Why I’m Proud To Be An American & How To Help Organizations That Support the Women and Minorities That Make This Country Great
A few days into a new administration and I will say that the events that took place over the weekend left me feeling incredibly hopeful for our country. While you may or may not agree with the motives behind the women’s marches that happened across the country/world on Saturday (for the record, I absolutely, 1000% do), they were nothing short of awesome in the truest sense of the word.
Yes, the march had its flaws. Many women said it did not represent them. Many women said they were excluded because they voted for President Trump. And these are issues that should be addressed. But, what I saw was image after image on my social media feeds, not of violence or blame or hatred, but of love, strength and solidarity. I saw people of all genders, all races, all ages, all religions and all sexual preferences come together to support one another.
Of course, there were the images of the massive crowds gathered in cities like D.C, New York, L.A., San Francisco. But maybe even more powerful, were the images of marches in small cities and towns across the country, like Fairbanks, Alaska; Driggs, Idaho; Wooster, Ohio; and Jonesborough, Tennessee. The unity that was on display gave me the chills and brought tears to my eyes.
The images I saw made me proud — not only to be a woman, but to be an American. They made me thankful that we are allowed the opportunity to protest our government. They made me optimistic that we will all come out of this better and stronger.
And the images I saw left me inspired, as I hope they did everyone. Inspired to continue the dialogue. Inspired to meet the government with the same resilience and determination when you see injustices, whichever side of this argument you find yourself on. Inspired to give back. Inspired to get involved. Inspired to be the change.
How can you get involved?
- Work locally — research local groups in your community and get involved in local issues. Local change is, by far, what you are going to be impacted by the most.
- Call/write your state and local representatives…repeatedly, if necessary.
- Donate and get involved with charities that are making a difference (below is a list of just a few that might need more help under the new administration):
- Planned Parenthood (sorry, this one’s so obvi) is the country’s leading sexual and reproductive healthcare provider. Click here for nationwide volunteer opportunities, or click here to donate. Local chapters also list more extensive volunteer opportunities, so take a look at your specific chapter.
- The Center for Reproductive Rights is the world’s foremost legal advocate for securing women’s access to quality reproductive health care. You can donate here.
- The National Women’s Law Center has worked for over 40 years to enact policies and laws on behalf of women and families. Help them out and donate here.
- Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) is the country’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, which operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE) and programs to help victims of sexual violence. Click here for information about how to volunteer for the hotline or in your community and click here to donate.
- She Should Run is a non-profit that aims to get more women into elected leadership roles. You can donate here or anonymously ask a woman you know to run for office.
- Campaign Zero advocates for policy solutions to end police violence in America. Fill out this survey to learn how to get involved.
- The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) works to promote the civil rights of people of color and to eliminate race-based discrimination. Donate here or find your local chapter for more ways to get involved here.
- The NAACP Legal Defense Fund fights for racial justice through litigation, advocacy and education. Donate and learn about ways to get involved here.
- The Southern Poverty Law Center fights hate groups and bigotry using education, litigation, and advocacy. Donate here.
- The Sylvia Rivera Law Project provides legal services, specifically to low-income people and people of color who are transgender, intersex, or gender non-conforming. Click here to donate, and click here for to volunteer opportunities.
- The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ rights organization, is a 501(c)3 charity that advocates for anti-discrimination legislation and support for people with HIV/AIDS. You can donate to the charity here.
- The National Immigration Law Center is dedicated to fighting for the rights of low-income immigrants through litigation, policy analysis and advocacy, and various other methods. Donate or learn how you can attend a local training here.
- The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights works to protect the best interests of children who come to the U.S. on their own. Donate here or learn about how you can volunteer as a Child Advocate in Chicago, New York, Houston or Washington D.C. here.
- The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) is a national civil rights law and policy center devoted to advancing the rights of people with disabilities through advocacy, training, education, and public policy. Donate here.
- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is the country’s largest Muslim civil liberties organization. Donate here or find your local chapter here.
- The American Civil Liberties Union works to defend individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. Donate here.
- The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press offers legal resources, support and advocacy to reporters to protect the First Amendment and freedom of information rights. Donate here.
- EarthJustice is the largest nonprofit environmental law organization in the country working to protect wildlife, for healthy communities and for cleaner energy options. The organization represents its clients free of charge. Donate here, and sign up for action alerts here.
- The Sierra Club is the largest grassroots environmental organization in the country, and works to protect millions of acres of wilderness and pass legislation like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. Click here for ways to give.
- Natural Resources Defense Council, a 501(c)3 that brings together scientists, lawyers and other policy experts, with global warming among their primary concerns. You can donate here.