#DailyResistance: A 2017 Challenge in Taking Action

I’m tired already and it’s only been 2 weeks into 2017. 

President Obama is on his way out. Vice President Biden’s bright eyes will no longer light up my laptop screen unless it’s when I go through all the hilarious memes of him and President Obama’s brolationship.

But in all seriousness, we’re facing some seemingly insurmountable challenges with the incoming administration. Speaking as a progressive feminist and as an Asian-American womxn, I’m fearful of what the next four or more years will hold for myself and my loved ones.  Honestly, there have been a lot of moments when I just wanted to hide under my blankets, laptop fully charged, and stream Broad City until the sun comes up in 2020.

Then I realize, my electricity bill would be out of control and I don’t know what I would do for food.

Really though, there’s a couple other things holding me back from falling into a deep and dark despair.  The main thing is the hope and tenacity I see in a lot of my peers, from those who work with undocumented youth to those who work in the healthcare field.  There exists an incredible amount of energy and almost limitless ways for people to roll up their sleeves and get the work done. 

But with so many opportunities and an onslaught of media coverage about what we can do or what we should do to uphold justice, it seems…daunting.  I mean these are some gut-wrenching questions around what the hell should or could we do because there are too many options and things we care about to even start.

So in 2017, I thought I would keep track of the ways I am doing one of three things:

  1. Resist
  2. Advance
  3. Support

Now these are super broad terms, but what this is getting at is how can we take tangible action that moves beyond ranting on social media.  Because while social media is incredibly useful for spreading information and getting our frustrations out, it often times becomes an echo chamber of our beliefs with like-minded individuals.  And there’s always a need for spaces where we feel like we can be heard and understood. This is not trying to demean the importance of that.  But, what my hope is for practicing #DailyResistance is to move beyond thinking and discussing—to get into the practice of using our voices to stand up for what we believe in.  

And at the end of the year, it will be nice to be able to see what things I’ve personally accomplished, so I can say, “yes, I did what I could to make my community more inclusive and more loving.”  So, it’s a little bit self-congratulatory, but I think I know myself enough to know that I legitimately won’t get anything done if I don’t have some sort of self-induced reward system.  It’s like when I reward myself with a snack for writing a paragraph of an essay. It just gets things done.

But instead of snacks, it’ll be a huge colorful jar where I write on paper the things I’ve done each day to resist, advance, or support justice (as broad of a term as that is).

So, if you’re interested in joining me on my journey of #DailyResistance in 2017, let’s get into the nitty-gritty.

As I’ve said, I’m going to try and do something each day that falls into one of three categories.  I’ll try to flesh out these terms more fully below.

  1. Resist – Resist acts of oppression, both state-sanctioned and personally mediated. Get trained in civil disobedience and nonviolence.  Call out harmful language when you hear it in conversations with friends, family, at work, or in classes.  Attend sit-ins, teach-ins, and protests.  Write to your congress people.  Call for their attention. Boycott corporations that get into shady business dealings or support policies that are harmful.  Let things get uncomfortable and be okay with being the only voice in the room who speaks up because others will follow.
  2. Advance – Advance my own ideas about justice and work on using my voice & being more confident/taking ownership of my beliefs.  This can take the form of writing more blogs for my own site or submitting pieces for alternative media.  Become more aware of how to use my voice and not apologizing for taking up space or speaking out.  Speak on panels or in classes or at meetings and forums.  When possible, uplift others to use their own voice and help advance their ideas too.
  3. Support – Support existing movements and organizations that work to advance justice.  Write about the work they’re doing, donate money when possible, volunteer your time. Call your legislators when they’re doing work you believe in.  Write letters to people and organizations to express your support.  We all need affirmation, but we don’t always express it enough.

These are just some of the things we can do to resist, advance, and support one another in 2017.  Let me know if I’m missing any ideas!  

With all the negativity and very real threats to our civil liberties, doing this challenge will hopefully make me feel a little more in control of my life and my role in everything. 

I’ll be updating with my progress on #DailyResistance —maybe it’ll keep me more accountable if I write about it every week.  

——

My act of #DailyResistance for 1/12/17:

My act of #DailyResistance for 1/13/17:

Happy TunesDay: Collection 44

Today’s TunesDay happens to coincide with election day.  I’m eating my feelings and waiting for the polls to roll in.

Because I’m a little [a lot] overwhelmed with this whole electoral process, I’m copying a portion of a Facebook post I made yesterday about voting.

“Voter intimidation is in full swing already. Discouraging eligible voters is detrimental to the entire democratic process. I don’t care what side of the political divide you’re on. We should all feel safe and proud to vote. If you witness voter intimidation (blocking entrances, photographing voters, displaying weapons, asking voters for “documentation”, and disseminating false information) please call the Election Protection hotline led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law at 866-OUR-VOTE. There is also the Justice Department Voting Rights Hotline at 800-253-3931.

And on a brighter note, poll lines can get long. We all get hungry. Send a photo of the long line you’re in to https://polls.pizza and they’ll send you a pizza to your line!!”

Seriously though, y’all.  We’re in this together.  If you see voter intimidation, please do something about it.  You may not be comfortable intervening directly, especially if people are brandishing weapons and asking people to “prove” their citizenship (this stuff actually happens).  But stay with the person who is being attacked, make sure they feel alright and stay with them in line as they wait to vote, or step aside from the crowd and call the hotline numbers…do something and be safe.  We are counting on you.

With a lot of love and hoping we can continue to pursue freedom for all,
Christina

what if I just broke up with everyone in advance?

In trying to grapple with the reality of the upcoming election next week, I’ve been thinking about larger questions of compromise in politics that are heavily tied to moral and ethical questions. How do we interact with those who disagree with us politically and socially? What topics are we willing to compromise on? And what will it take for us to end relationships over such disagreements? This is just a beginning post, and I have no real answers, just more questions.

It would be easier if I just abstained from talking to people in general.  That way, I could avoid political disagreements altogether.

Politics is such a touchy subject for my generation, and rightfully so.  Because our political standing is so heavily tied to how we view ourselves in moral/ethical terms.  I don’t know if it is the same way in other countries, but in the United States in particular, our political parties like to always claim moral high ground, as if that makes them better politicians.  And some may say that being moral or ethical is a necessity in a politician, while others wouldn’t.

I am of the former group.  While I totally get why politicians should be hardened and steadfast, who’s to say that that makes them better in office?  I am more connected to and inspired by those politicians who believe in racial and gender-based equity, who support the LGBTQ+ community, believe in a safe and steady path to citizenship and don’t think that deportation is an adequate immigration reform policy.

I tie my political standing closely to my own moral or ethical beliefs. It doesn’t make sense to me to not vote my values.  Maybe that’s idealistic or naïve, but I’m fine being associated with those two terms.

I think a lot of people my age do this too.  But, it becomes really difficult to be politically engaged when your political beliefs can’t really be taken away from who you are as a person.

It’s like this.
We’ll say stuff like, “I respect you, but not your choices/decisions/beliefs.”

I don’t remember when I first heard this, but it’s something I constantly hear now whenever I engage with people that have differing political opinions. It’s as if they want to preface their argument with a disclaimer. “I’m about to totally offend you, but no hard feelings because you’re an okay person!”

And while I used to and sometimes still do think that way in certain situations, I think it’s a total cop out.  It makes it easier for us to distance ourselves from an ideology that is offensive or harmful to us.  But, can we really have a relationship of respect with someone who believes in something that is inherently detrimental to our own beliefs or way of life? Now that I’m a little older, I really don’t think we can.

Look. Disagreement is normal. If we all agreed with one another, we’d be living in an apparent utopia (and we’ve all read some sort of dystopian fiction, so we know that shit doesn’t work).
But whenever we say we respect someone, but not their beliefs, it’s not usually a little disagreement over if cake or pie is better (pie is the correct answer).  We’re talking about big issues with real implications on the survival and subsequent thriving of specific groups of people.

When we say things like we respect you, but we disagree with you, it makes us think it’s okay to be friends with people who are homophobic or racist or islamophobic or sexist or bigoted in general, because really, “they’re good people who are misguided/ignorant/misinformed”.

And I’m not saying cutting off ties with those people is easy or is what you should do.

It’s hard, because we all have friends or family who think, say, and act on things we don’t agree with. And I think we’d all end up as hermits in our own isolated caves if we just cut off ties with people who disagreed with us on moral and ethical questions.

But there comes a time when you have to decide how much are you willing to let slide, how much privilege you hold in allowing things to not be bothersome to you, and whether or not your disagreements are theoretical or have actual consequences.

Example? As a cisgendered, heterosexual womxn, I can totally choose to let homophobia run rampant because it’s not something that actively impacts me on a daily basis. I have the privilege of not even being aware of certain things happening in the LGBTQ+ community.  But then, if a close family member says something homophobic, or says that gay people shouldn’t be married, I would probably be like, “hey that’s a damaging thing to say. Why do you think that?”  (okay, I would probably say it with more emotional vigor than that, but you get my point).  What difference would it make if that family member was a distant relative that I rarely saw or spoke with?  Would I be more or less likely to speak up?  And then, what if it was a friend who said it, or even someone I didn’t like much already?

I guess my biggest question is where and how do you draw the line between simple disagreements and topics you consider so important that disagreement results in “damaging” a relationship?  And how do you know whether or not you should end a relationship, or put in the emotional work of doing your best to understand each others’ perspectives so as to have dialogue that can maybe persuade the other person to “being on the right side of history” so to speak.

[About to get on my political soapbox…you have been warned]

Okay.  Truth time.  I have friends and family who support Trump.  On a normal basis, I would be like, “that’s cool. Support politicians who you think have your best interest at heart.”  In millennial speak, “you do you.”

But I’m at this point where I really don’t want people to just have their own interests at heart.  We are not an isolationist nation (although there have been pockets in time when we were…Chinese Exclusion Act, tyvm…)

Think of people outside of your family or friend group–outside of your realm of existence. You’ve already spent the past year of this crazed political race thinking about what your own future would be.  Now think about someone you don’t know, someone you probably will never know.  Think of someone who is of a different racial group, economic class, gender identity, sexuality, ability than you.  Really think of that person in all of their being, as uncomfortable as it might be for you.  What would life be like for them if Trump was elected? If Clinton was elected?  What would our political system look like? What would our America look like?

I know it’s all theoretical and imaginative, but think of the people you claim to respect, despite disagreement.  Would you really be okay with their reality if you continue to believe the things you do, say the things you do, or act on the things you believe in?

Ultimately, this post could go on forever, but I have a lot of breadsticks to eat, so I’ll leave it here.

Have you cut ties with people who disagreed with you? How did you do it and what was the breaking point?  I’d be interested to know if other people feel this same way.

PS: don’t forget to vote if you can. and tweet goodbyes to our bbs Barack & Michelle. xoxo.

Happy TunesDay: Collection 39

I’ve been in Washington DC for a couple days and am leaving today.

Being here in such a politically charged and passionate environment…it’s really a different kind of vibe. I went to Union Pub yesterday to watch the first of the political debates and it was PACKED. I mean, wall to wall, every seat taken, where are all the POC because there’s too many progressive white folk & hyper conservatives vying for breathing room in here, kind of packed.

But, it was really cool in a way, to be in the presence of young (ish) people who are passionate about politics and deeply invested, mostly because that’s their job, but also because it’s their interest.

All I know is that I’ll be back someday soon and hopefully will be just as passionate as I was last night, screaming at the TV screens.

PS: they played the first song from my playlist, FDT, in the pub…hilarity ensued.

PPS: there are expletives thrown here and there in the songs…so slightly NSFW unless you work in a liberal environment or are wearing earbuds.

Lots of love & political passion coming your way,
Christina

Background image from DesignLoveFest.