Not my President: A Guide to Making a Difference in Your Community

Holyshitwhatishappening?  We have a billionaire nut job in the presidential office who somehow won, despite alienating a ridiculous amount of minority groups and women. Now the question is what do we do? What can you do as a singular person in the United States that is going to matter? Will anything you do actually matter? If you paid any attention to what happened yesterday, Saturday, January 21st, 2017, you know that there are plenty of people out there that feel the same way you do. You. Are. Not. Alone. If every person in all those crowds that gathered across the nation does one thing to try to make their community a safer and better place for women, people of color, immigrants, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQA+ community (and anyone else that I forgot) that is over 1 million things being done in this country.

The question on all of our minds, though, is what can I do? What. Can. I. Do? I was really overwhelmed by this question since the election in November. I wasn’t exactly sure where I fit in this.  I heard a lot of different things and I felt overwhelmed about where to start. But Saturday gave me life. The amount of people that showed up to stand up and support women in all of the communities that they existed, gave me hope. I have come up with a variety of things to do to make my community better. I’m going to share these with you, and combat all of your gut feeling excuses, to help you find what you can do to make your community a better place.  No more dilly-dallying, let’s get started.

1. RUN FOR OFFICE.  

Grow a pair. Woman up and run already.

Obama said it. Every speaker at the women’s March on Washington said it. I’m saying it to you now. Change starts on a local level. If you have never run for a public office before, you don’t have to start big. You start small. You could run for school board. You could contact your city’s governmental office and see what positions are available to find something that fits your expertise or your interest. If you’re fortunate enough to live in the capital city of your state, you can go to your Senator or Assmeblyperson’s office and see if you can get some information from them on how you can run in local elections. If you’re thinking about running for office, you must understand that often this is a part-time job – 20 hours a week will go to this. So if you’re privileged enough to be able to give this time, it’s definitely something to consider. 

But you might be saying to me, “Kate, I don’t have time to run for office.” “Kate, I’m not well versed enough in politics to run for office.”  I say to you, that is fine because we are going to continue with our list.  I’m going to give you more ideas.

2. VOLUNTEER. Volunteer in your community for local organizations and nonprofits that hold your values at heart. Some examples: women’s shelters like the YWCA, the YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs, the Humane Society, the Rape Crisis Center. You can work as a ballot person. You can work as somebody who helps get people registered to vote. You could volunteer as somebody who helps people get driver’s licenses that wouldn’t not be able to get driver’s licenses on their own due to barriers that exist within our society. The list is endless. The possibilities are endless for the type of volunteering that you can do in your community.  If you live in a really small town, this may not be something that you can very readily do.  The nearest Humane Society might be a half hour to 45 minutes away.  You could start something in your city. 

If you tell me “Kate, I just told you I didn’t have time to run for office, so how could I have time to volunteer or start an organization in my town?”  I feel you. The list of ideas continues.

3. DONATE. 

If you don’t have time to run for office or volunteer, an excellent thing you can do is donate.  Hell, even if you were running for office or volunteering, you can donate. Do your research. Find out which organizations you would like to give a monthly donation to.  You can go on donating binges like I often do. Find organizations in your community that you can donate to.  This is important. This is what is going to facilitate change. Donations go towards paying people to do what you don’t have time to do.   

I donate to five different organizations / nonprofits each month as a reoccurring donation. I donate between $15 and $25 / organization.  It doesn’t have to be $100 a month. If you can spare $10 a month, then find one place that you can donate $10 to and that will matter.  If every single person marching on Saturday donated $10 towards organizations in their communities, that would be 10 million dollars going directly to our communities to help facilitate change. 

But you might say to me, “Kate, I work all these hours so that I can provide for myself and I really don’t have the expendable income to be able to do that.” Well, again, I challenge you with the $10 per month thing, considering that that is the cost of two lattes.  That is one stop at fast food restaurant.  That’s two beers. But don’t worry, my list is not done. Let’s continue

4.  START READING GODDAMN BOOKS. 

That’s right. Start reading some goddamn books. Start reading books that have to do with a particular subject that you care most passionately about that needs help under the Trump Administration. I will give you some examples to help you get started: access to affordable health care, black lives matter, immigration, women’s access to healthcare, treatment of Native Americans, EPA, climate change, recycling, green energy – AND SO MUCH MORE. Pretend you are creating your own college class and you’re going to make yourself read a bunch of books.  It is incredibly important to get yourself educated about the issues and not just scrolling  through articles on Facebook and Twitter and other social media. 

You might say, “Kate, I just told you that I didn’t have time to run for office or to volunteer, what makes you think that I will have time to read books?”  Well, first, opening up a goddamn book isn’t as much commitment as going to volunteer somewhere or running for office. This is a goddamn book. You should be reading goddamn books anyway. So change your topic a little bit if you haven’t already. You might say that you couldn’t donate because you don’t have the money right now that you can just throw out there. Well, then go to the goddamn library. If you don’t have a library card, get a goddamn library card, go to the goddamn library, and read some goddamn books. Consider this your time to study up before you run for office. Consider this your time to study up before you start putting your money into different organizations. Consider this your time to find where your passion truly lies within our system where the personal is so political.  Find where your passion lies so that when you have the time in the future, because you will, you can volunteer. 

As I come up with more, I will add them.  But any of the above is a great place to start.

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