Post-Election, Humanist Activism Kicks into Overdrive

It’s been a week since Donald Trump’s harrowing victory. I’m in a mental space where my dismay and fury over this precarious predicament remains inflamed.

I can’t say I’m truly surprised by Trump’s rout of Hillary Clinton. After all, Trump reflects an invidious side of this country that I—and many others from various marginalized groups—have always been acquainted with. Even so, I want to kick and scream. I want to attend every single anti-Trump protest. Most of all, I find myself more invigorated than ever to be a catalyst for change.

And it appears I’m not the only one.

Since the morning after the presidential election results were finalized, the American Humanist Association has received an influx of inquiries from humanists seeking ways to become more active in confronting oppressive policies and the culture that cultivated what political analyst Van Jones calls “white-lash.”

And so we cannot discount the positives that exist within what may feel like a torrent of adversity. A few months ago I highlighted the important work of white anti-racist activists dedicated to mobilizing against racism and its architect, white supremacy. Likewise, although there are data points (see here and here) showing that white voters showed up in droves to help bring about a Trump presidency, we cannot ignore the strong segment of white society committed to building a more socially responsible nation.

This election season has been a rude awakening for those occupying liberal silos that offer a more starry-eyed portrait of society’s growth than reality does. Here are some of the statements made by humanists—all white, mainly women—inquiring about how they can get involved with the American Humanist Association in light of Trump’s election win.

“…I am galvanized by this recent loss and need to do something to help us move forward instead of backward.”

“…I’m saddened and a bit fearful for the future. So I’d love to be part of your group to turn that fear into action.”

“…I believe that all people are equal. I do not believe the next president agrees with me.”

“…While I’ve donated to numerous causes over the years and write my representatives often, after this election I feel like I need to do more to protect those more vulnerable than myself.”

“I’m gay, I have friends who are trans, and I don’t want Trump to destroy our lives.”

“…I’ve never felt that I needed to own any kind of label for my philosophy to exist. That was until election night 2016. I don’t have any experience as an activist but I am ready to start. I am ready to identify and share with others, I am ready to organize and take action. I was so disconnected with America and Americans and I had no idea.”

“I’m looking for ways to channel my anger after last night and hopeful that joining in on such meaningful work will enable that.”

“…Now is the time I realize that silence is violence as well. While I am heterosexual, I feel as though a fire has been started in me in light of the election results to fight for the rights of not only LGBTQ+, but for every minority out there.”

“…In this election 50 percent of white women voted for Donald Trump. As a white woman, that means it is my job to take responsibility for engaging with those women and bringing them into the fold of intersectional racial justice, and contributing to the movement to resist whatever comes next under DJT.”

“I want to help create a world where everyone feels safe and loved.”

A Trump regime may be new, but the ideas he spews and represents are part and parcel to Americana. And that must change.

Yes, we’re headed for a rocky future, especially for those who are members of marginalized communities. Be pissed, be dismayed—but don’t be deterred. A linear path towards progress doesn’t exist, nor is progress even inevitable. This is why it’s imperative that we fight. Remember: There can be no progress without challenging the attitudes, beliefs, and values that brought us to this point of tribulation.

For those who yearn to engage in humanist activism, the American Humanist Association provides a few ways to get more involved:

  • Support Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ). AHA is an affiliate and always encourages humanists to get more involved in racial justice actions. SURJ is currently seeking activists to engage in phone banking.
  • We are a campaign member of the Act For Women campaign, a national initiative that unites organizations and individuals in support of the Women’s Health Protection Act—federal legislation designed to enforce and protect the right of every woman to decide for herself whether to continue or end a pregnancy, regardless of where she lives.

If you need help getting started with any of these initiatives, email me.

I’ll end with a sanguine and relevant message from political activist Angela Davis as she wrote in Freedom is a Constant Struggle. May her words embolden us to stand up, speak up, and act out even when the journey to justice seems unrelenting: “Sometimes we have to do the work even though we don’t yet see a glimmer on the horizon that it’s actually going to be possible.”

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