22 Small Acts of Resistance You Can Do To Take Action Every Day
I'm tired of talking about 2016. It was awful; it was the worst; it broke my heart. Now we're one month into 2017, and already, I'm simultaneously more scared and more hopeful than I've ever been in my life. You, too? Here are 22 small acts of daily resistance you can do. In fact, they're things you probably should do; they're things we all should do. It is imperative that we make activism a part of our daily lives — because our future literally depends on it.
On Jan. 21, people across the globe joined the Women's March, which protested the Trump administration's treatment of women, Muslims, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, refugees, disabled folks, undocumented people, people of color, and minorities. So, you know, a lot. A recent survey charts total participation at close to 3 million. That's... kind of huge. Like, historically, record-breaking, fills up my heart with hope huge. And every day, it seems like more humans are taking up the mantle of resistance against hatred, cruelty, and discrimination. My main resolution for this year was to show up, and it looks like it was on all of your agendas as well.
But it can be difficult to continue the activism once your daily life has resumed, particularly for folks for whom the title of "activist" is a new addition. Very few of us can commit to marching in protests every few days; we have neither the time nor the emotional capacity to maintain that level of involvement. But by incorporating small, daily acts of resistance into our lives, we can normalize activism and denormalize all of the things that we absolutely cannot allow to become normalized. As John Oliver put it, this is not normal.
Good luck out there, angels.
1. Put your representatives' numbers in your phone.
2. And call them every time you post something or like something political on Facebook (or Twitter or Instagram, whatever your preferred social media platform is).
3. Take it a step further and host your own phone bank! Invite friends and family, take the time to outline who they can call and why, and print out some potential phone "scripts" for folks with phone anxiety.
4. Hop on the Women's March 10 in 100 campaign bandwagon and send your representatives a postcard.
5. And while you're at it, hand out additional postcards so people can write lawmakers on their own time.
6. Take a look at your budget, and forgo a small indulgence — daily latte, weekend drinks, monthly nail appointment. Every day, put what you would have spent in a container, and at the end of the month, donate it to an anti-hate, anti-discrimination organization.
7. Or sign up for an automatic monthly donation to an organization. Doesn't have to be big! A few dollars can still make a difference.
8. Engage in some creative therapy and organize a fundraiser. Bake bread, paint pictures, knit hats, and donate the proceeds.
9. Keep an eye on the progression of Trump's agenda. It's easy to be sidetracked by his tweeting habits, but the real damage is done with his pen (and with Congress' approval). The New York Times has recently created a streamlined graphic that tracks all of his proposed moves, and where they are on the legislation track. You can also just make a list and keep adding to it every day.
10. Sign up for a newsletter (or three) that provides a roundup of What's Up With Everything. These are especially helpful when you still want to remain vigilant but need a break from social media.
11. Practice speaking up. We undoubtedly have people in our lives who harbor hatred towards others they deem "bad" in some way. In the past, many with "low-key racist" relatives, for example, have engaged in a "Don't ask, don't tell" policy — but in turning a blind eye to hate speech, we've been at least a little complicit in the rise of this administration. Practice "calling in" instead of "calling out." Feeling nervous? Rehearse with your friends.
12. Vote with your wallet. #GrabYourWallet might help.
13. Get yourself to a protest with these helpful apps. Showing up with your donations and your voice is important, but so is showing up with your body. Writer and self-defense advocate Susan Schorn has compiled a handout for novice protesters that anyone attending an event should read.
14. In a similar vein, taking a self-defense class is, uh, not a bad idea.
15. And while you're at it, educate yourself on intervening when a peer is attacked in a public space. The National Women's Martial Arts Federation (NWMAF) provides classes in both self-defense and bystander training. In the ten days following the election, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported "867 incidents of language or behavior in which bias or prejudice played a role."
16. Go to local meetings for groups or causes you care about. With the rise in grassroots organizing that has sprung from this latest election cycle, there are an ever-growing array of community meetings you can attend, on everything from creative resistance to what it means to be a "white ally." Facebook is particularly helpful in tracking down events in your area.
17. Educate yourself through reading. Set a monthly reading goal, whether it be one book or four, and aim for a mix of fiction, poetry and non-fiction. Not sure where to start? Bookriot has a slew of curated reading lists on everything from what TF is going on in Russia to resistance poetry.
18. Every day, take at least a thirty minute break from your phone, computer, iPad, whatever. Fully unplug. Take five deep breaths. Then go do something exclusively for yourself. Retaining hope and compassion is an act of resistance, as is engaging in self-care routines that help keep you in peak fighting form. Don't lose yourself in activism.
19. Meditate. Studies have shown that even brief meditation sessions can have an effect on stress levels. This is probably the most stressful time in your life so far. Do yourself a favor and try to minimize its physical effects.
20. Eating well improves both mental and physical health; what's more, if, like me, you hate sitting still for traditional meditation, cooking can be its form of mindfulness.
21. Get some sleep. Like, seven to eight hours' worth (or nine, even, according to the National Sleep Foundation's guidelines for adults. At this point, we all know the effects of sleep deprivation. It seeps into every facet of your life, including brain function.
22. Help each other stand up. The only way through this is through this, and our best tools of resistance lay in community growth and helping one another get through each day. If someone could use a hand, lend it.