When I was growing up, I was a feminist before I even knew what a feminist was. I grew up in a household where my parents were even partners in everything. However, my mom made more money than my dad and my dad was the one who would cook and do the weekly grocery shop. I thought this was normal, until I started spending time at my friends houses and saw their family structure. I have to point out that feminism is about having the choice between being a stay at home mom or being a doctor. My mom actually was able to do both when my brother and I were growing up. When my mom decided to be a stay at home mom to spend more time with the kids, my dad immediately took on the financial responsibilities. When my mom wanted to go back to work, my dad stepped aside to allow my mom make the big bucks again. I have to give my dad a lot of credit for not letting social norms affecting how they created their family structure.
In college, I took a lot of classes about families and the women’s movement. Taking these classes it was a big wake up call. I was so blessed to grow up in a house where I believed I could do anything I wanted. My mom was involved in the Vietnam protests and the Women’s Movement in the 1970s. I thought the fight was won. Until this years election season, I realized how much more of a fight we have to win.
The last few weeks, I have seen posts on social media from friends and strangers marching in the streets, sharing “alternative facts” on their newsfeeds, and a want to spark some change in the world. I thought I would dedicate this post to how you can get involved. If you don’t have any money to donate, don’t worry!! You can still get involved. In school we learned about Susan B. Anthony, Gloria Steinem (If you don’t know who this is, get informed because she is my idol!), Betty Friedan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Hilary Clinton and now we have Elizabeth Warren.
If you have this spark in you and you want to get involved in the movement, here are some steps you can take.
Right now Planned Parenthood is at risk for losing its funding. A big misconception is that Planned Parenthood only performs abortions. That is not correct, it is a facility that focuses on women’s health and they also accept men patients. Planned Parenthood performs cancer screenings and is a safe and comfortable place for teens to learn about sex and sex health for the first time. In high school, no one wants to ask a parent to take them to their pediatrician to get birth control. Right now there are marches to raise awareness and ways to volunteer your time at a PP. My family and I are currently members of Planned Parenthood. Luckily, I have not needed services from Planned Parenthood because I can afford a gynecologist and birth control with my health insurance, but other girls are not that lucky. My parents are afraid for the day that I may not have access to women’s health services. And just some insight to how desperately we need more women’s health doctors, I had to wait two months for an appointment to see a gynecologist. Planned Parenthood is needed more than ever. You can find out how to get involved HERE.
I studied immigration in college and quickly learned we do not have a modern day Elis Island for people to come through to come into this country legally. It is very long process that requires lawyers and big money to come into this country legally. There are a lot of bad people out there, so many people just take their money and never get them visas or citizenship because there is no legal penalty. In high school, one summer I interned for my Congressman and I got to see firsthand how difficult it is to get paperwork completed to become a US Citizen. The Congressman I interned for often helped paperwork get authorized and shuffled along, instead of just sitting on someones desk. The more I studied this topic, the more I realized how immigration impacts families. There are a lot of nonprofits across America that help illegal and legal citizens transition into America. Often non-profit organizations are the only people that work to fight for the rights of the latino-immigrant community. Juntos is an organization in Philadelphia that does just that. Use Google and find one in your area to get involved in. Right now the hot topic is Muslim Immigration. Donating to ACLU is obviously a way to get involved, but try to find more local organizations that are helping Muslims in your community. If you are not a lawyer but want to get involved in defending the rights of Muslims entering America, you can intern or volunteer your time at a law office that does. A lot of lawyers are doing these cases pro-bono and could use all of the resources and help they can get.
One of the hardest parts about the election that I could not shake off, was how a certain candidate was recorded about touching female genitalia and received very little consequence. He brushed it off as locker room talk, and people laughed and said that he was just joking. Admitting about forcing yourself onto someone is not just joking around with friends. I don’t know if it was the college I went to or the people I surrounded myself with, but I never heard a guy brag about how he was or how he raped a girl. On college campuses across the country, schools continue to suppress the data on sexual assaults on campuses to protect the schools image. It is primarily a student led effort to create consequences for students who rape as well as consequences for the school faculty who try to cover it up. Brock Turner comes to mind when we talk about sexual assault with young adults. He was an athlete, so his father and lawyer pleaded with the court system to not give him a long sentence because of the impact it would have on him. Going to jail for a crime he committed would ruin his life. However, in all of the news we forgot about the girl who now has to live with that memory forever. There are ways to get involved on college campuses to fight the ignoring of sexual assault. I know guys look at my butt when I walk by, but we can change the way guys talk about what they want to do with us. The next time you hear someone say something about a women, call them out on it. Don’t let this behavior become the norm, even if a POTUS acts in that way. Check out Joe Biden’s initiative to stop sexual assault here.
One of the biggest ways you can get involved is at the local level. On election night, I actually spent the evening with my Congressman. When I looked at the table over, I know he is fighting for the issues I care about. How well do you know your Congressman? If your Congressman has stood silent as POTUS allows his executive orders dictate how America does things and you do not agree… I have good news for you. You have more power than them. In two years it is election season and seats in the Senate and Congress are up for reelection. Your vote counts. But to get the candidate you want, who is going to fight for what you want in America, it takes hours of work and hundreds of volunteers to get them into office. For right now, you can still get your voice heard. Send a letter, give them a call and let them know how you as a constituent feel about an issue. Politicians want to do good, but they also want to be reelected.
Okay, now that we have Betsy we are unsure what the future of public schools will look like in America. While everyone has been sharing their memes and articles on social media, there is another way to get involved. The Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA’s have mentor programs and ways to get involved with the kids who need it most. While in college, I volunteered my time tutoring elementary school kids and I can promise you that they taught me more than I taught them. It was a life changing experience I will never be able to forget. Find an afterschool care program in your area, and become a mentor.
We are running out of fresh water in America. In this country, we have a water crisis in Flint Michigan and a drought in California. Right now the EPA is stripping away regulations to help corporations make more money instead of protecting our natural resources. Call your Congressman and Senator and let them know that you want to protect our planet.
Get a Subscription to The New York Times
Our current POTUS keeps calling The New York Times “fake news”, however subscriptions to The New York Times are booming. You can support journalists and the newspaper by subscribing to it or just get the Sunday edition. If you are poor and cannot afford it, be sure to Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. I start each morning reading the news to make sure I stay informed.
Be A Smart Consumer
Did you know that Wells Fargo Bank is heavily invested in the Dakota Pipe Line? Do you know where your money is going? The CEO of Under Armour is a big fan of POTUS and praises him. Right now Under Armour stock is going down because of its ties to POTUS. POTUS took a hit on Twitter at Nordstrom and now their stock and sales are going up. Just like how PETA raised awareness the consequences of wearing fur, so we stopped buying it to save the animals, we can make sure our money does not get in the hands of bad people. The New York Times is doing a great job of investigating companies ties to lobbyists and laws being made.
I know the news is scary lately and it all seems to be so negative. I hear people saying they no longer watch it because it is too difficult to see. However, being silent and allowing these things to happen in our country makes us just as guilty. Get involved! It will make the next four years go by quickly!