Well folks, we’ve made it to a place I honestly thought we’d never see. The 2020 U.S. Presidential election is over. Not just any election, the election. The one that consumed our minds and social media feeds since 2016. The one that has felt more like 40 years in the making instead of four. But we’ve made it to the end, and Joe Biden is our new Presidential-elect along with Kamala Harris, our first female Vice Presidential-elect. Phew!
It felt like we all took a collective exhaling breath on November 7th, as Joe Biden became the winner of the election. We watched as Americans danced in the streets, hugged their loved ones and many of us went to bed with some hope in our hearts. The battle to get Donald Trump out of office that Democrats have been fighting since 2016 seemed to pretty much be over, right? Well, there’s actually a ton of work we still need to do. We need to keep up the momentum of recent movements, and we need to stay politically active.
Here are a few simple things you can do to stay involved in the causes you care about after the election.
Pick a favorite news source, and check it daily.
Reading the news is one of the easiest ways you can make sure you’re staying involved in not only our political climate, but with everything going on in the world. Most of us know this by now, but the news can be extremely sad or overwhelming, and a lot of the time we just don’t feel like checking it.
Take 20 minutes out of your day to do some research and pick a favorite news source that you can take a look at daily. Be honest with yourself - if you don’t like reading in-depth news articles, look for a source that will give you brief summaries of what you need to know in a day. For example, The New York Times can email you a daily round-up of the day’s most prominent articles. Our very own Pramila Baisya has been posting “News You May Have Missed Last Week” articles on The New School’s HerCampus chapter that you can also check out. There are tons of ways to efficiently get your daily news - just make sure you get it in!
Stay up-to-date with local elections.
Just because the Presidential election is over, does not mean that all elections in our country are over. There are very important elections that have yet to take place, and still need recognition. For example, you may have been hearing some talk about Georgia’s Senate Runoff Election.
Georgia will be having 2 separate elections on January 5th, 2021: Jon Ossoff (D) will face David Perdue (R), and Reverend Raphael Warnock (D) will face Kelly Loeffler (R). The winners of this election will determine which political party takes up the majority of the Senate for the next two years. If Democrats Ossoff and Rev. Warnock win, then the Senate will be 50/50 between Democrats and Republicans, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will have the tie breaking vote, which gives Democrats control of the Senate. With that being said, we should be raising awareness for this election because in the end, it does affect all of us. Be sure to spread the word via your social media - you never know, you could have a mutual friend following you who just so happens to know a registered voter in Georgia. Don’t underestimate the power of social media.
To stay on-track with local elections near you, you can go to https://www.headcount.org/state-local-elections/, where they will give you all the info you need.
Continue to educate yourself.
The ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement became extremely prevalent this year, as we continued to lose more Black Americans to unjust, police brutality. This past summer, many of us took to the streets to protest peacefully and demand justice. However, as COVID-19 cases rise, going out and protesting in large groups is becoming even riskier.
A safe way to be a meaningful participant in this movement is to continue to educate yourself on racism in our society via books, informational websites, TV shows, and movies. Abrar Al-Heeti, writer for CNET has compiled a list of movies, TV shows, and books that will help you expand your awareness and education of systemic racism that you can check out here.
You can also make sure that you’re following the official social media accounts and sign up for the official Black Lives Matter newsletter here.
Donate to organizations and support at small businesses - if you can!
2020 has wreaked financial havoc on a lot of us, and many of us are not able to spend a lot of money right now. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you do have a bit to spare, I suggest putting it towards an organization working hard to fight for a cause you care about or shopping at a small, minority-owned business for the holidays.
Think about some of your day-to-day purchases, and consider donating the money you typically would spend on your Starbucks or take-out orders this week. And when it comes to your holiday shopping, consider taking a break from big corporations and buying gifts from small businesses. So many are hurting and need the funds to survive.
Popular giving platform GoFundMe has created a list of the 30 Best Charities to Donate to in the U.S. for 2020, that is filled with charities pertaining to different causes such as COVID-19 support, animal welfare, cancer research, LGBTQ+ support, etc. When we donate to these organizations, we provide them with funds to continue spreading awareness about the causes we care about. 2020 has taken a lot from so many people, if we have the ability to give back, we should.
Last but not least, breathe!
The past 4 years have been filled with so much stress, anxiety and violence surrounding politics within our nation, and I think you’d agree no matter where you lie on the political spectrum. There will never not be work to do, or ways for us to contribute. But at the same time, we must accept there are so many things out of our control. So instead of letting all the stress about the turmoil in our world consume you, take a couple of deep breaths and be grateful for the things you have.
If you’re ever at a loss in terms of what to do or how to help your space seem a little better, just continue to spread love. Try and go about things with kindness in your heart instead of malice, and clarity in your head.