There’s no way around it: 2017 was a difficult year for those working for progressive social change. Adjusting to the onset of a Trump presidency meant facing down challenges to values we hold dear and recognizing the scope and depth of the racism, sexism, and xenophobia that have long existed in our country. If there was even the thinnest silver lining to these disturbing trends, it was seeing the robust response to them. From the Women’s March and #metoo, to the airport protests against the attempted Muslim ban and organizing to prevent cuts to our national monuments, the response to Trumpism has been plentiful. This activism and community-building in response to these deplorable actions is a force to be reckoned with. So, in 2018, we’re resolving to continue resisting.
This year I resolve to continually seek out and share the stories and the voices that often go ignored.
I will support the efforts of organizations like WBZ in Chicago which launched a podcast called “Every Other Hour.”It seeks to tell the stories of gun violence in Chicago. I will also support our local news outlets, whose work is often unsung, by continuing to subscribe and encourage our clients to advertise where possible. Finally, I will support efforts to diversify the voices in journalism, whether it is ProPublica’s effort to support local journalism or YouthRadio’s efforts to train the next generation of revolutionary media creators.
Especially in the Trump era, communities of color continue to fight every day against racism, oppression, privilege, and power. I resolve to step up as a white ally in order to help dismantle the ways in which our institutions and culture are deeply rooted in oppression.
In the traditional sense, allies are partners with equal resources who choose to work in tandem for mutual benefit. But when it comes to racial justice, this definition cannot stand — communities of color do not have equal resources, and white allies will not gain the same benefits.
This year, I plan to become an active member of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), a national network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice. SURJ believes in resourcing organizing led by people of color, and maintaining strong accountability relationships with organizers and communities of color as central part of our theory of change.
A friend of mine recommended resolving to not read any books written by straight, white, men. I decided to use this recommendation as a guide in being more conscientious about the literature and media I consume. So, this year I am resolving to surround myself with the art, film, novels, and perspectives of diverse and underrepresented individuals. As I’d like to see more content generated by individuals of varying races, genders, sexualities, and walks of life, I plan to be a patron of those artists. I want to elevate voices that reflect reality, and not just those specific voices that have historically been prioritized. Beyond supporting diverse artists, I’d like to recognize the extent to which our popular media and “classics” are dominated by the narratives and perspectives of a select few, predominantly heteronormative white men, and how this may contribute to my own biases.
In the first year of Trump’s presidency, I put my weight pretty firmly behind women’s issues when I felt my own rights coming under attack. This year, it’s important to me to fight even harder for the rights of groups to which I don’t belong. For me, 2018 will be the year of intersectionality, because I believe the resistance will only succeed if we’re willing to show up and fight each other’s battles. These acts of resistance shouldn’t be characterized as “a fight for someone else” — they’re a preemptive defense of our own rights, no matter who we are.
My resolution to resist will focus on holding elected officials accountable. Living in San Francisco, all of my federal elected officials are Democrats. But that doesn’t mean I abdicate my responsibility to hold them accountable. That includes thanking them when appropriate and calling them on the carpet when needed. We progressives set a lofty goal of taking back the House in 2018. When we do that (knock on wood) – our work is not done. We must still continue to hold them accountable because they work for us. In 2018 – let’s make sure they don’t forget that!