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Support The Trevor Project, Which Helps LBGTQ Youth

This piece originally appeared on OTYCD in August 2018.

 

Support the Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LBGTQ youth.

 

The Trevor Project is a 19-year-old organization that sprung from the Academy Award-winning short film Trevor, about a gay teenager who struggles with his identity. It provides the only nationwide 24/7 crisis and suicide prevention hotline geared to LBGTQ youth.

 

Since the 2016 election, the Trevor Lifeline has had its hands full, and traffic spiked again after Trump’s tweet about banning transgender troops from the military. The Trevor Project is a worthy org that needs your support.

 

Learn about the Trevor Project:

http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/history

 

Learn about the increased need for services due to Trump and the atmosphere his election has created:

http://www.thetrevorproject.org/blog/entry/spike-in-crisis-contacts-related-to-anti-trans-rhetoric

 

Visit the Trevor Support Center:

http://www.thetrevorproject.org/section/trevor-support-center

 

Volunteer for the Trevor Project:

http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/volunteer

 

Donate to the Trevor Project:

https://give.thetrevorproject.org/checkout/donation?eid=63307

 

Load the Trevor Lifeline into your phone:

866.488.7386

 

Like the Trevor Project on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/TheTrevorProject

 

Follow the Trevor Project on Twitter:

@TrevorProject

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Believe It, You Matter, Part IX: Yes, It’s Exhausting. Get Rest and Come Back.

This OTYCD post originally appeared in August 2018.

 

Believe It, You Matter, Part IX: Yes, it’s exhausting. All of it. Everything. Get rest and come back.

 

Sarah Jane here. I write all the Believe It, You Matter entries on OTYCD.

 

Let me tell you–there are times when I just can’t even with this fucking administration. Really.

 

I could only listen once to the ProPublica secret recording of the small children who had been separated from their mothers. I needed hours to put myself together after hearing the little girl who repeated that phone number, and I needed those hours because I would have been that kid in that situation, repeating those numbers like a magical spell of protection, over and over, until the spell worked.

 

I’ve had to detach myself from the news for days on end for the sake of my own mental health. I’ve had to do that more frequently of late.

 

It’s not just you.

 

Too much is going on.

 

The Trump administration is a container ship full of Dumpsters, all of which are on fire. But that container ship full of flaming Dumpsters is itself on a container ship that’s designed to deliver container ships, and every last one of those container ships are full of flaming Dumpsters. It’s Dumpster fires all the way down.

 

Superman would be hard-pressed to fix all this shit. Superman would be hard-pressed to simply keep track of all this shit as it happens.

 

Superman doesn’t exist. You do, though, and so do countless millions who have been resisting this administration since the morning after the election.

 

In a post OTYCD first published in March 2017, we included a link to a TEDx talk about the tipping point for an effective resistance movement. If 3.5 percent of the population are on board, the movement can succeed.

 

To update the figures given before: America’s population is just shy of 327 million. 3.5 percent of not-quite-327 million is 11.4 million.

 

Oh, we got that. We can muster at least 11.4 million resisters. As that March 2017 OTYCD post notes, between 3.3 million and 4.6 million Americans came to the 2017 Women’s March, held a day after Trump’s inauguration. Since then, he’s only continued to turn people off and lose them completely.

 

But to get that, we have to have each others’ backs, and we have to take periodic rest breaks. Self-care is crucial. Authoritarian regimes aim to tire out their populations with onslaught after onslaught until they give up and give in.

 

We can’t afford to do that. We can sustain a long fight. But we need to be smart and careful with our resources and ourselves.

 

Have you seen any BBC nature documentaries? Not long ago they did a great one that included penguins, and in particular, had a segment on how Emperor penguins help each other survive the Antarctic winter [scroll down to see the time-lapse video.]

 

The Emperor penguins huddle as a huge group, and the group constantly rotates so no penguin is on the blessedly warm inside forever, and no penguin is on the desperately cold outside forever.

 

We need to do this for each other.

 

No competition. No judgment. No whining. Just helping each other and taking turns facing the cold and enjoying the warmth we need to prepare to face the cold again.

 

Hang in there. Be gentle with yourself. Get rest. But come back, always come back. You’ve got to stay here and carry on the fight.

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Support Medical Students for Choice

This piece originally appeared on OTYCD in January 2018. 

 

Support Medical Students for Choice (MSFC), a nonprofit that destigmatizes abortion by training medical students to do them.

 

One of the ways in which pro-life forces have tried to curtail access to abortion is by scaring medical students and residents away from learning how to perform them.

 

MSFC combats this on several fronts. It advocates to make abortion a standard part of the medical school curriculum; it hosts conferences; it has chapters at more than 200 medical schools around the world; and it educates almost 1,000 medical students in abortion and family planning annually.

 

Visit the MSFC web site:

https://www.msfc.org

 

Read its blog:

https://www.msfc.org/ourblog/

 

Read a December 2017 Guardian piece on the work of Medical Students for Choice:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/dec/22/why-medical-students-are-practicing-abortions-on-papayas

 

Like its Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/MSFChoice/

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@MSFC

 

Donate to MSFC:

https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/MSFC

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Read How to Culture Jam a Populist in Four Easy Steps

This post originally appeared on OTYCD in September 2018. 

 

Read Andrés Miguel Rondón’s How to Culture Jam a Populist in Four Easy Steps, a summary of what he and his Venezuelan compatriots learned about pushing back against Hugo Chavez.

 

We at OTYCD devoted an earlier blog post to how Italians finally defeated Silvio Berlusconi. Rondón and his country went through a similar struggle against Chavez. We apologize for being so late to draw your attention to Rondón’s piece, which appeared on Inauguration Day.

 

Rondón’s four steps boil down to:

 

Don’t forget who the enemy is. Under Trump, that means you, yes, you, the fine, smart, upstanding, honest person reading this blog. MAGA-heads draw their strength from demonizing us. “Your focus has to be on erase the cartoon you’ve been drawn into. Scrambling it. Undermining it.” For concrete examples of how to scramble and undermine the image that MAGA-heads have pressed upon us, you’ll need to see point four, but bear with Rondón and keep reading.

 

Show no contempt. If they succeed in demonizing us, that keeps the country polarized. If the country wasn’t so damn polarized, Trump couldn’t have the sway that he does. Don’t take this to mean that you shouldn’t express anger at how corrupt, vulgar, and stupid Trump is–just vent it in a private sphere, like a closed Facebook page populated by friends, and don’t waste your time trying to use these facts to get people on your side. Hillary Clinton tried that, with an audience of 84 million watching live. Fat lot of good it did her.

 

Don’t try to force him out. Granted, this is mitigated by an ever-growing mound of evidence that Trump committed any number of impeachment-worthy crimes, but stay clear of the investigators and let them do their work without any overt cheerleading or brickbats from you. “The people on the other side, and crucially Independents, will rebel against you if you look like you’re losing your mind,” Rondón writes. “Worst of all, you will have proved yourself to be the very thing you’re claiming to be fighting against: an enemy of democracy.”

 

Find a counter-argument. (No, not the one you think.) As we said above, pressing the case for how patently awful Trump is will cut no ice because it didn’t cut enough ice at the ballot box. “The problem is tribal. Your challenge is to prove that you belong in the same tribe as them: that you are American in exactly the same way they are,”  Rondón writes. “It took our leaders ten years to figure out they needed to actually go to the slums and to the countryside. And not for a speech, or a rally, but for game of dominoes or to dance salsa – to show they were Venezuelans too, that they had tumbao and could hit a baseball, could tell a joke that landed. That they could break the tribal divide, come down off the billboards and show they were real. And no, this is not populism by other means. It is the only way of establishing your standing. It’s deciding not to live in an echo chamber. To press pause on the siren song of polarization.

 

You will not find that pause button in the cities or the university’s campuses. You will find it precisely where you’re not expected.

Only then will your message land.”

 

In other words, leave your house and engage with unlike minds in person. Yeah, yeah, we know, but c’mon, do you want four more years of this crap?

 

Read How to Culture Jam a Populist in Four Easy Steps:

How to Culture Jam a Populist in Four Easy Steps

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

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Subscribe to My Civic Workout

This OTYCD post originally appeared in November 2018.

 

Subscribe to My Civic Workout, an activist outlet that delivers twice-weekly action items broken down into things that demand a bit of your time, more of your time, and a bit more of your time than that.

 

My Civic Workout is one of the many online activism outlets that sprung up after the November 2016 election. It belongs to Action Alliance, as does One Thing You Can Do. But it doesn’t seem to get the play or the recognition that some of the others do, so we’re giving it a blog post.

 

My Civic Workout does an admirable job of picking a timely resistance-related topic and breaking it down into three actions that demand varying amounts of investment.

 

The “Five Minute Workout” is quick and simple (but not necessarily easy)–donate money, read a short article, watch a video.

 

The “Ten Minute Workout” is more involved. Read a longer, more densely written article, such as a white paper or an academic article. Type your address into a database and learn about gun deaths in your area, and share it with friends and family. Call your senators, using a script offered by MCW, and advocate for a bill.

 

The “30 Minute Workout” is even more involved, and sometimes reminds you to do stuff that you should have done ages ago anyway. For example, in the wake of Harvey, it suggested drawing up a comprehensive, personalized disaster plan. During the effort to defend Obamacare, it encouraged setting up a phone tree–recruiting friends to call their senators, and having them recruit friends in turn. One of its post-Charlottesville tasks was to check an interactive map and see if there were Confederate monuments on public land near you, and if so, urge local officials to remove them.

 

The twice-weekly email finishes with a selection of nice little digestifs: “Second Wind,” a nugget of wisdom related to the overall theme of the email, and “Need a Little Joy?” a bit of pure fun.

 

My Civic Workout also stands out among the post-2016-election activist sites for its consistency. Sarah Jane, OTYCD leader, has been a subscriber since January at least and she can’t recall MCW missing a week or otherwise dropping the ball. The graphics are elegant, well-chosen, and pleasant to look at. *We say check it out.

 

Visit the website for My Civic Workout:

https://www.mycivicworkout.com

 

Subscribe to My Civic Workout:

https://www.mycivicworkout.com

 

Suggest a topic to My Civic Workout or otherwise contact them:

https://www.mycivicworkout.com/contact/

 

Meet the My Civic Workout team:

https://www.mycivicworkout.com/theteam/

 

Donate to My Civic Workout:

https://www.mycivicworkout.com/support/

 

Like it on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/mycivicworkout/

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@MyCivicWorkout

 

And while you’re at it, check out Action Alliance, which accepted My Civic Workout and One Thing You Can Do as members who offer and encourage post-2016-election actions.:

https://www.actionalliance.co/#members

 

*My Civic Workout didn’t ask us to write about it. As of late-ish 2017, when we wrote this post, neither MCW or any member of its six-member team followed or subscribed to OTYCD (at least as far as we know). We’ve interacted with whoever speaks for MCW on Twitter. We wrote about MCW because we like it and thought you might like it too, simple as that.

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Support the Military Religious Freedom Foundation

This OTYCD post originally appeared in June 2018.

 

Support the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), which defends the first amendment rights of military personnel against coercion by fundamentalists of all stripes.

 

Michael “Mikey” Weinstein founded the MRFF in 2005 with the aim of combatting extremists, usually Christians, who attempt religious intimidation against military colleagues who do not share their views. It has assisted more than 50,000 active duty military, about 96 percent of whom identify as Christian. The remaining four percent comprise adherents of other faiths, or profess no faith. The MRFF has pursued legal action against the Pentagon and the Secretary of Defense on behalf of military plaintiffs who have been wronged by the actions of overly aggressive fundamentalist Christians.

 

The MRFF’s mission statement includes these tenets, among others:

  • No religion or religious philosophy may be advanced by the United States Armed Forces over any other religion or religious philosophy.
  • No member of the United States Armed Forces may be compelled in any way to conform to a particular religion or religious philosophy.
  • No member of the United States Armed Forces may be compelled in any way to witness or engage in any religious exercise.
  • No member of the military may be compelled to endure unwanted religious proselytization, evangelization or persuasion of any sort in a military setting and/or by a military superior or civilian employee of the military.
  • The full exercise of religious freedom includes the right not to subscribe to any particular religion or religious philosophy. The so-called “unchurched” cede no Constitutional rights by want of their separation from organized faith.

 

Visit the MRFF website:

https://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org

 

Like MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/MikeyMRFF

 

Follow him on Twitter:

@MikeyWeinstein

 

Donate to the MRFF:

Make a Donation

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Support Your Local Independent Bookstore and Avoid Amazon

This OTYCD post originally ran in December 2018.

 

Do you have a local independent bookstore? Spend money there, early and often. And stop buying your books, or anything really, at Amazon until it pulls its ads from Breitbart and stops carrying Trump products.

 

Reading is good. Fundamental, even. If you are lucky enough to have an independent bookstore near you–aka not Barnes & Noble–go spend some money there as soon as you can, and make a plan to swing by on a regular basis. Also, follow your local indie bookstore on social media, attend its events, and bring your friends, too.

 

Independent bookstores were vulnerable before Amazon arrived (Barnes & Noble did much to kill them) and not much has changed. Please step up and support your nearest one with your dollars.

 

Giving indie bookstores your business is a social good in and of itself, no matter who’s running the country, but it takes on greater importance under the Trump administration.

 

Both #GrabYourWallet and Sleeping Giants have been targeting Amazon for months, because it sells Trump family products and because it has not moved to pull its ads from Breitbart. It has been deaf to all entreaties, even as Sleeping Giants closes in the milestone of convincing 2,000 advertisers to leave the stomach-turning alt-right web site and despite countless calls, emails, and letters from supporters of #GrabYourWallet (As of early April, Amazon ranks as number 5 on the site’s Top 10 list of retailers to boycott.)

 

Important: You should know that Amazon is a somewhat controversial choice to boycott because its owner, Jeff Bezos, also owns the Washington Post, which has been one of the best, most relentless newspapers covering the Trump administration. Also, the Amazon Prime service makes it cheap and easy to read the Washington Post by offering free access online for six months and then at $4.99 thereafter. For some, Bezos’s support of the Washington Post nullifies any sins that Amazon is perpetrating.

 

Boycotting Amazon is far more difficult than other retailers because it offers so much more than books. Fortunately, the #GrabYourWallet community is way ahead on this, with a whitelist of alternatives to look to.

 

Speaking of which–if you don’t have a local independent bookstore and want to stop giving money to Amazon, try these shops instead:

 

 

Powell’s

http://www.powells.com

 

 

The Strand Bookstore

http://www.strandbooks.com

 

 

See #GrabYourWallet’s whitelist of retailers (bookstores included):

https://grabyourwallet.org/Shop%20These%20Companies.html

 

 

See #GrabYourWallet’s list of retailers to avoid (retailers who sell Trump-branded products):

https://grabyourwallet.org

 

 

See the Sleeping Giants list of advertisers who have dropped Breitbart:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1i9o8CR_kjJ6mBd44k6CRZEhlXuZqq-XCCOoj-e8RJ7Q/edit

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!