“To Struggle for Justice is to Pray,” wrote Ada María Isasi-Díaz, Mujerista theologian and activist. I have been re-reading Ada’s work this morning for guidance in these times.
I wish Ada were here with us, in (as she so aptly wrote) the “kindom” of God. (See her wonderful chapter, “Solidarity: Love of Neighbor in the 21st Century,” in Lift Every Voice: Constructing Christian Theology from the Underside.
But actually, in her work, she is here, telling us to get up off the couch and do something.
I made a little list of action steps for myself and I am working on them every day. This is by no means exhaustive, but I think if you take some of these actions every day, and add your own, you will find your own energy in the kindom enhanced.
Write to members of Congress
I have a stack of envelopes and a print out of the names and addresses of members of Congress and each day I write five letters (be sure to handwrite them as those kinds of letters get the most attention). I write in a simple and personal style, saying I am a Christian minister and I am concerned about either certain Trump nominees (well, all of them, frankly, but pick one at a time), or investigating Russian interference in our elections, or conflicts of interest by the president-elect or other. Pick an issue. There are plenty. Don’t pile on a whole list of complaints. Politicians are more response to one clear statement.
Can you imagine what would happen if the millions and millions of people who oppose what Trump is doing did that every day? The stacks of mail would pile up and cover the desks and floors and corridors of the House and the Senate. And all those politicians would be very, very concerned. About their own jobs, of course, but that’s the pressure we need.
Postive Tweets to Those Whom Trump Attacks
In the morning, I look for stories of Twitter attacks by Trump and where I can find a way to send a positive Twitter message to the one attacked, I do so with the hashtag #LoveOneAnother. (I didn’t send a positive Tweet to the CIA, however.) Here’s one linked here.
Support and Raise Support for Crucial Organizations We Need Now
Here is a good list of crucial organizations to support yourself (and even $5 helps). I would also add the Southern Poverty Law Center as they have a long and effective history of tracking and countering hate groups. Since neo-Nazis seem to think they won this recent election, SPLC is more crucial than ever. Even if you cannot give or have given, encourage others to support as they are able. I have also volunteered for the local American Civil Liberties Union.
Learn How Moral Leadership Works and Do It
Moral Mondays, the spirit-filled protest movement begun in North Carolina by Rev. William Barber , is now widely credited with ousting Governor Pat McCrory and then protecting the victory (McCrory finally conceded Dec. 5, 2016) in this fall of progressive defeats.
What makes Moral Mondays so successful, in my view, is the power of putting the moral message into grassroots civil disobedience and voter education. This movement has spread to other states and is a model for how we rebuild progressive politics from the grassroots level.
The moral message really matters now in the era of #FakeNews and claims by the Trump campaign that lying doesn’t matter “because there is no such thing as facts.” It is absolutely crucial to call out those kinds of statements as lies and a violation of every (yes, every–don’t be fooled by the lies about Islam) religious and humanist moral code.
In your own social media presence, whatever form it takes, call out the lies (and the lying about lying!) in simple and clear terms. Lying is wrong. Lying about lying is wrong.
In your personal encounters, you need to speak up. Silence is our enemy now. Those we encounter on a daily basis who voted for Trump seem to think the rest of us should just ‘go with it.’ The irony of how they treated President Obama seems completely lost on them.
I won’t go along and I will say, as occasion arises, that I think the election of Trump, and his actions since the election show, that this administration will be a danger to democracy, to racial justice, to the environment, to constitutionally protected freedoms of religion and speech, to the full equality of LGBTQ people, and to the security of the United States.
If I am silent, then I am complicit. And I refuse to be. So I need to speak up and join the struggle.
Ada always said (and wrote) that “la vida es la lucha.” Life is struggle. We need to join the struggle because that is where, in my faith, God and abundant life are to be found.
Don’t Forget to Fiesta!
Ada often chided me that I didn’t fiesta enough. She was right.
You’ve got to party and celebrate life, community, justice and love.
And chase as many squirrels as you can.