(or: We’re Not Helpless)
During my weekly therapy session this morning, I brought up how helpless I’ve been feeling about what’s going on with our brothers and sisters South of the border.
Given that my therapy is (in part) for PTSD, we talk a lot about fear and helplessness. Part of what I’ve learned in those sessions is to confront these feelings by reminding myself what is in my power to change. For example, I can’t avoid using public transit, but I don’t have to force myself onto a packed train; I can walk down to a car with more space, or wait for another train that’s less crowded.
When I brought up the feelings of helplessness today, Therapist (I feel weird naming her specifically, so we’ll go with that) suggested that I look at this situation the same way. Yes, it’s true, I probably can’t contact Donald Trump directly to help him see the error of his ways–although it is plausible that he’ll see any tweets I tag him in, I doubt that he’d take what I have to say to heart–but telling myself that there’s nothing I can do just isn’t helpful.
So, with that in mind, I spent some time brainstorming things that are within my control that I could try to do to help. Then, I expanded the list to include ideas that things that might not be as feasible for me, but might be for others who are reading this, trying to come up with their own ways to resist.
If you have funds to donate…
Consider donating to one of the following organizations that are trying to help those most affected by recent legislation:
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) works to defend the rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, including rights for women, immigrants, and the LGBT community.
- Planned Parenthood provides much-needed health care, sexual/reproductive education, and access to contraception.
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) supports refugees by providing shelter, health care, and advocacy for human rights.
If you’re an employer/hiring manager…
Review your hiring practices to check for unconscious bias. This means having another set of eyes on your job postings to check for phrasing that could be unintentionally exclusionary, or even asking the recruiter to block names and dates on resumes, so that you’re looking at the raw data without any biases with regards to age, sex, nationality, etc.
Next, review the pay rates for your department. Are people performing similar jobs being paid similar rates? If not, why? Is it because the higher-paid person has more pertinent experience, or could there have been some unconscious bias at play?
If you hear someone say something racist, xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic, etc….
Speak. Up. We can’t let this kind of hateful rhetoric become the norm.
This goes double if you possess privilege based things like your race, sex, immigration status, or gender identity, because typically that also means that there are fewer consequences for you if you speak up, and you’re more likely to be heard. (I’d be willing to bet that we’ve all seen this at play in a meeting where a man parrots the exact. same. thing. a woman said five minutes earlier, and everyone loves the idea when it comes from a man’s mouth.)
But this is not to say that we should see ourselves as speaking on behalf of other communities–we’re allies, not saviors–but that we should wield our privilege and use our voices in a way that supports others.
If you know someone who’s affected by this legislation…
Reach out and let them know that you care about them. If they want to talk about it, just listen. Don’t argue and don’t give advice (unless asked). Just listen.
We’re not helpless, especially when we’re united. Stand tall. Be strong. Speak up.
And most importantly: love one another.