I originally wrote and posted this on Facebook on December 14, 2016. I’ve put it here in-full and unedited:
It’s been 36 days since we elected Trump. I want to check in about what’s happening in my world because I find it helpful to read updates of how others are experiencing things.
Calls for action surround us here. My email and social media feeds have been transformed. Every morning and throughout every day those lines of communication now present me with ways to resist and plug into action immediately.
Sign this petition to a senator.
Call that representative’s office.
Plan to attend this protest in two days.
There are distinct moments where I feel very small. I can’t possibly do everything. I can’t join every protest. I can’t make every call. I can’t be at every meeting. I’m comforted in the fact that I’m not alone. Every time Nick and I go to a meeting of our newly formed Neighborhood Action Coalition (NAC), we find that dozens are similarly trying to figure out where to jump in.
We’ve met neighbors who are overwhelmed and trying to sort out the best ways to use their skills to resist. All of us face a reality now that a lot of our free time must be spent on organizing and resisting. I am constantly talking with Nick about how we can still keep time to care for ourselves while facing our reality with action.
We’re learning quickly that being part of a group that’s organizing resistance is a journey. At a meeting of our Capitol Hill NAC on Sunday, we spent a good deal of time sorting out how the group is going to operate and communicate internally. How will these regular meetings be run? What will we do? What should we focus on first? How can we encrypt our communications? There are many basic questions that we must decide with our neighbors.
It’s easy to get frustrated as we think about what we’re up against and the urgency of it all. But, in the end, the most important part of our NAC is that we’re forming a bond with our neighbors, learning who they are and what they’re good at and cementing ways to be in touch with each other, and in a hurry, if and when it becomes necessary.
There are moments when I stop and think, “This is not normal.” For instance, I had a friend visiting last week and we went out to a bar in our neighborhood. We struck up a conversation with a couple other people there and before we knew it one of the guys was showing us a video on his phone of him burning a picture of Trump’s face in the middle of a crowd on a Seattle street. This is where we are.
Nick and I will be going to a bar tomorrow night, one of our favorite local bars, something we do regularly, but this time it will be to discuss with a committee of our neighbors the ways in which we can form a support network for undocumented immigrants and Muslims. I never imagined we’d ever be going there for this reason, but maybe I should’ve imagined it and started acting much sooner.
To prepare for our meeting about forming a support group for undocumented immigrants and Muslims, I’ve been reaching out to friends and acquaintances at two amazing Seattle orgs, OneAmerica and Northwest Immigrants Rights Project, for advice and suggestions. If you have any insight or ideas on this front, I’d love to hear from you so I can relay them to our group.
The place I work, TeamChild, is also a constant source of reminders that what’s happening is not normal. During our statewide staff meeting today we had all our offices on the phone (Yakima, Spokane, Tacoma, Seattle). There is tremendous concern among our attorneys who represent kids in crisis in Washington. First and foremost for our clients, the worry is about how the Trump Administration will impact the juvenile justice system and immigrants. Roughly, at least 14% of our teen clients who are already facing extreme struggles are “undocumented” immigrants. That doesn’t include the kids who may be documented, but whose parents are not.
During the staff meeting, the discussion highlighted the fact that public schools in Washington are making arrangements with immigrant students and their families, which have at least one undocumented member, to ensure they have adults on record who are documented and not going to be deported. That way, the school will be able to find out what happened if a kid disappears from class. Other concerns include the real possibility that Trump could wipe out national juvenile justice organizations or severely cut federal funds that support kids in crisis.
The next meeting of the full Capitol Hill District 3 Neighborhood Action Coalition is this Sunday, December 18 at 1:45 p.m. at Northwest Film Forum. I wish I could go, but I’ll be out of town. There are NAC’s now formed and meeting regularly in most areas of Seattle. There are Facebook pages for each neighborhood. I can point you in the right direction if you want to find out more or attend an upcoming meeting in the next few days.
What side of history are we going to be on?