How To Spend Presidents Day Productively In 2017, Because We've Got A Lot Of Work To Do Right Now
Monday will be the first Presidents Day since Donald Trump took office 28 years ago. I mean, days. 28 days ago. And whether or not you have Monday off, there are plenty of ways spend Presidents Day productively. If there’s anything we’ve learned from the first few weeks of Trump’s presidency, it’s that a lot can happen in a day — so we may as well put this particular day to good use, right?
Look, I get it. You’d like one day to just not think about politics, to harken back to a simpler time when President’s Day felt less political and more like another three-day weekend with weirdly-themed sales. But we both know that this is not a simple time.
On Thursday, Trump gave his first solo press conference, a performance that is driving us closer and closer to the satirical singularity. From inaccurately bragging about his electoral college victory, to asking a April Ryan (a black reporter from American Urban Radio Networks) to set up a meeting between Trump and the Congressional Black Caucus, to Trump claiming he is the “least racist person” in response to a question about the recent rise in anti-Semitism, it was a strange and frightening 75 minutes.
Recanting it in a paragraph makes me anxious and angry and exhausted all at once. It makes me want to unplug my brain and somehow throw Twitter into the ocean. It makes me worry that I’m worrying too much, or that I’ve made my social feeds “too political.” But through past success of protesting and the current solidarity in our unrest, I’m reassured time and time again that there is no such thing as being “too political” right now.
Stay angry. Stay hopeful. Presidents Day is another 24-hour opportunity to stay proactive. Here are 20 ways to spend the day productively.
1Get Out and Protest
Check out this tool from the Women’s March organization to find a Presidents Day protest near you. I found one near me just by Googling my city and “Presidents Day protest.” There are rallies happening across the country, from New York to Chicago to Kansas City. If you don’t see one near, organize one. Here’s a step-by-step guide to organizing a protest.
2Volunteer Your Time
Yeah, you. Got an hour or two or a day to spare? There are plenty of organizations that would love your help. If you’re not sure where to start, check out Volunteer Match or any of the places below.
3Volunteer Your Talent
Take a note from the lawyers who showed up to airports after the executive order on travel and immigration. Can you redesign an organization’s website to make it easier to donate? Can you write a compelling newsletter to help increase membership? If you’re an artist or a writer or have a unique skill, creative or otherwise, find an organization you care about and see how you can help.
4Donate New or Used Goods
Finally clean out your closet or garage or that drawer that has who-even-knows-what in there. Then, find an organization that accepts donations for anything you have that’s in good condition, like Goodwill or The Salvation Army. Find a local food pantry and donate nonperishable food (or money, which is often more useful). Don’t forget to check with your local refugee resettlement organization. They may also accept donations for home goods.
If you’re planning on doing a little Presidents Day sale shopping, you could always pick up a few things to give away.
Did you know you can donate makeup (new or gently used) to women’s shelters? Find a local women’s shelter and see if they could use any of that foundation you accidentally bought in the wrong shade. You can also check out Project Beauty Share, a nonprofit that gives makeup and other products to women who need them.
Consider spending what you would have on sale shopping on an organization whose mission you support. The great thing about online donations is you don’t even have to put pants on to do it. Also, the money will go to someone who needs it. Here are just a few places you can donate to:
8Support the National Coalition on School Diversity
The actions of this administration will likely disproportionately affect students of color. You can donate to and become involved with groups like the National Coalition on School Diversity, which works to support policy that promotes diversity. Do your part to help ensure all children have access to equal education opportunities.
9Pay Off a Student’s School Lunch Debt
A cool thing you can do today is try to find out which of your local schools have kids with overdue lunch accounts and pay them off.— Ashley C. Ford (@iSmashFizzle) December 6, 2016
A little can go a long way. Really. This single tweet from writer Ashley C. Ford inspired hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to pay off overdue lunch accounts of students across the country. Contact your school district (they likely have a website) or a specific school in your neighborhood to see how you can donate towards this cause.
10Help Teachers Fund Necessities for Their Classrooms
Many teachers end up paying out-of-pocket for school supplies. Sites like DonorsChoose crowdsource donations from generous people like yourself to help ease the financial burden educators often face when stocking their classrooms.
11Sign up for the Women’s March Newsletter
Stay up-to-date on their 100 Day action plan, including preparation for upcoming protests like A Day Without a Woman.
12Contact Your Congressperson About An Issue That’s Important To You
Let them know you’re paying attention. 5 Calls is a great resource for phone scripts and your reps numbers. If you need a reminder, The Weekly Phone Protest will text you one to call congress during office hours. Write them a letter. See then they’re hosting their next town hall.
It’s nominated for an Oscar for a reason. If you want to get angry, informed, and motivated, take 100 minutes of your day to watch this documentary on Netflix, directed by Ava DuVernay, about race and the criminal justice system.
14Marathon MTV’s ‘Decoded’
Watch the full series here.
15Read Your Favorite Feminist Publication
It’s an app that helps you stay up to date on what congress is doing as well as contact your reps about specific issues you care about. Check it out here.
17Support The Arts
Go see a show. Visit your museum. Check out a local art gallery. It’ll be like protesting Trump’s rumored decision to defund the National Endowment for the Arts in the most cultured way possible.
Really. You can’t be productive if you’re sleepy. You can still be angry and take care of yourself.
19Log Off, Power Down, Go Outside
Did you know there is a thing called “outside”? It’s got trees and sun and no naturally-occurring CNN alerts. Give yourself an hour or an afternoon to recharge however is most helpful to you.