It’s been over a week. If you’re like me, you’re still in shock and a little unaware of where to go from here. Social media is still clogged with opinions and articles galore, some of them helpful and informative, and some of them that have no business being on a medium of public consumption.
Sometime soon, things will start to feel “normal” again, particularly for the last month and a half of Obama’s term. But we have a responsibility to not let this fire die. When the articles stop circulating in favor of the usual cat videos and Kardashian makeup tips, few things will have changed. The time to take action is now. So the next time you’re about to click “share” on something that probably won’t make the world a better place, think about taking one of these steps instead.
Check the Authenticity of What You Share
One of the biggest things you can do to help the swamp that is social media is to make sure you’re posting articles from reliable sources. No matter what your feelings are, you have a responsibility as an educated user of the Internet to not spread false things around just because they have catchy headlines or endearing messages. Check where your articles are coming from, cross reference with a known news source if you need to, and make sure you check the date.
Write a Refugee a Letter
There’s a great orginzation called Any Refugee that lets you spread a little love for minimal effort. All you have to do is write out a postcard to a refugee child, send it to Any Refugee, and they’ll make sure it makes its way to the hands of a child in need. The organization is now part of the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA but was originally the brainchild of a 14-year old boy from Alaska who wanted refugee children to experience love and kindness. Pretty neat, huh? Make it a part of your relaxing time and trade in your adult coloring book to draw some pictures for a refugee child.
Set Up a Monthly Donation
You know that $20+ you spend on coffee at Starbucks every two weeks? (Don’t lie to yourself. Even if you go twice a week, you’re still up to about $10 a week.) Well, take half of that cash and put it towards an organization you care about. There are a TON of organizations doing incredible things for the world that may be put into peril during Trump’s presidency. One of those is Planned Parenthood, but that’s not the only one. Whether you’re passionate about the environment, women’s rights, police reform, or immigration rights, there’s an organization that needs your help. Check out Jezebel’s list for some ideas.
This can look different for different people. Maybe you send a letter (yes, HAND WRITTEN) of appreciation to some of your closest friends. Maybe you reach out to people you know and love that may feel personally victimized by Trump and let them know you’re there for them. Or maybe you walk around campus and write positive notes to people on the sidewalk or plaster public spaces with sticky notes a la NYC. Throw your own flavor on it, but do something to remind the world that love trumps hate, no matter who the president is.
Remember, this isn’t the end.
Millennials in particular became incredibly engaged during this election. Which is AWESOME! But it’s also not the only election that matters. Elections for congress and the senate as well as for your local governments matter just as much as this one does. Nothing will change if we only show up to presidential poles or only care every four years. Remain informed. Remain engaged. And know that the fight for change is an active choice we will keep making every day until it finally happens.