Campaign promotes marriage, gender and human equality through education, advocacy, social media, and visual protest.
A photographic silent protest created by celebrity photographer Adam Bouska and partner Jeff Parshley in direct response to the passage of California's Proposition 8 in 2008 (it was later ruled to be unconstitutional in 2010), the campaign features subjects with duct tape over their mouths, symbolizing their voices being silenced by Prop 8 and similar legislation around the world.
NOH8 creates limited edition items and directs proceeds toward specific organizations like the ACLU or victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting.
9. The Southern Poverty Law Center
The Southern Poverty Law Center is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for society's most vulnerable members. Using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy, the SPLC works toward making equal justice, and equal opportunity, for everyone a reality.
The SPLC has initiated lawsuits that have toppled institutional racism; destroyed some of the nation’s most violent white supremacist groups; and protected the civil rights of children, women, the disabled, immigrants and migrant workers, the LGBTQIA community, prisoners, and many others who faced discrimination, abuse, or exploitation.
10. Human Rights Campaign
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer civil rights protection organization. In the Trump era, preserving, and advancing, the rights of the LGBTQIA community is more important than ever.
The HRC offers a Q&A to outline which LGBTQIA rights are under threat during Trump's presidency.
11. Americans for Immigrant Justice
An immigrant trans woman was recently detained in Texas after she sought domestic violence protection. Besides simply being awful, this event might also make other at-risk people less likely to seek help.
American Immigrants for Justice protects basic human rights of immigrants like this woman, and offers services, legal support to ensure immigrants are not subjected to abuse or injustice; are not afraid to seek help; have a fair opportunity to make their case in the system that governs them; and have their contributions valued, and encouraged.
12. Dakota Access Pipeline Donation Fund
With all of turmoil Trump has initiated in his month in office, you may have forgotten that there are still people at Standing Rock fighting against the Dakota Access Pipeline. If you want to help protect Standing Rock's access to clean, safe drinking water, you can contribute to the Dakota Access Pipeline Donation Fund, because you can't drink oil.
13. Run for Something
Sometimes the only way to change things is to do it yourself. Millennials are the future of America, and that means they are also the future of politics. Run for Something is committed to recruiting passionate people to advocate for progressive values now, and for the next 30 years, with the ultimate goal of building a progressive bench, thus planning a better political future for America.
Think your future is in politics? Consider joining. Even if you don't want to run for office, you can donate to support those who do.
14. Sierra Club
Global warming is real, and the Sierra Club is committed to protecting millions of acres of wilderness; helped pass the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act. They lead the fight to move away from the dirty fossil fuels that cause climate disruption, and toward a clean energy economy.
With Trump's current pick, Scott Pruitt, to head the EPA, the Sierra Club's work is more important than ever. I mean, what are we doing all of this fighting for if the planet becomes too toxic to support life?
15. National Inclusion Project
The National Inclusion project fights for the rights of disabled children, and lobbies for them to be included by working to bridge the gap that exists between young people with disabilities and the world around them.
Protecting the rights of every marginalized community is key to preserving America's vibrant culture during Trump's presidency.