We have one thing to thank Donald Trump for and that is the reawakening of passionate people across the country who refuse to accept as a “new normal” the erosion of the progress made thus far on issues domestic and foreign.
Everywhere, organizations formal and informal, local and national, are emerging to stand up for the common good, for the disenfranchised, for equity and justice and Mother Earth.
Locally, I am a member of the Michigan chapter of the Sierra Club to stand for land, resources and climate change issues.
I joined Equity PAC, organized to support candidates who champion equity platforms while keeping watch over non-elected, appointed officials who influence public policies, reminding them they too are accountable to the public.
Just a few miles from my home town, the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance is formalizing their multi-issue strategies for this year, bringing together people who are passionate about any one or more causes.
On a national scale, the rise of “Our Revolution” is a movement inclusive of a broad range of key equity and social justice issues born out of the Bernie Sanders campaign.
Another organization, “Indivisible,” published an online guidebook written by experts familiar with the workings of the national government. The publication is a great step-by-step, start-up manual for grassroots organizers.
All this is happening…now…as people emerge from their valleys of post-election despair and begin mobilizing their hands and feet, hearts and minds and finding like-minded folk to join the struggle.
Each new organization has its own agenda, but, let us not be so “my cause-focused” that we divert ourselves from the overall national agenda of advocacy pertaining to the welfare of all, including the planet itself.
Part of my activism is to champion “Solidarity” – creating awareness and links among and between as many groups as I can come to know, in the struggle, no matter which cause is on whose agenda.
In my next blog I will detail my personal action plan for boosting solidarity!
All issues are linked. All organizations, I urge, need to link in mutual support of each other’s mission if we are to make our voices heard and actions count.
For starters, solidarity begins like this…
- Be aware of other organizations’ existence.
- Get to know each other’s missions and purpose.
- Attend each other’s events and encourage your supports to attend as well.
- Invite other organizations’ leadership to meet occasionally to discuss strategies, progress, challenges and ways to join together on common causes.
- Create a cross-organizations’ “watch lists” of legislators, candidates, (local, state, national) whose agendas threaten your or others’ causes. Prepare effective strategies to influence outcomes.
- Be aware of “open seats” on local commissions and advisory councils which you can urge people, who demonstrate equity and justice action, to put their names up for filling these open, non-elected seats. (Note: This is where real public policy happens.)
- Know the nominees for government appointments from the President’s Cabinet on down through all departments. Contact the review committees’ members and legislators and let them know your views on these nominees.
- Create and share an up-to-date “contact” list of legislators who are in positions to support your causes. Demonstrate your solidarity with them. Encourage them in their struggle.
- Start a multi-organization “call-chain” with each member of each group contacting a chain of five others alerting each of pending legislation that must be blocked and defeated.
- Jointly sponsor and host local “teach-ins” to inform residents of the issues and their importance to their lives and how to get involved by taking action.
- Jointly host guest speakers, film showings, concerts, pot-lucks and other events to draw attention to key issues which are bound to impact some, and therefore, all of us.
- Live out what solidarity means by uniting in spirit and action, with your children watching and joining in when possible, advocating with and for each other’s causes…making these your causes too.
One more suggestion, host a book reading or a book club, using Angela Davis’, “Freedom is a Constant Struggle.”
You will find, throughout the speeches and writings which make up this book, the theme of the importance and impact of solidarity among unknown, but dedicated, women and men, who collectively won great victories in struggles past and present.
There IS profound freedom IN the struggle!
Let’s find that freedom together…in solidarity!
The unlikely student
“When one of us suffers at the hands of the few, all the people do!” from the song, “We The People Do!” by Dale Alan. Album: “Where Does The Justice Go?”