ESPERANZA PALLANA: A STARTER GUIDE TO ORGANIZING

WORDS: ESPERANZA PALLANA

 

Not sure how to turn your anger into activism? Celebrated organizer Esperanza Pallana shares six strategic steps you can take today to begin building a better world. 

Like many of us, I was horrified and deeply saddened by the election of Donald Trump. While I have been open to hear the many reasons people chose to vote for Trump, I cannot accept that his is a platform based on hatred of others and this was not rejected. My friends and family are now living in an even less safe world. In response, it is our duty to find our strength, focus our grief, pain and anger, organize and act. Here are some first steps I believe we need to take:

1) Assess what your resources are and what you are willing to invest. This goes beyond financial but also time, expertise, and networks.

2)  Identify opportunities in community to connect, talk, unify and strategize work and volunteer opportunities to address key demographics and issues targeted by the Trump administration. Consider how to go beyond online petitions, social media, and protest marches. Ask how you can invest yourself more deeply. Be practical about what you can and cannot do.

3) Keep a quick access list of local, state and federal elected officials that you can communicate with on issues. Don’t be afraid to call! Jamming phone lines remains an impactful way to convey our mass concern. Be respectful so you can be heard.

4) Your first duty is radical self love. Take care of your body, your mind, your inner life. Foster your strength and remember our collective journey. As Junot Diaz so eloquently wrote: “…we know that by fighting, against all odds, we who had nothing, not even our real names, transformed the universe. Our ancestors did this with very little, and we who have more must do the same. This is the joyous destiny of our people—to bury the arc of the moral universe so deep in justice that it will never be undone.”

5) If you don’t identify as a demographic targeted by the Trump administration, but rather as an ally: A) Consider that in truth, until we can all live without oppression and violence on any part of our society, freedom does not truly exist, and even you are at risk; B) Learn what allyship is! Learn about privilege, power, humility and leadership rooted in love and respect.

6) Never give up.

WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO?