Throughout last year’s election I made no secret of my impassioned support of Hillary Clinton. I live tweeted to my followers during debates and beyond; I attended her rallies and primary night event in NYC (seen mid-chant at said event above!), bringing my followers along live on Snapchat; and shared I my support of her campaign on Instagram. To me, Hillary wasn’t the lesser of two evils. Rather, I believed, and still believe, that she genuinely loves America and would have been a fantastic President.
But this post isn’t about lamenting her electoral collage loss. Nor is this post isn’t about the fundamental differences between Democratic and Republican views. No, this post is about speaking up for the values I firmly believe in. It’s about voicing and encouraging support for the minorities and communities and a country that have welcomed my husband and I so warmly since we moved to America 16 months ago.
Of course, I understand and accept that as a people we will hold differing political opinions on general issues such as the economy, trade, healthcare, business regulation and so on. That’s normal and a healthy debate on those areas is important and should be encouraged. However, there comes a point that a line is crossed and issues between the political parties go far beyond Partisan differences. A point where decisions made by an administration become an invasion of fundamental human rights. A little over a week into Donald Trump’s presidency and I strongly believe that this line has been crossed. Now, more than ever before, is the time for all of us to do what we can, in any small or large way, to show the administration how important it is to protect the fundamental human rights for all American citizens and beyond – no matter race, creed, sexuality, religion, gender, disability and so on.
I was devastated on election night; sick to the pit my stomach. I still have moments of deep, deep sadness thinking how different things would be had Hillary become president last week. Still, I know that I lead a privileged life and that affords me with a security many others don’t have. The day after the election my husband and I said how we won’t be ‘moving to Canada’ or running away back to the UK. We’re not American by birth but America is now our our home, and we both love this country. We love its citizens who have welcomed us, buoyed us and befriended us. We’re not turning our backs because times have gotten tougher than expected. We will dig in. We will do our part to contribute to the country, and work towards coming together to move forward as best we can.
Recently, someone with a large Instagram following said to me that they were too scared to speak up and share their horror at Donald Trump’s actions for fear of loosing followers and damaging their brand. I was shocked and saddened to hear them say this because I truly believe that as ‘influencers’ we don’t loose our individuality; we don’t loose our personal voice and beliefs for the sake of a ‘brand’ or business. Influencers must not loose sight of what is right and fair simply for the sake of having a sanitized social media feed. I’ve not shied away from sharing my beliefs or voicing my support for minorities (although I know I can always do more; most of us can, probably) on Bright.Bazaar’s social media platforms. During the election, and since, people have asked me why I would risk jeopardizing my brand by speaking openly about political issues, especially as I wasn’t able to vote in this election. The reason is simple: I love America and I will stand up for what I believe is right and fair for all. My hope it that those who wish to work with me will judge me not on the basis of having a sanitized Instagram feed or a social media history that only shares the latest buys, the newest hotels and the highly edited highlights of a privileged life. But rather, I believe – no , I hope – that I will be judged on the quality of my content, my professionalism and my passion and dedication to voicing my opinion and support for others, without fear of jeopardizing my ‘brand’. In my mind, silence is implicit support for Donald Trump’s abhorrent and un-American values. Silence is to deepen the jeopardy of those who need our support the most.
“Never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.” – Hillary Clinton, Nov 8th 2016.
It’s this fine quote from Hillary that I urge you to hold close and strong throughout this current administration. Please, please use your voice for good wherever you can. Whether it’s calling a local representative, canvasing in your nearest swing state, or constructively and positively trying to change hearts and minds of those who follow and respect you online, it can and will make a difference. Let’s stand together; we’re stronger together.
Here’s a list of ways you can help and support the communities that Donald Trump and his administration are threatening. It includes details of where to donate or get involved with not-for-profit organisations and individuals that are helping to support people. Please let me know if you know of anything worthy of adding to it as this is by no means an exhaustive list, and you can always help with smaller activism groups in your local community etc. Thank you!
– Donate to and get involved with Planned Parenthood.
– Become a guardian of liberty by donating to the ACLU.
– Find your local chapter of Black Lives Matter and get involved.
– Support the work of the Human Rights Campaign. You might like to read their guide of what to do if you were inspired by the Women’s March for additional positive next steps.
– Write to your local government representative, be it your mayor, governor, representative or senator telling them what’s important to you as a voter. Why not do so using one of Brooke’s illustrated cards, the proceeds of which are donated to Planned Parenthood.
– For people like me who are foreign nationals, don’t forgot to write to your government representatives and ask them to put pressure on their counterparts in the USA.
– There are lots of local organisations near you that support vulnerable people that need help. Go online to Volunteer Match and find ways to support those in need in your local community.
– Bid on a piece of art from Buy Their Fruits, a nonprofit coalition of female artists in support of women’s reproductive rights.
– Buy (and wear!) a bow tie from Tie The Knot. $20 of every $25 purchase goes to the Tie The Knot foundation, which is working to progress LGBT equality worldwide.
– Keep abreast of current affairs, try to stay informed from multiple news sources. Be involved, give your opinions and speak to people about how you feel; share your personal stories as they are the most powerful things you can say to convince others. Personal stories that individuals can relate to are much more likely to change someone’s perspective so that they move away from bigoted, hateful, racist etc. views.
– Consume news from outlets that you wouldn’t normally turn to. This will help you see other perspectives; you may not agree but I have found that this has helped me understand and speak to people with different views to my own.
– Look at your nearest swing state to see how you can help canvas support and votes for the Democratic Party ahead of the mid terms in two years time.
– Run for office!