I know how frustrating it is to watch events unfold and feel powerless, especially if you’re not eligible to vote. This presidential election made a lot of people feel that way. But you are far from powerless. Here are some things you can do:
- Start a kindness club at your school. The Southern Poverty Law Center has tracked over 200 incidents of hateful intimidation and harassment since Election Day. (Click here for the full story). There has been a disturbing rise of hate in schools throughout the presidential election, and we need to counterbalance that trend. Click here for a guide on how to start a kindness club.
- Be kind to the people of color and marginalized people in your life. Gay, Muslim and Hispanic people are scared about the future. Friendship and knowing that others stand with us really helps. Start a dialogue. Ask them what they need. Let them know you stand with them. Listen.
- Help organize a “We are all Americans” celebration at your school. Encourage people to bring in food from their culture and organize a story-telling hour in which everyone talks about what they love about their culture of origin and about their American experience. Celebrate diversity by posting art from different cultures, listening to a variety of music and inviting in a speaker for a talk on their experiences. Even if your school doesn’t have the budget to bring in a well-known speaker, you’ll likely find amazing stories among your own circles.
- Volunteer your time. There is a lot of work to be done. Yes, political organizations are one way to go, but you can also help teach kids to read, serve food at soup kitchens and many other things that promote the greater good. Find volunteer opportunities in your area: click here.
- Inform yourself on issues. Social media is an awesome democratizing tool, but it also blurs the line between what’s valuable, fact-based information and what’s propaganda or outright lies. When you hear something negative about a candidate or an issue, check it out on Politifact, Snopes, or FactCheck.org. Read reliable investigative journalism, like ProPublica, VICE, and TheRealNewsNetwork. Facts really do exist. It’s not all “spin.” And you can find facts faster and better than any generation in history. Avail yourself of facts.
- Read books about marginalized people. We can’t be allies to people we don’t understand. Books are some of the best ways we can see the experience of people we may never meet. Plus, bonus: books are awesome. If you’re looking for some great suggestions, head on over to We Need Diverse Books: click here.
Okay, there you go. I’ll add to this list as new ideas become available. The future is yours, young people. Get informed and get involved. We’re counting on you.
What you can do today: Click here
Surviving in a post-fact Trumpian world: Click here.