100 Days and Beyond: Resources for Self-Education
By S. E. Fleenor
For many people, the election of the current administration served as a resounding wake up call. Millions of people, many of whom had never protested before, have been pouring into the streets in record numbers. In the first week of February, some congressional offices reported receiving as many as 1.5 million phone calls from concerned citizens. Many hope to sustain this work, but the question of momentum has reared its head: Can the diverse pockets of resistance maintain their energy or coalesce into a unified movement?
In response to this question, we must each ask ourselves how we will continue our engagement in resistance. One powerful way to fight ignorance and the rise of a demagogue is through self-education. By learning more about who we are and how we engage in society, we each chip away at the myopia that got us into this situation in the first place.
You may be asking yourself, “But, how?” Well, luckily, there are some sage folks who have been invested in this work and are bringing new folks into the fold. The path to equity may be rocky, especially if it is a new endeavor for you, but here are a few (of many!) organizations that can help you push into newfound territory, surrounded by community.
- “Our country’s political leaders are poised to erode support for refugees, immigrants, trans and queer individuals, and de-fund women’s health initiatives,” says Nora Bashir, Executive Director at the Chinook Fund. The Chinook Fund and its programs, including the Giving Project, work to ensure “our most vulnerable communities are protected and heard.” Since 2015, Bashir has been leading the implementation of the Giving Project, an intensive six-month program that pairs a critical analysis of race and class with grassroots fundraising to move significant dollars to social justice initiatives. Participants are asked to commit six months to training in grant making, building a collective framework for understanding social justice, fundraising, and evaluating and granting funds to applicants through consensus. In turn, participants will learn about active organizations in their community, traditional philanthropy, and grassroots fundraising, to name a few. This program exists at various sites throughout the country, but originated at Social Justice Fund Northwest, an organization that has been training sister funds throughout the country to implement this innovative funding model. To get involved, reach out to a giving project near you!
- Founded in 1998, Resource Generationis a nationwide organization that organizes young people with wealth and class privilege around economic equity. Neal Feldman, a member of the Leadership Team, describes how he came to Resource Generation, “I was at a point in my life where my class privilege was staring me directly in the face, and I knew I had to address it, to break social isolation and feelings of shame and guilt around it.” In that vein, according to Feldman, Resource Generation works to build “a community of like-minded people, and tools to take responsibility of our class privilege, and people to hold each other accountable to that responsibility.” Participants can expect to learn about fundraising, utilizing one’s privilege to create equity, including engaging in policy change. Feldman says, “We need to put ourselves on the line, financially and with our bodies, whenever it’s needed, because the current administration is already raising the stakes of struggle and waging so many negative impacts on most ordinary American peoples’ lives.” To get involved with Resource Generation, visit their website, find them on Facebook, and show up!
- Meetup was launched in 2002 to leverage social networking to get people to meet in person. On February 13 of this year, Meetup released an email announcement to its members. In part, the email reads “after the recent executive order aimed to block people on the basis of nationality and religion, a line was crossed. At a time when core democratic ideals feel under attack, we feel a duty to spark more civic participation.” In that same email, the Meetup community took a groundbreaking step and announced the founding of #Resist Meetups, gatherings promoting opportunities to resist the current administration and rally around creating the world participants desire. With over 130,000 members participating in over a thousand Meetups, it’s safe to say the #Resist Meetups have taken hold. Participants can expect to connect with other passionate people around resisting the current administration. To get involved, simply log in and find a #Resist Meetup near you!
These are only three of the many resources out there to help you continue your self-education while being supported by community. We need each other not just to get the work done, but to be held accountable for the more ineffable, interior work we each must do to become a society that values each and every person. Moreover, having a community of people who are engaged in this work will provide you with a wellspring of energy, encouragement, and joy.
The president’s first 100 days may be drawing to a close, but our work has only just begun.
S.E. Fleenor writes novels and non-fiction essays centering on feminism, pop culture and social justice. Fleenor is also Executive Director of a non-profit in addition to serving as a non-profit consultant and a copyeditor. Website: sefleenor.com