I know last week I said that I was starting a weekly feature, inspired by Samwise Gamgee, about things that are good in this world, but it's been a hell of a week.
This week, I'm going to focus on actionable things that we can do right now to help in some way. One of the leading causes of the despair I've been feeling is that I don't think I have any power to stop injustices from happening or cause any kind of meaningful change. While that's true in a sense, there are things that we can do to make a difference.
These actions might be small. They might seem like a drop in the bucket, but many drops make an ocean, and- Okay, inspirational platitudes don't really do much for me, so let's get to the good stuff.
We can donate to organizations like RAICES, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services. They've received close to twenty million dollars in donations over the past few days, but it's still not enough for the work ahead of them, which includes providing legal services for immigrants and refugees. You can make a general donation to the organization, or you can give directly to their Family Reunification and Bond Fund.
We can keep the pressure on our representatives. After days of the Trump administration alternately denying that family separation was happening, insisting that it was biblically justified, and blaming it on Democrats, Trump signed an Executive Order. It ostensibly ends family separation at the border, but is really little more than political theater. It also essentially lays out a blueprint for internment camps. The zero tolerance policy that led to this nightmare is still in place, even though 8 U.S. Code § 1158 - Asylum states that "aliens" (their words) may apply for asylum "whether or not at a designated port of arrival." Ugh. Look. it's a whole thing, and I'm getting off topic. Trump's Executive Order doesn't really solve anything, and might just end up replacing one evil with another, if it even holds up to challenges in court. But he only signed it in the first place because of the intense political pressure both from media coverage of the crisis and from people like you and me contacting their representatives in Congress and asking and telling them to do something about this. And, okay, they might not care what you think, and they might not be willing to stand up to Trump or take a day off from gutting Medicare and Medicaid, but at the very least we can make it impossible for them to honestly say that nobody has contacted them about these issues.
You can use the tools provided at the Senate and House of Representatives' respective websites to find your congresspeople. Call. E-mail. Use the contact forms on their websites. Write physical letters. Call. Especially call. Do it again. Then do it again. If you're calling, it can help to have a script or notes ready, especially if you have social anxiety. It's best if you write it yourself, so they're not hearing the same script over and over again. Just make sure you're as informed as you can be about the topic, and organize your thoughts. It doesn't have to be perfect. Just let them know how you're feeling, what you're concerned about, and what you'd like them to do.
And vote. Vote whenever you can. Make sure you're registered. There's no time like the present. In many states, including Ohio, you can now register to vote online. Or visit your local library. Check out a book and some Summer jams while you're there.
Now I'm going get some exercise doing yardwork and maybe trembling in ball form.