How to Channel Your Post-Election Anger, Sadness, and Fear Into Action

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November 9, 2016

The shocking results of Tuesday night’s election have left Hillary Clinton supporters in varying states of despair. Many are filled with sadness, fear, and anger, with little sense of what to do with their emotions. One option? Put those feelings to good use. Below, Slate writers and other staffers offer their suggestions for what voters can do with their post-election anxieties.

If you are worried about reproductive rights:
Support an abortion clinic by donating money, volunteering, or escorting women to clinics.

Reproductive rights will be under dire threat during a Donald Trump presidency, and protesters at clinics will try to make it even more difficult and threatening for people to access necessary health care. Volunteers often escort patients through proselytizing, woman-shaming crowds outside abortion clinics, lending support and courage to people who sometimes don’t have a friend or family member to accompany them. Women of means will always be able to access abortions across state or national borders. Poor women, rural women, and a disproportionate number of women of color will bear the bulk of the burden of an anti-abortion Trump administration.

The National Network of Abortion Funds compiles a list of organizations around the country that offer abortion funding, places to stay, child care, transportation, and other types of logistical support for patients who need it. People committed to reproductive justice can donate money, a couch to sleep on, a meal, a car ride, or a supportive presence at the clinic. —Christina Cauterucci

If you want more women in government:
Support Emily’s List and other groups working to get more women and minorities into office.

Emily’s List‘s vision of a government that reflects the people it serves is noble and needed now more than ever. Women and people of color need a bigger say in the way our nation is governed. Instead of solely focusing on the presidency every four years, those seeking change should put real energy and support behind qualified, diverse candidates at the local level. —Faith Smith

If you’re concerned about the climate:
Change your eating, drinking, and energy consumption habits to live more sustainably.

The climate stakes of last night are so huge as to be almost unfathomable. Hundreds of years, dozens of generations. We can’t get around that fact. The future of humanity—and all the species we share this planet with—is much murkier now than it was 24 hours ago. Yes, we’ll need systemic change to preserve a habitable planet for future generations, but that change begins with small steps in our own daily lives—and Trump can’t keep you from starting that today.Eric Holthaus

If you are a non-Muslim who’s worried about Islamophobia:
Fight misinformation by reading the Quran and learning more about Islam.

Muslims have been here before. We’ve become a very resilient minority group in the wake of 9/11 and America’s never-ending war on terror. Our biggest enemy right now is misinformation, so reading an English translation of the Quran is a good start to understanding your Muslim neighbors. I recommend the Quran translated by the Institute of Islamic Knowledge in Houston. I also recommend Moustafa Bayoumi’s How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America, a collection of short stories on the lives of Arab Americans living in Brooklyn, New York. —Aymann Ismail

If you’re worried about the freedom of the press:
Pay for journalism.

Buy a subscription for yourself and/or for a Trump supporter. The GOP now controls every branch of the federal government, and the president-elect has already declared an intention “to open up libel laws” to make media organizations more vulnerable and “have people sue you like you’ve never got sued before.” If you still believe in checks and balances, it’s time to invest in and fortify the fourth estate. Many of the country’s largest publications subsist on fragile business models that remain overly dependent on advertising revenue or venture capital. Before the internet, people paid for journalism and there were no ad blockers. Yes, journalism deserves some blame for the outcome of this election. But people who don’t pay for journalism shouldn’t feel entitled to simultaneously bemoan paywalls, clickbait, and the decline of shoe-leather reporting. It costs money to publish good journalism that runs counter to the interests of powerful people and institutions. Ask Gawker. —Jeff Friedrich

If you are worried about bridging cultural divides:
Volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

In my experience, making a difference means starting in your own community, your own neighborhood. To that end, I have found that volunteering on a 1:1 basis with Big Brothers Big Sisters has been one of the most rewarding decisions I’ve ever made. That one-on-one relationship, in my opinion, is so crucial as we build real relationships and understanding in our communities, across cultures and invisible divides.

My “little” and I have been matched for almost two years. She is 15, goes to a STEM high school, wants to be an engineer, and is wise beyond her years. This organization is a beacon of light for me when I’m feeling down, selfish with my own time or thoughts, and particularly in this political climate. The mutually beneficial aspect has been surprising to me, and I’m grateful to the organization for having such a strong presence and track record of success. If you find yourself fumbling through the day, I implore you to channel what you might be feeling by checking out Big Brothers Big Sisters and looking into applying to be a youth mentor. —Stephanie Pollok

If you are worried about income inequality and our schools:
Support nonprofit education programs.

Education reform didn’t get anywhere near the attention it deserved in this ridiculous election season. Trump’s stances on the subject thus far have been vague and frequently ill-conceived. Meanwhile, the U.S. education system continues to fail us, and especially fail those who come from low-income families. Not everyone can or should become a teacher, but there are many other ways to make up for our government’s shortcomings, like for example, supporting local nonprofits that directly provide education and programming for kids at high-need schools. (I’m part of a board for an organization that educates kids in performing arts after school, and their school attendance and graduation rates are impressive.) There also may be opportunities to volunteer your time or fundraise for these programs—you can find some through Charity Navigator or by Googling nonprofit expos being held in your community. —Aisha Harris

If you are concerned about immigration:
Volunteer for organizations like these.

It seems very likely that immigrants will suffer a great deal under Trump’s presidency, as he’s already expressed a lot of anti-immigrant sentiment during his campaign. So the time is now to make sure that immigrants are supported adequately and have access to things like legal services, government agencies, schools, housing, health care, and—perhaps most importantly—the knowledge of their own rights.

So what can you do? Donate and volunteer your time to organizations that provide these resources to immigrants. If you know another language, offer to become a translator or a court advocate. Teach a citizenship class, or a conversation class, or offer to become a conversation partner. Become an advocate for workplace justice and the right to a living wage. Figure out what the organization might need or lack, and offer up your skills—it’ll make a difference.

If you’re based in New York City, check out Make the Road NY, which provides resources to immigrants in the form of a community center. Volunteer to be an English conversation partner via Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow in Bushwick. Or figure out how you can volunteer to be a teacher at either Citizenship through English at Long Island City Adult Learning in Queens or Citizenship through English at Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow in Bushwick, Brooklyn. —Jennifer Lai

If you care about hunger and poverty:
Donate to a food bank.

There’s a strong chance that over the next four years, much of the American social safety net will be badly damaged, if not outright shredded. Congressional Republicans have been waiting for the entire Obama era to enact a fairly radical restructuring of American government. They would like to slash taxes, particularly on the wealthy, and slash spending on the poor. House Speaker Paul Ryan has claimed that his proposed reforms to anti-poverty programs “is not a budget-cutting exercise.” But the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes that the latest House budget plan would eliminate $3.7 trillion from programs that benefit low- and moderate-income householdsover a decade. “In 2026,” the think tank notes, “it would cut such programs overall by 42 percent—causing tens of millions of people to lose health coverage and millions to lose basic food or other support.” It’s not a given that President Trump would sign such a plan. But I wouldn’t bet against it.

So, how do you respond? I’d say donate to your city’s food bank, for starters. They have strong infrastructures for delivering help efficiently to people in need, and frankly, getting a family food is often the next best thing to getting them cold hard cash. If you’re worried about people going hungry, make sure they have dinner. —Jordan Weissmann

If you are worried about the future of liberal governance:
Run for local office.

If you are worried about the future of liberal governance and frustrated by the craven centrism of a Democratic Party still in thrall to a discredited brand of liberal capitalism: Run for school board. Run for city council. Get some friends together and put up for local office whichever one of you didn’t get popped for possession in college. From the start, the genius of the conservative movement was to work from the ground up, to put people sympathetic to the cause in local office after local office. That’s partly why even the most optimistic scenarios Tuesday night gave Democrats little chance of seizing control of the country’s statehouses; as a matter of state politics, we are a deeply Republican country. Channel your rage now into changing that. —Tommy Craggs