12 Actions You Can Take Now to Protect Civil Liberties under Trump

On Wednesday night, folks in Pittsburgh held an emergency meeting called “Let’s Unite To Stop President Trump,” followed by a protest outside. Several hundred people showed up to the meeting, quickly filling up the small ballroom at the Ace Hotel in East Liberty.

The meeting’s purpose was to process anxieties and fears following Tuesday’s election and brainstorm actions people can take to address them. Organizers had attendees split into groups of 8-12 and discuss actions under three broad categories: taking immediate action, creating safe spaces, and building a party for the future.

For my part, I accept that America elected Trump as its president—even if I don’t like it. But that doesn’t mean I have to accept the very real threat that a Trump presidency and GOP majority poses to our civil liberties. And I downright refuse to accept the xenophobia and bigotry that found a new rise during Trump’s presidential campaign.

The following is a list of actions everyone can take to combat those very real threats. It’s based off discussion from the Wednesday night meeting, along with several ideas people across my networks have come up with. I’ve separated them into the same three categories the emergency meeting’s organizers came up with.

TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION

Inauguration isn’t until January 19th, but there are plenty of actions we can take right now to protect ourselves and the institutions Trump threatens to abolish.

Start by taking care of yourself, especially if your rights and safety are at stake. Obamacare will likely be repealed very quickly, so make an appointment with your primary care physician and get any medical issues squared away the best you can. If you rely on birth control to prevent pregnancy, consider getting an IUD, which can last 10 years, while it’s still free to do so. Alternatively, you might want to consider stocking up on emergency contraception such as Plan B—which has a 4-year shelf life. Get a $10 off coupon from its website.

Next, get a passport. Don’t leave the country unless you no longer feel safe, but give yourself the option to do so in case you need to.

Take a moment to thank someone. Thank your friends who inspire you to stay strong. Thank your elected officials whose policies you agree with. When we’re all on edge and trying to keep ourselves together in the face of bigotry, it’s easy to forget to be kind to each other, and a little kindness goes a long way.

Protect much-needed organizations. Donate your time or money to groups like Planned Parenthood, who republicans have consistently threatened to defund, or the ACLU, who has pledged to take Trump to court if he implements his proposed policies. (And don’t forget to donate to your favorite alternative media outlet, Raging Chicken Press, so we can continue bringing you stories about what’s important.) If you don’t have money to donate, or want to have a larger impact, organize fundraisers in your city—and let us know about it so we can spread the word.

Protect sanctuary cities. Trump wants to remove funding for “sanctuary cities” who protect undocumented immigrants. Seattle has already announced it will remain a sanctuary city even if it loses funding. If you live in a sanctuary city (find the complete list here), urge your local officials to make a similar pledge.

Update: Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has stated Philadelphia will remain a sanctuary city.

Help Foster Campbell win on December 10. That’s right, the election isn’t over yet. Louisiana holds its final Senate and House elections on December 10th. If Democratic candidate Foster Campbell wins a spot in the senate, the Republican majority will only be 51-49. Find out how you can take action—even if you don’t live in Louisiana.

Shop at small, local businesses. Though Trump’s economic policies are extremely fuzzy right now, it’s very likely they will harm small business owners. Don’t let them go out of business. Small businesses need your support now more than ever, especially if they’re minority-owned.

CREATING SAFE SPACES

We already saw a major rise in racism and xenophobia in the first day after Trump was elected. LGBTQ suicide hotlines received a “record breaking” number of calls. Everyone needs to do their part to support minorities who are being targeted by hate crimes. Here’s how:

Start by reaching out to your LGBTQ friends, your Muslim friends, your immigrant friends, your friends of color, and your disabled friends. Tell them that you’re there for them. Offer them a shoulder to cry on, a face to rage to, or a house to crash at. Listen to what they have to say, and don’t invalidate their feelings. Also, don’t rely on them to carry the burden of explaining why Trump is problematic, or ask them to speak for their entire group on any topic. And whatever you do, don’t insult them by feeling bad for them—instead, help them by supporting them.

Let everyone around you know that racism is not okay. Period. If you’re talking to someone who starts saying anything racist or xenophobic, and you feel safe enough to do so, shut that shit down. Especially if you’re white. Especially if you’re a white man. It may be uncomfortable to confront someone, but it’s even more uncomfortable to be the target of hate for no reason. Don’t stay silent—that’s how they win.

If you’re in public and see someone being harassed, this guide shares the best way to stand up to harassment without engaging the bully. If you can, also try to get a video of the harassment so there’s evidence that can be sent to police if needed. Additionally, the Southern Poverty Law Center is “monitoring reports of racist harassment and intimidation in the wake of the presidential election,” so if you are being harassed or see someone who is, report it here.

Wear a safety pin. When there was a rise in xenophobic violence following Brexit, people started wearing single safety pins to show support and safety to those who were being attacked. Many people are suggesting we do the same in the States as a symbol of anti-bigotry—or, as the idea’s originator said, “a literal SAFETY pin.”

Update: There are reports that white supremacists have already co-opted the safety pin symbolism. Regardless, wearing a safety pin should not be the only thing you’re doing to show your support to disenfranchised groups anyway.

BUILDING A PARTY FOR THE FUTURE

Don’t forget, there’s a midterm election in 2 years. Now’s the time to start organizing and figuring out how to take back control of Congress. If you want to build a third party, start finding qualified candidates to put forward and figuring out how to run a successful campaign. Get involved with local politics—there’s a lot your local government can do to help or hurt you.

All 203 house seats will be up for election again in 2018, along with a number of senate seats. In Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf will be up for re-election, as will Senator Bob Casey. We may not be able to stop a Trump presidency, but we do have a chance to take back some control.