So I thought in addition to my not-ever-weekly running progress reports, it’d also be nice to start blogging about the actions I’ve been taking to try to save us from the trumpocracy. Like a lot of you, I’ve been really angry/sad/disturbed/nauseated by pretty much every headline I read and it’s driven me to be more active.
And please understand I do this not to brag, but to share ideas and to let people out there who think like I do know they’re not alone. I really appreciate friends and other bloggers who are doing this because it lets us all know who our allies are. I’m also not trying to come across as if I have any idea what I’m doing. I still get the feeling my actions are all largely superficial and meaningless. A lot of screaming into the void. My privilege has allowed me to be largely complacent until now so I welcome any guidance you have to offer.
Who I supported
I don’t have a lot of money, so when you see me mentioning donations, assume I’m talking around 10 bucks. Sometimes five. I wish I could give more but that’s where we’re at right now. (But it’s okay because the other areas are important too.)
Laura’s chimp rescue – “This fundraiser is to support and expand a highly successful pilot program in Uganda implemented by the Bulindi Chimpanzee & Community Project (BCCP). Sponsored by the US-based nonprofit, Friends of Chimps, this fundraiser will allow us to expand a community-based project working with farmers to reduce deforestation, plant trees, send children to school and ultimately, save small populations of wild chimpanzees struggling to survive mounting human population pressure.”
ACS Relay For Life – My friend is running a local campaign for the American Cancer Society’s signature 24-hour relay event. She lost both her dad and father-in-law to cancer and she’s one of the kindest best people ever so this one was a no-brainer for me.
Help Theo’s Transition! Theo Vanore is a trans activist who spoke at our Indianapolis rally last week (see below) and I found his Go Fund Me page when I was googling the speakers. I noticed the last donation to the fund was about a year ago, so like a total creeper, I messaged him and asked if he was still raising money. The answer was an enthusiastic yes! Crowd funding campaigns can be so fickle, you guys. Unless it happens by chance to get picked up by the media and go viral, the momentum slows and the campaign can fizzle. Especially when you’re a high school kid and your friends can’t throw in hundreds of dollars. Theo has done some great work in Indianapolis and it’d be cool if we could give a little back.
Who I contacted
I called my senators regarding education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos (earlier this week Donnelly announced he will oppose DeVos, so that one was a thank you call) and to oppose AG nominee Jeff Sessions and I also called the Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley to oppose Sessions. And that probably amounts to more calls to reps than I’ve ever made in my life.
Based on information from a Facebook post, I emailed the Government Accountability Office in support of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s request for an audit of Trump’s finances, but later found on snopes that they are not tracking responses for this as the FB post suggested. However, maybe the flood of messages will still influence their action on this matter? I’ll be vetting sources a little better from now on.
I sent a email to my senators to oppose defunding Planned Parenthood. I know I know, it’s just an email. I’ve often been guilty of sending email via web forms and I think I’m going to stop doing this (or do it, but make a phone call too) because I’ve read that email and snail mail are virtually useless and should only be used as a last resort when phone lines are jammed or voicemail boxes full. (Looking at you, Paul Ryan…get your shit together.)
What I read
After finishing House of Leaves, I needed a break from foot notes and appendices and tiny upside-down type scattered all over the page. I did read one book, Orphan Train, and I just started American Gods but I’ve mostly been reading stuff on the ‘net. Here are some of the noteworthy things I read this week:
What I did
I have been volunteering with FIDO since about 2006 or 2007. We help low-income dog owners with dog houses, fencing, crates for house-training and other supplies. We run a pet food pantry and we have grant money to cover free spay/neuter and vaccinations for those who qualify. I do FIDO’s social media and blog and some other web stuff, and I just took on some additional housekeeping/data-entry duties.
I bought some items to donate to a local Black Lives Matter homeless outreach. For those of you who think Black Lives Matter activists just block traffic on your commute, well first of all you’re an asshole, and second of all nope. Indy’s local organizers have been leading a homeless outreach this winter and in this round they are collecting socks, shoes, underwear and hygiene items to offer people living outside. Here’s the event for anyone who’s local and wants to get involved. They are accepting donations until February 4.
I marched. Well, we didn’t actually march in Indy, but there was an enormous rally in front of the state house with some great speakers including Theo Vanore and local leaders from the Indiana chapter of NOW, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, the Indy chapter of the NAACP, Immigrant Welcome Center, and the Muslim Alliance. Crowd estimates were at 4000 on the low end and 10,000 on the high end, which is not too shabby for a small blue city in a big red state. We got there early and still had some room to move around and play on the grass with the kids but by 11 a.m. things were getting pretty snug and people were still arriving in droves. It was pretty incredible. I cried behind my sunglasses a couple of times as I listened to the speakers and stared out at the sea of people. The event was well-organized. The atmosphere was incredibly positive and I left feeling hopeful instead of dejected.
My sister got to go to a birthday party and I had to attend this stupid rally for women’s rights.
I did feel that a lot of the imagery and messaging around the uterus and vulva and vagina detracted from the overall theme and was kinda TERFy, to be honest. I mean, what is more gender essentialist than a pink pussy? When we reduce feminism to physical anatomy, we’re doing ourselves and our trans siblings a huge disservice. And I KNOW the pussyhat people said both cis and trans women are mistreated and we’re standing up for the rights of all women and the “sea of pink” demonstrates how we’re all united and we’re reclaiming the term as a means of empowerment. But it sort of comes across as ‘all lives mattering’ trans people. I have trans and nonbinary friends who have been kind enough to share their thoughts with me on this so it was at the front of my mind all day. The last thing I want to do is make people feel excluded.
Postscript: I started writing this post before Trump’s immigration order and before he appointed that horror garbage fire of a person Steve Bannon to the National Security Council (and dropped the joint chiefs…WTFWTFWTFWTF), so I’d like for some of my actions this week to focus on that. Each executive action feels more insidious than the last, so I’m trying to focus on just a few issues each week so I don’t get overwhelmed and spiral into paralysis. There is also some local legislation I don’t want to let slip through the cracks, namely SB 285, which would effectively restrict peaceful protests.