If you’re anything like me you realize, now more than ever, that perhaps the last thing I need in my world is more stuff.
You know what I DO need? Equal rights. Civil liberties. To feel safe. To BE safe. For those people who have been targeted by hate speech this election cycle to feel (and truly BE) safe. To support those organizations working so hard, every day, to be sure that our rights are not stripped away, one by one.
Dear Santa: All I want for Christmas is for our country to not be blasted back to 1950s America or, worse, 1930s Germany. But how do you ask Santa for that?
It’s a different world, but here’s what I’ve come up with so far: the 2016 Holiday Gift Guide for (Supremely Pissed Off) Nasty Women and Bad Hombres.
GIVE TO ORGANIZATIONS WORKING TO PROTECT OUR PLANET AND OUR PEOPLE: This year, I’ll be asking for donations to be made in my name and will be donating in honor of others to local and national organizations that support those who will find themselves most vulnerable under our new administration. Check out Trump’s first 100 days action plan to see which people and what causes (hint: THE EARTH) are going to need some serious help. A few ideas:
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): My guess is the ACLU is going to be busy over the next four years, protecting the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.
- Southern Poverty Law Center: This organization combats hate, intolerance, and discrimination through education and litigation, particularly focusing on hate crimes and white supremacists.
- Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC): Not only can you donate in honor of someone or give them a membership, but the NRDC also has some great gift options, making this a good option for kids, too. Who doesn’t want to support the bees or the polar bears, right?
- Planned Parenthood (here’s the Indiana/Kentucky chapter, but you can select your own chapter when you donate online): I owe PP a personal thank you for the many years where my full-time jobs didn’t offer me health insurance. An extra fun fact: not only can you donate on behalf of your Great Aunt Tessy, but you can also donate on behalf of someone you don’t even know, like, oh, your women’s rights-attacking governor (*cough cough Mike Pence cough cough*). They will receive a thank you note from the wonderful people at PP. I can’t wait for Governor Pence to get his card from my donation in his name!
- A local organization serving refugees, like Exodus Refugee Immigration in Indianapolis, which is also one of the primary assistance organizations serving Syrian refugees coming to Indiana.
- Any organization, like the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition (ADAC), serving the 581,000 kids who will no longer be protected from deportation under the immigration policy Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama executive order that Trump has stated he will immediately get rid of. These kids deserve our protection, not to live under the constant fear of deportation.
- And now I’m realizing there are too many to list: GLAAD, Lambda Legal, Indiana Transgender Wellness Alliance… So many amazing organizations working so tirelessly. What organization are you excited about donating to this holiday season?
PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR HEART IS: If you are going to buy “stuff” for people (or just stuff in general), consider these ideas:
- Open for Service: A worldwide community of diversity-supporting businesses, churches, organizations, employers, and consumers to celebrate inclusiveness regardless of politics. Sounds good to me!
- Amazon Smile: Anytime you purchase from Amazon, go to smile.amazon.com instead to support a non-profit of your choice. I have a friend who is sticking a note into the gifts of all of her relatives this holiday season, letting them know that their gift also supports Planned Parenthood. 🙂
PAY FOR QUALITY NEWS SOURCES: You know how we’re lamenting “fake” news sources and how awful the media is? You can make an impact by PAYING FOR YOUR NEWS. Subscribe to a newspaper. Support NPR. Journalists who have actual resources behind them are going to become a national treasure. Beyond content, paying for your news also provides money for copy editors and fact checkers; keeps editorial separate from ad revenue; gives resources for in-depth reporting on major issues; and allows papers to hang onto experienced reporters and editors.
- My favorite news sources: The Guardian, Washington Post, New York Times, and Christian Science Monitor. Where do you get your news?
- NPR Membership: I love NPR. I love Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne, I love considering all the things every afternoon, I want to marry both Terry Gross and Ira Glass. I feel like I learn something every time I listen. I’ll be asking for a renewed membership to WFYI, our local station. If you can pay $10 a month for Netflix, you can pay at least that much to support a free press, amiright?
DON’T LEAVE THE KIDS OUT: As the mother of two small boys, I want them to know what it means to be the change they want to see in the world. I want them to know they have a voice and how to use that voice to speak against injustice and hate, every time they see it.
- Expand a child’s library – and mind: Check out the amazing reading list Westories.org offers at the bottom of this page, which gives tips for how to speak to kids about protesting. Particularly beautiful is A Is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara, which my toddler will be getting in his stocking. I’m really hoping he gets I Am Rosa Parks and a few others from the Ordinary People Series by Brad Meltzer.
- Couple one of the NRDC’s Green Gifts with a game or toy. Help your favorite kid Bee a Hero, then bust out a new related game, like Hanna Honeybee by Haba. (My husband asked if anyone has created a global warming/rising sea levels game yet).
- Retool your advent calendar tradition to give back to a local organization: Pick an organization in need of supplies (we’ve picked an organization that serves foster kids). Then each day leading up to Christmas, have your kids pick out one item to put in a box. Each day, you’ll watch the bounty grow. After Christmas, wrap up your box and drop it off at the organization together.
My pledge this holiday season and beyond: do what I can to support those made most vulnerable by this election cycle and current events. I can’t think of a more loving gift than to extend that gift to others.