Despite what DJT would have you believe, the social safety net does not provide the, well, safety that people are often in dire need of receiving. With public schools on the verge of blocked funding in favor of vouchers [this post is being written before the DeVos vote takes place but looks to be leaning in her favor], immigrants on public assistance being threatened, Planned Parenthood’s livelihood on the line, and so much more, it’s time to step up and figure out what to do.

Usually, this is the point that we’d tell you how important it is to call your members of Congress and state legislatures. Don’t get me wrong – that’s critical! Today, however, I’m going to pivot in a different direction.

So many of us have been feeling like crap since November 9, only intensifying after January 20. Anecdotes about lost productivity, increased anxiety and depression, regular sleepless nights have been circling amongst friends and discussed by talking heads. Trust me, I’m with you.

The almost-four-year-old and I have been talking a lot about kindness and the golden

Version 3
My kid’s sign at the Women’s March

rule, and about trying to find solutions when we see problems instead of just complaining about it. This doesn’t just apply in his little worldview – it fits for all of us as well.

So now what?

Your Action of the Day is to figure out what your direct role can be in solving a problem you see. There are a lot of organizations providing social services that are – or are going to be – stretched even further during this Administration. Here are some examples of things you can do to help:

  • Concerned about how defunding public schools will further challenge schools already low on resources? Check with your local schools or district about tutoring, doing a supply drive, helping with a beautification/clean-up project, or ideas they have.
  • Concerned about threats to programs assisting mothers and their children? See what you can do with your local diaper bank, shelter, women’s job training center.
  • Concerned about how immigrants are being treated? See if there are immigrants rights groups in your town with whom you can be trained to work with educating immigrants about their rights, doing outreach to other groups about immigrants, and more.

United Way’s website lists opportunities for volunteering in your local community too. Find something that you can do, whether big or little, that puts some good out in the world and combats the bad, and own it. Tell your friends and family about it. Get them involved. Feel like you are doing something that is actively positive, even if our country looks like a horrible place right now. Those feelings of hopelessness/anger/depression? Obviously, they’re not going to go all the way away; there is still a lot of shit coming out of the White House and Congress right now. But I promise you this is going to help. And if it helps secure some of the people directly under threat by DJT & Friends, that is a huge added bonus.

This weekend, the aforementioned kid and I started making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a neighborhood group that meets twice a month. DC has the highest rate of homelessness in the country, and this is a tiny drop in the bucket of trying to alleviate some of the stress felt by our local shelters. But drops add up, right?

And #fiveminutes add up too. Thanks for helping make a difference with all that you are doing! We’re in this together!