Ways to Give Back After the Election


If you're still feeling hopeless, distraught and all-around confuzzled after this year's election, you're not alone. While I know in my heart of hearts that we're going to be alright, there's still this desire to do more, say more, be more. Over the weekend, I read some poignant words from President Barack Hussein Obama (because I can't say that for much longer, I'm screaming it from the rooftops, full legal name and all)! When asked what he told Sasha and Malia after He Who Shall Not Be Named won the election, this is what he said in The New Yorker:

“What I say to them is that people are complicated,” Obama told me. “Societies and cultures are really complicated … This is not mathematics; this is biology and chemistry. These are living organisms, and it’s messy. And your job as a citizen and as a decent human being is to constantly affirm and lift up and fight for treating people with kindness and respect and understanding. And you should anticipate that at any given moment there’s going to be flare-ups of bigotry that you may have to confront, or may be inside you and you have to vanquish. And it doesn’t stop … You don’t get into a fetal position about it. You don’t start worrying about apocalypse. You say, O.K., where are the places where I can push to keep it moving forward.”

Did y'all hear the man? He said "where are the places where I can push to keep it moving forward." Now, granted, I spent the morning post-election fearing we were about to enter an apocalyptic state, but this is a rallying cry if I've ever heard one.

After my last post, a few of you asked me ways you can give back, especially to marginalized people, and get involved. And, while this list is is no way exhaustive, it lists a few ways you can take a stand in your own backyard:

Volunteer with Girl Scouts: Obviously, I had to put this one on the list. Our motto isn't "building girls of courage, confidence and character" for nothing.

Become a mentor with GirlForward: This Chicago- and Austin-based nonprofit provides opportunities for adolescent refugee girls.

Subscribe to your favorite Black and/or feminist publication: Their voices are needed now more than ever. A few of my favorites include EBONY, Essence, Teen Vogue, Bitch, Chicago Woman and Sesi, a quarterly print magazine for Black teen girls. Full disclosure: I've been freelancing for Sesi for about five years and this publication is exactly what I wish existed when I was growing up. Not into teen mags? Donate a subscription to a girl who could use one because #RepresentationMatters.

Become a mentor with Girls Write Now: So that we can continue to mentor the next generation of women writers and prove to them that their voices matter and they're needed.

Donate to the cause of your choice: Whether it's the YWCA, Planned Parenthood, RAINN, GLAAD or ACLU, nonprofits need your help. No donation is too small and if you can't donate, volunteer. It costs nothing but time.

Like the saying goes, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." And right now, the world goes use a lot more love and way less hate.