November 27th, 2016
Contributing writer for Wake Up World
After one of the most shocking presidential elections in recent memory, Americans are taking action. Protests and polarization aside, many among us have deeply considered what truly makes a country great — and are moving forward in positive directions. Within hours of the election results, organizations around the nation were reporting a surge of support, including nonprofits that fight for the environment and human rights, as well as those who help protect the disenfranchised and vulnerable in our society.
But it isn’t just the reality of politics that has sparked people into action. Communities across the U.S. have long been making positive strides towards creating not only a greater nation, but a kinder one too. With all the doom and gloom in the world today, stories of transformative change often go unheard. Until now.
Voting With Your Dollars
Within hours of the election results, the website for National Organization for Women crashed because it couldn’t handle all the traffic. The American Civil Liberties Union site also went down due to overwhelming interest. Nonprofits like the Sierra Club and the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles had a flood of donations as well. And many more causes in “Trump’s Line of Fire” are seeing unprecedented giving by the American people. Not-for-profit Yes! Magazine offers a glimpse into the other side of America that is many times overshadowed by negative news.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that protects civil rights across all 50 states. Within a week of the election, the ACLU received approximately 120,000 donations, which totaled over $7.2 million. Their Facebook page has experienced a 25 percent jump in followers during the same timeframe, now up to around a million.
“This has been the largest single outpouring of support since the ACLU’s founding in 1920, even surpassing a surge of post-9/11 support,” said Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. “Donald Trump will confront the strongest ACLU in the 100-year history of our organization.”
Established to promote dialogue, encourage understanding of Islam and protect the rights of Muslims, the Council of American-Islamic Relations also saw an outpouring of support. Within a few days of the election, over 500 people registered to volunteer, and there was a flood of solidarity through email and social media.
And the Mazzoni Center, an organization formed to support health and wellness for LGBTQ people, has received 291 donations since the election from around the country, as well as internationally. Over 100 people and groups have also offered to volunteer.
“Health care is a fundamental human right, not a privilege,” said Elisabeth Flynn, senior communications manager. She adds that “regardless of any changes President-elect Trump makes to the Affordable Care Act, the Mazzoni Center is committed to providing care to anyone who needs it.”
Women’s Rights and Leadership
As one of the nation’s largest reproductive healthcare providers, Planned Parenthood received a staggering 80,000 post-election donations, which is “unprecedented” — according to President Cecile Richards.
“We will never back down, and we will never stop fighting to ensure that Planned Parenthood patients have access to the care they need, people who come from communities that need our continued support in this new reality — immigrants, people of color, the LGBTQ community, people of faith, and more,” she said.
Likewise, Running Start has seen an impressive flood of support in the days after the election. The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, which encourages young women to run for political office, has seen $12,000 in online donations, from 250 new donors. Social media followers have spiked too. One donation was on behalf of a young girl for her birthday. Another group of women promised to run a marathon and donate the proceeds to the organization.
Vice president Melissa Richmond says that “while Running Start has always believed in this work of preparing and encouraging young women to be involved in politics, it’s heartening that so many others are starting to see the significance of that work.”
“When the nation’s largest environmental protection organization sent an email to potential donors asking for help after Trump’s win, the group saw $110,000 come in over a period of 18 hours — the most ever for an email appeal. By the end of last week, the Sierra Club had added more new monthly donors in the time following the election than in all of last year.” [source]
Adam Beitman, who is part of Sierra Club’s media team, believes people feel that donating to the organization is one way to “fight back against attacks to our environment and democracy”, especially since the Sierra Club is present in every state throughout the country.
“We see no reason to stop being on offense on climate and clean energy,” Beitman said. “We defeated most of the new coal plants proposed during the George W. Bush administration—184 to be exact—with grassroots power. We can and will do similar work under the Trump administration.”
Founded to help protect immigrant families, the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), received more than 200 donations in the days following the election. A filmmaker and an apparel company also contacted CHIRLA with proposals to partner on a project. And many offered to volunteer their time. With this election, Director of Communications Jorge-Mario Cabrera believes it has brought about a “tectonic shift in society,” these actions signify a “beautiful, beautiful blessing.”
Generosity and Community Spirit
It’s not only donations that are making a difference in the United States, plenty of creative individuals are taking positive steps towards creating communities we can be proud of. Take the seven-acre food forest in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, which is a grassroots approach to food security. Or the Great Seed Bomb, the brainchild of Jill Jordan who was “tired of hearing about the frightening state of pollinators — and decided to do something about it.” Then we have organizations like Housing First, which has decreased the number of homeless in Salt Lake City, Utah by an extraordinary 72% — chiefly by providing permanent free housing.
Americans have always had an innovative, can-do attitude — and our post-election weeks and months are no exception. Now more than ever, people are banding together to not only create great communities, but a nation that’s kind to all people and the environment too.
About the author:
Carolanne Wright enthusiastically believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, Carolanne has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of organic living, gratefulness and joyful orientation for over 13 years.
Through her website Thrive-Living.net, she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people from around the world who share a similar vision. You can also follow Carolanne on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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