This morning Hillary Clinton put on a pantsuit and full makeup and left the house to make her final speech of her campaign. She got through it without breaking down. At the end she even smiled. And she said, “You know, scripture tells us, ‘Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in good season we shall reap.’ My friends, let us have faith in each other, let us not grow weary and lose heart, for there are more seasons to come and there is more work to do.”
And so once you’ve finished crying and have wallowed for a bit, think about the work you can do. Here are some suggestions:
On a practical level, start fighting with your time and your wallet. Volunteer or make a donation.
Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America work to preserve birth control and abortion rights. The National Organization for Women coordinates abortion-clinic escorting, among other activities. The Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE) fights sexual abuse and trafficking and provides legal assistance to survivors. Rape Victim Advocates is an independent rape crisis center here in Chicago. The Chicago Task Force on Violence Against Girls and Young Women is exactly what it sounds like.
Chicago-based BYP100 trains and mobilizes young black activists. The NAACP has worked for civil rights for more than a century. This election, it’s been tracking instances of voter fraud and intimidation. It also has a legal defense fund.
The ACLU works to preserve your civil liberties, particularly freedom of speech. Amnesty International works for human rights at home and abroad; it’s particularly concerned with police brutality. The Southern Poverty Law Center fights all forms of injustice.
The Heartland Alliance provides housing, jobs, healthcare, and legal advocacy for people who are too impoverished to afford it otherwise.
The Iraqi Mutual Aid Society eases Middle Eastern refugees’ transition to the United States. The Young Society for Immigrant Children’s Rights tries to preserve the best interests of unaccompanied child immigrants. City Colleges of Chicago provides free ESL and citizenship classes for all immigrants.
Access Living provides physical, vocational, and legal assistance for disabled people.
Campaign Zero works for policy solutions to prevent police violence.
The Chicago Environmental Network is a coalition of 200 environmental, natural resource, and animal protection organizations; its website has a handy chart for you to pinpoint exactly where you’d like to volunteer.
Subscribe to a newspaper or donate to a news website. The Committee to Protect Journalists defends the right of journalists to report the news without reprisal.
Support local businesses, particularly businesses owned and operated by women, minorities, and immigrants.
Support local artists and arts organizations.
It’s never too early to start preparing for the local elections next year and the national midterm elections in 2018. Here’s the Cook County Democratic Party and the Democratic Party of Illinois. And here’s the Chicago Republican Party and the Illinois Republican Party: bipartisanship is important, too.
On a broader level, call out racism and misogyny when you see it. As my colleague Danielle A. Scruggs puts it, “Stop trying to couch it in terms like ‘alt-right.’ You can’t fight something if you refuse to call it what it is. Start having those uncomfortable conversations around race, gender, and class in your immediate circles.”
Here is the essay by Peggy McIntosh that introduced the concept of white privilege. Here is another way to understand it. Here is James Baldwin’s letter to his nephew that lays out how racism in America is damaging to everyone. If you have not read it yet, here is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Atlantic article “The Case for Reparations.” Here is the Rebecca Solnit essay that gave us the term “mansplaining.” Here is a fairly eclectic list of feminist books that has room for both theoretical texts and romance novels.
My colleague Sue Kwong has this suggestion: “Colbert says the campaign coverage was so saturated this year, we didn’t have space to find what we had in common. And that both sides were afraid of each other. So we have to familiarize with other cultures. Try going to a new institution; or participating in a few traditions of a different religion; trying different foods with other ethnicities; living in a new neighborhood; learning a new language.”
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments. Constructive suggestions only.
Update: The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) is a group of organizations that work together to bring immigrants and refugees into America’s civic and cultural life.
Assata’s Daughters teaches black girls about feminism and civil rights history and about the fundamentals of political organizing. It also sponsors a community garden in Washington Park.
Just Democracy Illinois is a coalition of groups working to make voting accessible to as many people as possible. Its current initiative is to overturn Governor Rauner’s veto of automatic voter registration.
The Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois provides advocacy and legal services for poor and homeless transgender people.
The Chicago Women’s Health Center serves women and transpeople on a pay-what-you-can-afford basis.
The Beauty Shop, a design studio in Portland, Oregon, has just announced it’s “offering branding and websites free of charge to organizations representing LGBTQ, Women, People of Color, Hispanic, Muslim, and Immigrant communities.”
Take Back Chicago, a project of Grassroots Illinois Action, rates Chicago office-holders based on how well they support working people. Reclaim Chicago vets and campaigns for specific candidates who support progressive platforms.
Aunt Bertha is an online directory of social service agencies, searchable by zip code.
Volunteer Match connects people with local nonprofits that need their help.
Emily’s List raises money and supports pro-choice Democratic women running for office.
The Sargent Shriver Center on Poverty Law advocates for government policies that provide services for people in financial trouble, including cash assistance, helping homeowners avoid foreclosure, and protecting victims of domestic violence.
The YWCA has branches throughout the city and in Evanston. It provides a range of services for women, including childcare, career services, and counseling and advocacy for victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence, and also offers workshops in handling and preventing racism.
The National Lawyers Guild is a nonprofit federation of lawyers that advocates for using the law to advance social justice and inclusion instead of repression.
The Equal Justice Initiative works to end mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the US and challenges racial and economic injustice.