I don’t know about you, but I am full of grief that Donald Trump will be our next president, that Hillary Clinton will not be, and that I cannot celebrate the shattering of this particular glass ceiling. Being an Enneagram 8, my grief mostly manifests as anger, but I can tell how deeply I am mourning by the fact that I have also wept in sadness and hopelessness, and shaken with anxiety. Those are not normal reactions for me. I know what to do with anger, but despondency and fear are less familiar. We all handle grief differently. Some of you will need to sit and hold your mourning for a while. I need to grieve mostly on my feet. Others have also expressed a sense of needing something to do, some way to rage against the dying of the light. If you are looking for external ways to process and move forward, I have a few suggestions.
- Donate to a non-profit agency that supports marginalized people, or that is likely to lose funding under the coming administration. Small, local non-profits already struggle and compete for limited funding. Help them out by giving even a small amount to an organization that engages in LGBTQ+ advocacy, racial justice, reproductive rights, support for survivors of sexual assault or domestic violence, girls’ and women’s empowerment, refugee resettlement, or environmental protection. I know lots of good ones if you need ideas.
- Volunteer for any of the above. Mentors, advocates, fundraisers, board members, boots on the ground – there are roles for just about anyone who wants to help out and can commit even a little time. If you are having difficulty plugging in, let me know; I may be able to help.
- Write letters to the editor. Write letters to your elected officials. Use your social media accounts to raise awareness. Talk to your friends and family about what you fear, and what you hope. Use the written and spoken word to remind each other that we are still working. Express. Communicate. Educate.
- Reach out to people who may be afraid. Several trans kids have already killed themselves since the election out of sheer terror. Post crisis hotline numbers. Check in with your loved ones. People are making decisions about how openly they can advocate for justice because doing so may mean risking their lives. Some people can’t make that decision because their skin color or other unalterable physical traits, or the outward symbols of their religion, put them in danger. Street harassment has been amplified and women, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and others may feel and be more vulnerable. Walk with them. Literally.
- Let someone else be in pain. Sit with them. Hold the pain with them, without trying to fix it.
- Celebrate something beautiful and good. Laugh subversively. Don’t let the darkness win. Tell people you love them, even if you’re like me and almost never tell say such things.
- Visit a mosque or a synagogue or a church that is predominately non-white.
- Join a community conversation on racial justice.
- Read a book written from a marginalized perspective. Follow an activist on social media. Learn something new about how someone else sees the world.
- Do what you’ve been doing to right the wrongs of the world. Just do it more.
A later addition: Consider running for public office. We need good candidates at all levels of government. Support good people running for local and state offices. There are elections every year, not just every four years. Vote.