7 Ways to Fight Injustice During Trump's Presidency

You don't have to give up because Trump won the election

Donald Trump
Donald Trump speaks at his first presidential debate against Hillary Clinton in September 2016. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

For advocates of racial and gender equality, LGBT rights, immigration reform and religious freedom, Donald Trump’s election to the presidency on November 8, 2016 came as a stunning blow. These activists assert that a vote for the real estate mogul-turned-politician signals that a broad swath of Americans support bigotry. After all, Trump has made offensive comments before and during his campaign and has faced lawsuits for racial discrimination and sexual assault. Even Pope Francis criticized Trump for his characterization of undocumented immigrants. So, in response to his winning the presidential race, thousands of protesters took to the streets following the election to express their discontent that a man largely thought of as a xenophobe, misogynist and bigot would occupy the White House.

If you’re saddened that Trump was elected, find your way out of despair by taking the steps below to advocate for justice.

Write to Elected Officials

Identify elected officials in your community whose work you admire. It could be your mayor, congressman, governor or another public servant. Tell these officials why you appreciate their work. Ask how they plan to continue it during Trump’s tenure and what you can do to support their efforts. If your congressman advocates for immigrants and gun control, for example, write him an email, send him a letter and even request a meeting with the official. If you’re member of a group, the politician may agree to meet with all of you.

If you’re not sure what the elected officials in your community have been fighting for and can’t tell from reading their website or recent articles about their work, tell them the issues that concern you. Let them know that you’re a Muslim (or maybe you’re a Sikh often mistaken for a Muslim). What will these elected officials do to keep you safe? Do they have plans to fight against hate crimes? Have they reached out to local mosques, community groups or organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations? What are they doing about voter intimidation, voter disenfranchisement and the long lines people of color disproportionately have to wait in to vote? Hold your elected representatives accountable. Follow them on Twitter or Facebook or sign up for their email newsletters to make it easy to track their work.

Help Vulnerable People Stay Safe

Reports of hate crimes and acts of bigotry circulated widely on social media networks after Trump’s election to the presidency. A journalist for a North Carolina CBS news affiliate reported racist graffiti that said, “Black lives don’t matter and neither does your votes.” The Southern Poverty Law Center reported graffiti that included a swastika and the promise to “Make America White Again,” a tweak of Trump’s campaign motto, “Make America Great Again.” Moreover, Muslim women in hijabs said they were assaulted after Trump’s win, and blacks, Asian Americans and Latinos have reported racial harassment and threats to deport them by Trump supporters. Schoolchildren appear to be particularly vulnerable, with classmates taunting them about Trump’s wall and deportation alike.

With this in mind, find out what you can do to protect minority groups from bigotry during this time. Talk to school officials about their anti-bullying and anti-discrimination policies and make sure they enforce them. Have concerned parents organize to escort children to and from school. The same applies to women in hijabs, men in turbans and others likely to be targets of hate crimes. Inquire about creating a buddy system so that members of these groups don’t have to walk the streets alone if they feel threatened.

Contact mosques and black churches about what you can do to protect them. Organize a fundraiser for security cameras or security guards to protect these places from arson, graffiti and other attacks.

Support Advocacy Groups

Now is the time to identify the advocacy groups that represent your interests. Find out how to get involved and donate your time and money (if possible) to them. If you’re a member of the LGBT community, the Human Rights Campaign or the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network may be of interest to you. Visit the websites of these groups and email the leadership for guidance. If you’re African American, contact a black church, your local chapter of Black Lives Matter or the NAACP. Mexican Americans may want to contact the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and Asian Americans, Asian Americans Advancing Justice. Women might want to support Planned Parenthood and the National Organization for Women.

If you’re already familiar with these groups, consider making a monthly donation to them or to the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents a variety of individuals.

Boycott Trump’s Businesses

During Trump’s presidential campaign, a number of Americans boycotted Trump hotels, casinos, and other properties. Even his daughter Ivanka Trump’s clothing line faced a backlash. The boycotts don’t have to end once Trump takes office. Continue to hit Trump where it hurts—the pocketbook. The $400,000 annual salary he’ll make as president is chump change to him. He will be concerned about his business ventures, even as he turns them over to his children to run.

Hold the Media Accountable

A number of media outlets stopped reporting on a wide range of news during the presidential race. Instead, they resorted to “all Trump, all the time” broadcasts. Write letters to these networks to express your dissatisfaction with their coverage. Write to civil rights groups about organizing boycotts of them. Choose to support networks that don’t feature constant rotations of political pundits, surrogates and the like. You might want to listen to public radio or watch public television channels instead of cable networks for your news or try free streaming networks such as CBSN, which is corporately-owned but lacks the sensationalism of many other news outlets.

Contact networks about their coverage of controversial topics such as immigration reform or the lack of coverage surrounding vice president-elect Mike Pence’s anti-LGBT policies. Let them know it’s unacceptable not to represent people from marginalized groups in their coverage, to have practically all-white newsrooms or no people of color in management. Share the letters you write on social media or create an online petition to allow viewers who share your concerns to take part. The fellow petition signers will amplify your voice.your concerns to take part. The fellow petition signers will amplify your voice.

Keep Protesting

Critics of demonstrators question what good they can do since Trump is already president-elect. The protests allow community members to collectively voice their concerns and let the world know that many Americans oppose Trump’s views, some of which may make it easier for terrorist groups to propagandize globally or even domestically.

Protesting also sends a message to the white supremacists, misogynists, and xenophobes who cheered Trump’s victory that the rest of the country won’t retreat. A protest has already been scheduled for Trump’s inauguration Jan. 20, 7 a.m., at Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. While leaders across party lines have urged the public to view Trump’s presidency as business as usual, social justice activists are determined to show that they will do no such thing.

Talk to Your Bigoted Friends and Family Members

Whites of both genders, all income brackets and education levels overwhelmingly supported Trump, causing the whites who didn’t to express shame after his election win. But shame alone doesn’t help anyone. The time has come to start having difficult conversations with family members about racism, sexism, homophobia and Islamophobia. Considerable numbers of whites don’t view people from marginalized groups as human beings worthy of the same respect as they are. If they recognized the humanity of minority groups, they would have found it difficult to vote for a man endorsed by the KKK and white nationalist groups.

Too often, we’re told to respect differences of opinion, not to discuss uncomfortable topics at the dinner table or to go along to get along. But Trump’s election has real-world consequences for America’s most vulnerable people, some of whom now have to face the possibility that their families may be torn apart by his proposed policies and the actions his running mate has already taken as Indiana’s governor. The Latino children, citizens or not, bullied by their classmates, the LGBT youth now contemplating suicide and the Muslim women too fearful to wear their hijabs in public are all suffering in the days after his win. If progressive whites want to fight injustice now that Trump will be president, they can start by educating their loved ones rather than remaining silent when a relative cracks a racist joke, a friend makes a sweeping generalization or a coworker disparages women. It’s more important than ever not to allow such people to feel emboldened.

It’s time to take a stand and if that means not spending Thanksgiving with bigots or cutting off contact when family members engage in hateful rhetoric, so be it. Some whites are under the illusion that their bigoted relatives are generally good people. Marginalized groups don’t have the luxury of finding the good in those who reject their humanity and elect politicians who do the same.