Since the election of Donald Trump as our next president, those who support the candidate have been quick to scorn those who have taken to the streets to make clear that they do not. The argument, so far as we can discern, is that with the election over it’s our duty as citizens to get behind our new leader.
Which is stupid. Our founders didn’t provide us the right to assemble and speak in order for us to hold victory rallies; it’s our right, duty, to dissent, if we feel the moral imperative to do so. That’s all we have to say about that.
Our concern is not that our streets are filling with people who oppose what Trump stands for. Rather, it is that people may be staying home for the simple fact that they don’t know where to begin with their opposition—or how to be effective in doing so. Some of us here at Seattle Weekly have felt that very thing, and as such took heart in Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s suggestion: Choose one issue you care about, then get involved in local organizations that fight for that issue. “This is one way we’ll have our voices heard,” she told Rachel Maddow last week.
In that vein, we have singled out a few issues that are particularly vital to our region, with organizations you can contact today to get involved; and in future issues, we will devote more space to a few of these groups in order to further explain their mission. We hope you feel inspired to join one of the causes, or another of your choosing. Because over the coming weeks, months, and years, our ability to organize will greatly determine how far Trump gets with his destructive agenda. And if you throw yourself into just one fight, then you will be doing your part.
Reproductive rights: Washington is a relatively friendly place for reproductive rights. Thanks to 1991’s Initiative 120, Washington state law enshrines the right to an abortion that the U.S. Supreme Court established in Roe v. Wade. On the other hand, says NARAL spokesperson Erica C. Barnett, federal legislation could still impose obstacles like waiting periods that would affect patients in the Evergreen State. And of course federal funding for Planned Parenthood and other reproductive-health service providers will likely dry up under Vice President Mike Pence and a Republican-controlled Congress. If you want to be part of the defense, says Barnett, come volunteer with NARAL. “We are the left flank of the pro-choice movement,” she says, in part because they’re not a service provider and are therefore less constrained by the politics of funding. “We’ve been getting bombarded by people who want to volunteer,” she says. If you want to “Get out, tell your story, put yourself physically out there to show that this is not OK and here in Washington state we’re fighting back,” she says, contact Natalia Koss Vallejo at 206-624-1990 or Natalia@ProChoiceWashington.org. Alternatively, Planned Parenthood has an active local chapter.
Climate change: There’s good reason to fear that a Trump administration will promptly destroy all that climate activists have worked to achieve. Trump has said that he will be looking for the swiftest way possible to pull out of the Paris climate agreement; he’s threatened to dismantle the entire Environmental Protection Agency, and is now likely, at the very least, to hire a climate-change denier to lead it; he may reopen negotiations with the company behind Keystone XL; and he’s promised to scrap Obama’s Clean Power Plan, a plan that has set the stage for widespread decommissioning of coal-fired power plants across the country. We could go on. But here in Washington state, the climate movement is alive and kicking. Just ask 350 Seattle, Got Green, Front and Centered, the Sierra Club, and the Washington Environmental Council. And it’s important, in a world where the demand for U.S. coal and oil exports could rise again, that there remains a thin green line of resistance along the ports of the Pacific Northwest. With plans still underway for carbon terminals at Washington ports, we have a real opportunity to literally put ourselves in the way of climate change.
LGBT rights: Trump can’t void marriage equality on his first day as president. But as Buzzfeed reports, he can repeal a wide swath of anti-discrimination protections for LGB and especially T Americans, including federal employees and contractors, public school students, soldiers, and people living in public housing, as well as removing anti-discrimination rules on charities that receive government funding. While Trump himself doesn’t appear particularly queer-phobic, his vice president is an evangelical Christian who believes that queer people fundamentally conflict with God’s order. A big chunk of Trump’s base share that view, and they’ll surely be emboldened by the Donald’s election.
“The current trend is to attack trans people, so I’m sure we’ll see more of that.” So says Danni Askini, director of the Gender Justice League, on the coming age of President Trump, whose election will only embolden bigots who want to repeal legal protections for queer people. Granted, Trump has voiced, at times, more liberal views on LGBT rights than the far-right Republican norm, but that’s cold comfort for activists who see a coalition of evangelitcals jockying to press their case in a Trump-Pence administration. Askini recommends that people who want to get involved volunteer with the opposition campaign, Washington Won’t Discriminate. On a more personal note, says activist and City Hall staffer Jesse Perrin, being an ally can look a lot like just being a good neighbor. “This might sound very generic,” he says, “but ask people in your community what they need,” especially “queer folks of color, queer people who present more feminine, queer women, queers with disabilities.” This can take the form of driving someone to an appointment, helping them pay for groceries, or stepping in when you see hate speech or bashing. “A lot of what queerness is is about not being connected by society,” says Perrin, “so what’s important is making folks feel connected and supported.” If you’ve got money, you can give it to the Gender Justice League, the Northwest Network, the National LGBTQ Task Force, or the National Center for Transgender Equality on their respective websites.
Immigration: Last week, the immigrant-rights group OneAmerica co-hosted a press conference with El Centro de la Raza on Beacon Hill, along with Aneelah Afzali of Washington’s Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The message: We will continue our work; it just might be harder now. “As we brace for an increase in hate, our efforts will not be deterred,” said El Centro de la Raza executive director Estela Ortega. Those wanting to support immigrant and other communities of color in the Puget Sound region could consider volunteering with or financially supporting OneAmerica, El Centro de la Raza, CAIR, or Casa Latina, among many other groups that do everything from helping people secure employment to litigating civil-rights cases. There is also the long-undeterred ACLU: Amid an outpouring of post-Trump support, the organization promises to redouble its efforts to protect young people (the “Dreamers”) who received federal deferred action protection and to oppose any discrimination against Muslims. For those interested in nonviolent direct action, note that the Northwest Detention Center, one of the largest Immigration & Customs Enforcement facilities in the country, is right here in Tacoma; as a result, activism has long brewed around it, including from NWDC Resistance. Pro bono attorneys also work to support detainees through organizations such as the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and Advocates for Immigrants in Detention Northwest, and need volunteers. For something especially concrete you can do today, consider stopping by or donating to AID NW’s Welcome Center, an RV stationed five days a week outside the detention facility in Tacoma, offering snacks, clothing, travel arrangements, and other logistical and emotional support to the recently released.
Public lands: Washington, like most Western states, has a significant amount of land under federal ownership—28.5 percent, to be exact. This network of national parks, forests, and wildlife reserves has worked exceptionally well for those who enjoy recreation in these lands, or those who find intrinsic value in preserving some of the last wild places in the lower 48. It has protected vital habitat for species and some of the last remaining stands of old-growth forest. It hasn’t worked so well for the special interests that would like to extract whatever private pennies they can from these public lands. The latter have gotten behind a Republican effort to transfer some federal parcels of land to states, which generally have weaker protections against selling them off or opening them to exploitation. Remember the Bundys? This is what they want, as do Washington U.S. Reps. Dan Newhouse (a Republican representing Yakima and the Tri-Cities) and Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah). Trump has not taken a clear stance on the issue, but supporters of the effort have met one-on-one with him, and told High Country News that he was receptive to the idea. Bottom line: A few years ago this idea was batshit; now it’s mainstream. Thankfully, groups like the Trust for Public Lands, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, and Conservation Northwest are standing up to them. Get involved if you like public land to stay, well, public.
Nuclear weapons: Few of Trump’s stances have been more alarming that those pertaining to nuclear weapons—stances that can be summed up in one quote: “You want to be unpredictable.” This kind of talk makes the work of the Ground Zero Coalition vital. GZC formed in 1977 to protest the Trident nuclear submarines housed in Hood Canal in the Olympic Peninsula. Today, Naval Base Kitsap houses the largest stockpile of deployed nuclear weapons in the United States. Thankfully, GZC doesn’t let us forget it, staging protests and buying bus ads in Seattle in the hope that we never become complacent in this morbid reality—a reality made all the more morbid by the man who will soon have his finger on the nuclear trigger. Visit gzcenter.org to learn more about how to get involved in their efforts.
We understand this list only scratches the surface of organizing in the age of Trump, but we assure you it’s not our last word on the subject. Along with organizing, Warren’s second prescription to fight Trump’s agenda: Stay in touch with one another. We hope you find a group that represents your views and contact them. But we also ask you to contact us. What issues will you be focused on during the Trump presidency? How do you plan to have your voice heard? We’ll use your feedback to guide our coverage moving forward. The address: