Fight The Racists: What steps can we take to prepare for 2020??
By Alexis Alex
As the 2020 draws near and this election cycle begins, we need to prepare ourselves for all of the racism and bigotry that will continue to be unleashed by Trump and the Republicans. I know you are tired of reading a new Trump headline everyday. We are all tired. But the harsh truth is, selling racism works. We have all seen the “Send Her Back” chant video directed at Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN), who is a native of Somalia. This moment put on display the merging of racism and authoritarianism that has defined Trump’s entire political movement since 2016. To top it all off, what makes it worse is when your president decides to openly attack some of the only women in color present in Washington. A national survey conducted by Reuters on Monday and Tuesday after Trump told the lawmakers they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” showed his net approval among members of his Republican Party rose by 5 percentage points to 72%, compared with a similar poll from last week. As a result, we can see that the racist chants and slogans will only grow and continue because this is what excites and empowers his core base. In the midst of the upcoming election season, I know this is all going to feel like an uphill battle. So for anyone out there who identifies themselves as Black, Brown, a person of color, a progressive, or a liberal: How can we fight this??
I have curated a short list of proactive steps you can take in preparation for the 2020 election:
Support the Minority Representatives and Congressmen who have been consistently speaking out against the administration
We all know that Trump thrives on lies. If we continue to throw the truth in his face, he will perish. Therefore, keep supporting the women of color in Washington like “The Squad” (Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (MA) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (MI) and others on social media and public platforms to build their level of support. These women are doing a brave thing by speaking out against the Trump administration knowing that they will get publicly harassed and threatened. As a result, we need to come together and build a united front of support around these women so they can continue to fight for us. The Democrat Party is not giving them the type of support they need, so we all need to step up
After the “Send Her Back” chant, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi poorly came to the defense of the Congresswomen, stating Trump’s words “are disgraceful and disgusting, and those comments are racist,” but she was careful not to label Trump himself a racist. “ This is not the type of leadership we need to combat a wild and bigoted President; the cautious approach Democratic leaders have been taking is quite embarrassing. Either we need to start pressing Speaker Nancy Pelosi to change her approach or pressure the Democrats to change their leadership. The power is still in our hands, we just have to use our voices to force change within the Democratic Party since they rely on our support.
Support Minority Candidate Campaigns
I know, this sounds super generic. But, i'm not talking about just donating money to a campaign or simply voting for a minority candidate. I'm talking volunteering and mobilization. Although the focus is always centered on the Presidential election, local and state elections are more important because these are the politicians that directly govern our communities. For the next wave of Congressional elections, there will be a new slew of Minority candidates running for office and they will need your support. Invest into the candidates that you want to see elected. You can generally sign up to volunteer on a candidate’s website or by making a visit to their campaign office. Talk to the campaign’s volunteer coordinator and find out where they need help. Your options will most likely include: Meeting and informing voters door-to-door , calling potential voters and financial donors, collecting signatures to get a candidate on the ballot, monitoring news coverage of the campaign, attending rallies, parades, and other events with the candidate, posting up yard signs, handing out campaign literature at public events, getting out the vote on election day.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign was a success due to all of the grassroots efforts and local support she received that led her to shockingly defeat an established Democratic incumbent. Think about this the next time you see a minority candidate running in your community, the odds are already stacked against them, so it is up to us to help them get elected. Even if you can't get directly involved, do your best to spread the word: educate your community about your favorite candidate and encourage them to vote. Your future depends on it.
We have all witnessed first hand how quickly our lives can change due to the result of racists being elected to office. But, some of this work we have to place on ourselves. Get out and vote, just do it. For ALL elections: local, state, and national. Too often, we think our votes don't count but in reality, small margins end up determining election winners all the time. So please, go vote and take a few friends with you. Especially as a person of color, we are all under attack, and a vote is one of the only impactful rights we still have to help determine our own fate in this country. Do not waste it.
Finally, the next time you read a new headline about the next ridiculously racist thing Trump has said, remember this list. Remember all of the things you need to do for your community in preparation for 2020 to make sure this does not happen again. Now is not the time to be complacent. We all need to step up!