Protests are important, but lots of people can’t participate for a variety of reasons. Here are 6 alternatives to attending a protest so you can be heard.
by Anni Irish
As thousands of people get ready to descend on Washington, D.C., for the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to another, others are gearing up to protest. Many will take D.C. by storm this coming Saturday to participate in the much-publicized Women’s March. Although this is an historic event that will raise the profile of a host of issues, there are certain people who will not be able to join.
While protests have served as an important way for individuals to express their views and to band together around common causes throughout American history, protests can also be a very stressful situation for individuals who suffer from anxiety, PTSD, people who are naturally shy or introverted and folks who are not physically able to participate. Even if you aren’t going to a protest on Saturday, there are other great ways you can be involved:
1. Donate money
Many people underestimate how far their money actually goes. Consider some of the causes that people are protesting for on Saturday — such as LBGTQ rights, reproductive rights and human rights — and donate to organizations that are active in these areas! Organizations such as Planned Parenthood, Amnesty International, Human Rights Campaign, National Organization Against Domestic Violence, Southern Poverty Law Center and the ACLU.
2. Organize locally.
If you want to be part of rallies that are occurring locally, there are many events scheduled across the country you can attend. Check your newspaper (or look on Facebook) to see the of events happening near you. Information about sister events for the March can be found here.
3. Buy items whose proceeds support larger causes.
This can be as simple as setting your Amazon account to donate a portion of the money you spend to a cause of your choice. This is called Amazon Smile. You can also buy various items, such as this tote bag which is in high demand to help support Planned Parenthood. You can also purchase items directly from the march’s website and all proceeds go directly back to their cause.
4. Be active in your community and give back.
While Saturday is the big day for many of these events taking place, the work does not stop there. It’s important to continue to fight for these causes on a daily basis. Consider volunteering at an organization that supports the causes you believe in.
5. Call your local officials.
With elected legislators on Capitol Hill gaining momentum to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare), limiting reproductive rights and access to life-saving health care, it is now more important than ever to contact your local officials. This can be in the form of a phone call, letter or email, but reach out and voice your concerns! To find out who your local officials are, click here.
6. Get your friends involved, regardless of gender.
Across the board, many of the issues people are organizing for this coming weekend affect all of us. Enlist all of your friends to help with these causes. Collect signatures for petitions, organize events to educate people, hold a letter-writing campaign. No mater how you choose to bring attention to these issues, you are still helping get the word out!
There are many ways to organize, be active and participate in events that don’t just involve protesting. Taking part in the events of this coming weekend will help let other people know what injustices we face collectively as a society and will hopefully inspire others to be involved. By calling your local representatives, writing a letter, volunteering or donating to a cause that is important to you, this is not only giving back but it is also bringing attention to larger injustices that are occurring and is helping to make a change.
Anni Irish is a Brooklyn, New York-based writer, editor and cultural critic whose work has been featured in Timeout New York, Bomb Magazine, Flavorwire and VICE. When she’s not writing, Anni enjoys spending time with her pet mini lop rabbit Isabella. Find out more on Twitter and her website.