Beyond the March: 5 Ways to Get Involved and Take Action

For many, this past weekend served as a platform for change, collective action and an examination of our own contributions to the social causes and issues we care about. Whether you participated in Inauguration Day events or the Women's March on Washington (and its sister protests), you might be searching for next steps. At #bossbabesATX, we believe activism/feminism requires a long-term commitment—one that is intersectional, impactful and strategic.

Here are a few ways you can integrate (or continue implementing) political activism in your day-to-day life:

1. Show up for your community.

No matter where you live, you are likely surrounded by activists, organizers and (to be quite honest) hard-working badasses who have been hustling since the beginning of time to make the world a better place. Plug into these movements. Go to meetings. Sign up for their emails. Volunteer your time. Donate your money. Here's a brief a list of nonprofits to work with (there are MANY more; you can use VolunteerMatch to find a nonprofit that works for you):

CounterBalance ATX

YWCA ATX

#BlackLivesMatterAustin

Girls Empowerment Network

Justice for Our Neighbors — Austin

Annie's List TX

The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

Planned Parenthood

Equality Texas

All Go Texas

SAFE

Austin Voices for Education and Youth

Texas Freedom Network

#HappyPeriodAustin

Deeds Not Words

Austin Justice Coalition

If you'd like to participate in discussions about social action in Austin, please join us at our Community Caucus on Feb. 9. This event will serve as a platform for ideas and solutions from local nonprofits, activists and organizers; many of the organizations we have listed will be present.

2. Do the work.

Research bills. Call your reps. Write letters. Vote. Unfortunately, this information doesn't live in one place, and it will require some active investigation on your part. Read updates from your local news; pay attention to the communications sent by nonprofit resources you respect. Identify your representatives (you can use this tool if you live in Austin, Texas).

If you attended the Women's March, they are releasing 10 steps to over the next 100 days. They've already released the first—post-card writing to our Senators. A few women in the #bossbabesATX community have organized events for this first step. Check out these three: Postcard Party!Postcard Writing Happy Hour and Political Postcard and Drinking Activism.

*we are not facilitating or hosting the aforementioned events.

3. Run for local government. You seriously can.

If this sounds like a big step, get involved with your local commissions first. Commissioners advocate for the community's needs and push for attention on issues they deem important. For example, the Austin's Commission for Women worked for years with local nonprofits to secure the funding necessary to test our crime lab's rape kit backlog and they only recently succeeded. PS: There is currently an opening for a new commissioner at the Austin's Commission for Women; you can find more details on their website/Facebook. You can find information on other commissions here.

4. Be strategic.

Impactful political action is not a one-babe show. Get involved with organizations that have both structure and identifiable goals (many of the ones we have listed have been around for decades and continue to prove their effectiveness). Be as efficient as possible with your time, and use your skills wisely. Many organizations need help with administrative tasks, graphic design, event planning and production, etc; reach out if you're skilled in these areas. It's important to maximize the quality of your contributions.

5. Practice empathy and rest.

It's easy to burn out and/or turn off when members of a movement offend you. If you are going to make a real difference, you need to be prepared for some ruffled feathers. You are likely not as inclusive as you'd like to be. You might be contributing to oppressive systems. You might hurt others while you're trying to help. You are not a perfect person, and you will have setbacks. Do not be discouraged. Continue to expand your understanding of the problems at hand, apologize when necessary and listen to/direct others to people who know more than you about certain issues (especially if you're white, abled and/or cisgender); it's OK to not have the answers. Inclusive social action is important; we suggest this reading list to broaden your perspectives; you can even join our book club to discuss a few. We are all learning.

You can do it, babe. We believe in you.

To keep up with #bossbabesATX, we suggest checking out our event calendar.

Jane Claire HerveyComment