Editorial: After a month of political actions and peaceable protests, what comes next in our democracy?
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In last month’s issue, Winged Post provided practical suggestions for those wanting to participate in the planned Women’s Marches across the country on Jan. 21: Arrive early. Follow march organizers’ directions. Wear comfortable shoes. Bring water and snacks.
The weekend protests exceeded the expectations of both city officials and march organizers nationwide, with nearly 100,000 demonstrators in San Francisco alone.
But advocating for change is a marathon, not a sprint.
Since Trump’s recent executive orders, many more citizens have come out to demonstrate discontent with policies, such as the travel ban on seven Muslim majority nations.
The impact of the sweeping immigration ban, which is being contested in the highest courts of the land at the moment, resonates here in Silicon Valley, where the American dream lives large and where the founders of tech companies Google, Yahoo, Reddit, Tesla, Amazon, Ebay and Apple were all born in other countries.
Closer to home, more than 90% of our Harker families contain at least one parent who was born in another country, according to a January Winged Post survey.
What makes America a community is our diversity. Every voice matters. This country—this community—is centered around acceptance of different religions, different races, different backgrounds, different genders, different sexualities.
But don’t expect one march to result in changed laws the next day. Look at the history of protest movements and the commitment they took. The Civil Rights Act passed into law in 1964, a century after the abolition of slavery. The 19th Amendment granted women’s suffrage in 1920, following decades of protest.
Consider a slightly different perspective: that activism is actually promoting solidarity across America.
So, what comes next? Here is a short list of actions you can take right now to help drive change.
Trust, but verify.
Get informed. Do better than “news via Facebook.” Don’t trust everything you read online or everything your friends tell you. Use your Harker brain to find reliable, accurate news sources. We trust New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, and your own Winged Post, to name a few. And here’s a surprise– Teen Vogue has been lots of love from mainstream media for its teen-focused savvy reporting on the political scene.
Speak up, respectfully.
The increased presence of politics in our daily lives is a reality. Even Super Bowl ads were politicized topics of debate.
Having opinions and expressing them is a fundamental right. But it’s not free speech if you’re the only one allowed to speak your mind and be heard respectfully. Peers, friends, and even family members may have political views that differ from your own.
The trick is to make your own opinions heard while remaining civil. Listen to understand, not to attack. Look for common ground. Talk— and keep the dialogue going.
Put your money where your beliefs are.
Use your wallet to amplify your stance. Donations to the ACLU poured in the weekend after the immigration ban was signed. Boycotts by #grabyourwallet put pressure on retailers. Subscriptions to KQED, Mother Jones or the New York Times keep professional journalisms in the fight.
Believe that you can make a difference.
Keep in mind the words of Aziz Anzari: “Change doesn’t come from the President: it comes from angry people.”