Resist Hate, Assist Love / by Alexa Arnold

Photo taken and sign made by Anna Hewitt at the Women's March on NYC.

Photo taken and sign made by Anna Hewitt at the Women's March on NYC.

It's been a while since my last post, but I'm not here to apologize about that. It's been a tough couple of months for everyone. Every morning I wake up, check the news, and am overwhelmed with grief, anger and sadness. The first week of this new administration has shown us that our new president's campaign promises were much more than rhetoric – he's doing the exact things he said he would, from ordering walls at the Mexican border, to enacting policies that target the world's most vulnerable women, to putting our nation's access to affordable healthcare at risk, to banning immigrants (and even legal permanent residents!) from a number of Muslim countries from entering ours. I feel helpless, and even though there are times when I want to retreat from it all, I'm committed to fighting for a country and a world where everyone, especially those who are most hurt by the system, feels safe, heard, loved, and valued. I will not stop resisting, marching, reading, calling, writing and protesting. 

With the world feeling so heavy, I'm doing my best to keep other parts of my life as light as possible. I'm trying to go about the simple, yet not to simple, task feeding myself. There have been a lot of egg sandwiches and soups and smoothies, which I make without a recipe or much thought, because I know it isn't a meal that I need to fulfill me right now. I'm trying to fill the time that I used to spend over the stove with other acts of resistance. Though some days, I'm finding that choosing self care is among the most radical forms of rebellion I can muster, and that's okay, too.  

What has made me feel a little lighter these days, are all of the inspiring acts of protest and resistance that are emerging in response to this madness. I've been seeing people who normally stand on the sidelines speaking up and encouraging their networks to take action, too. I feel comforted knowing that I'm not alone in my outrage – that there are millions of people, on both sides of the aisle, who are marching, reading, calling, writing and protesting alongside me. I also feel an obligation to do my part, in hopes that it might inspire others to take action, too. So in an effort to stay outraged and engaged, I'm taking a page out of my friend Caitlin's book, and will be sharing the ways I'm resisting and responding to hate and bigotry more intentionally here on this site and on my Instagram page. I hope you'll join me and that you'll share the ways you're standing up for democracy and progress, back with me. We are stronger together, that much I'm sure of. 

I spent the weekend writing postcards to my senators and rallying to oppose Trump's immigration ban, and it's just now sinking in how big this fight is, and how much energy and consistent activism it's going to take to protect the vulnerable and preserve democracy. I'm following the suggestions for how combat resistance fatigue shared in this post, like taking breaks from social media, focusing my energy on just a few important issues at a time, and getting creative with activism. I'm also making a few commitments, mostly to myself, that I know I'll need to use as a guiding star when things feel too overwhelming to bear:

  • Continue to fight the small fight, while keeping my eyes on the big one. Resistance doesn't have to mean marching on the front lines every day of the week – it can be as simple as writing a letter to my representative, donating to an organization that's fighting for the issues I value, or building bridges with someone who doesn't share the same opinion as me. Remember that democracy needs us not only when there's an election, but every time there's something that needs fixing in our communities. 
  • Break out of my echo chamber. Unless I'm making a dedicated effort to listen and hear people and the media outside of my own bubble, I won't have the opportunity to challenge my own concepts or ideas. This is about the long game – it's about course correcting. The policies put forth by the Trump administration won't only betray the people he shamed and ostracized on the campaign trail; they'll also exploit many of the people who voted for him, too. Resisting has to be more than progressive versus conservative politics – we must figure out how to bridge what divides us. 
  • Organize. I cut my teeth in the food and farm movement as a community organizer, and now is the time to put those skills to good use. We have power in numbers and have so much to learn and share with one another. As much as possible, I'm committed to performing acts of resistance in the company of others. That might mean participating in marches alongside my community, setting up a postcard writing station at parties or gatherings, or sharing call scripts and phone numbers on social media. 
  • Find the bravery to voice my opinion, and the humility to know that my story isn't the only one that matters. While I hope speaking up might inspire others to stay politically active, I'm committed to using my platform (however small it might be!) to lift up the voices of those who are most impacted and targeted by bigotry, xenophobia, and hatred. 
  • Support organizations that are already doing great work. For all of the important issues I care about, there are organizations armed with smart, talented individuals who share my values. When my actions don't feel like enough, I'm committed to supporting organizations fighting for food justice, body positivity, the end to gender-based violence, reproductive rights and women's health, LGBTQ rights, worker's rights, civil rights, immigrant rights, religious freedom, education reform, and environmental justice.
  • Do the things I need to do to rejuvenate, fortify, and stay energized. Read hopeful and inspiring words, practice yoga, break bread with new and old friends, see the world, hug the people I love, stay open minded, practice forgiveness. 

Onward, friends. How are you resisting today?