Catalyst for Change
Last year, Embassador Lucy moved to America, she shares with us how she is fighting for change and how we can too.
In the middle of last year I moved to America. The presidential election of Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump was well under way and it made very clear how much bigotry, misogyny and fear is still present in people’s lives. “What will happen if he wins?” people in NZ asked me. “He will NEVER win.” I said, confident that society had come too far to slide backwards into this kind of shitshow of power, racism and patriarchy.
Say what you will about different political ideas, but Donald Trump has a documented history of racism and sexism. FFS during the campaign he mocked a disabled reporter, made sweeping generalizations about Mexican’s being rapists and murderers and called for a Muslim registry, Hitler style. He was also caught on tape openly bragging about sexual assault (!!!!!). He just lies all the time, he bullies and picks fights and generally acts like a big disgusting baby. “I can’t wait for this to be over” I repeated to myself.
Then he was elected.
There is no collection of emoticons in the world that can describe how sickening and devastating this was, not just for me but for everyone I saw as I moved through my life.
I live in a big city, a “liberal bubble” they call it (which is a bunch of horsesh*t if you ask me) where people walked around in a state of total confusion and grief.
I realized that what I had been doing was nowhere near enough. I had been sitting back, feeling like everything was being taken care of by my one true love Obama and now I had to GET UP, GET OFF MY BUTT and FIGHT for what I believed in.
I hadn’t realised how much privilege I had in NZ – with free birth control and so many opportunities. Not everyone is so lucky, and not everyone is so safe.
This is now hard work and paying attention to uncomfortable, difficult things and figuring out how I can work best to make the world more just. I disagree with basically all Trump’s policies.
SO, what now?
We get together. Some friends and I organized a group where we talk about what we want to tackle first and how. This was helpful and also healing.
We read. We stay informed. There has been a lot of great writing about how best to fight back against what this presidency means. I am collecting magazines that give great guidelines on how to fight effectively and to keep yourself from burning out and disengaging.
We petition. We sign petitions about things we believe in. We write our local government officials (emails, postcards and phone calls) telling them what we think about what’s happening and so they can represent our views because that's their job. Do you know your local representatives? I just learned mine and now they are in my fave contacts.
We march. For those of us lucky enough to be able bodied we make ourselves visible, this lets the world and our government know what we think and that we are not going away.
We donate. We give what we can to organizations defending things we believe in – Women’s rights, sexual abuse survivors, environmental issues, immigrant rights, (in the U.S.) the American Civil Liberties Union.
We boycott. We are boycotting businesses that support Donald Trump. This has proved effective, for example Nordstrom just dropped Ivana Trump’s fashion line due to boycotts, yeeee.
Most importantly WE ACT LOCAL. We look for those in our community who need help and we do what we can to help them.
To me, now the shock has worn off, I see this as a potentially exciting time.
People are getting up on mass to declare their resistance to these old and hateful ideas. Women are marching around the world, including NZ, to stand up for our equal rights. We took for granted how far we had come and looked away from how far we have to go.
In NZ for instance we look away from our crippling sexual abuse stats, or our growing income equality which leaves so many kids in poverty.
Now everything seems more obvious. We have a LONG way to go, and we aren’t going to get anywhere by sitting back and thinking of social action as a thing for history.
History is NOW. YOU are a part of it no matter your age. Young people are to catalysts of social change. Let’s do good. #beaforce