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How to Help Others

So the election happened, and a lot of people I know are currently, actively scared about how things are going to go for the next four years. The good thing is that there aren’t a lot of people in the top government who actually like Trump! Plus, you know, Clinton won the popular vote! So overall, the world might not be as bad as it seems.

However, it’s probably not going to be a great four years for a lot of people, which means we all have to work together and help each other out. If you’re not sure how to do that, here’s a couple ideas;

Write to your congressperson. There are plenty of resources to find out who’s in charge of your district and ward. For your state officials, you can go to Common Cause and put in your zip code. For local officials, you can use the Elected Officials search. Write or call their offices! Make your voice known. People who are in elected offices like nothing more than getting re-elected, and they’ll usually support the cause that’s the loudest. Here’s a script for calling their offices. Here’s a script for writing a letter.

Donate time or money. Money is something any cause can use more of! If you are able to, donating $5 to something like Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, the NAACP, or the Southern Poverty Law Center will absolutely make a difference. Donating something off of a request list at a local shelter will make a difference. If you have no spare cash (which, fair, not many students do), then try volunteering once or twice a month at a shelter or food pantry. This is the kind of thing that makes people’s lives materially better, even on a local scale.

Ask your friends what they need help with. Ask your friends who are scared or worried what they need right now. Give hugs, give support, do research to find them programs that can help them.

Don’t let microagressions slide. If you see something, say something, kindly. Call out the friend who makes the kind of racist jokes. Don’t sit and nod when someone uses a slur. Point out ableist language. Most people keep doing stuff like that because they don’t realize that it hurts. So politely, calmly, and kindly mention that it makes you uncomfortable and could hurt others. Don’t make the people who are already dealing with so much be forced to educate others all the time, too.

Take care of yourself. If you are one of the people affected by this new presidency – if you are one of the people scared for your friends, your rights, or your life – make sure you take care of yourself first. Put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. If you cannot volunteer or donate, that’s okay. Listen to people who need to vent. If that’s too much emotional weight (which, again, fair), then try to be a positive force in other ways. Make art. Smile at strangers. Make sure you keep yourself as healthy as possible, mentally and physically. You can’t fight a battle if you’re bleeding out, so make sure you’re okay. We need you to be okay.

We’re going to be alright. It’s four years. We have gotten through worse.

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