Donald Trump is now president — here are 8 organizing guides that resist his agenda
The Donald Trump era is upon us. After a contentious election and a historically rocky lead-up to inauguration, the 45th president of the United States is officially in office and ready to enact an agenda that promises to upend gains made in civil rights, reproductive justice and immigrant rights, just to name a few areas.
But if this year's mass mobilizations are any indication, Trump and his Cabinet won't have an easy time repealing the rights of millions of Americans.
That's largely due to the unprecedented amount of grassroots organizing that's been taking shape since Trump's election. In communities across the country, millions of people are using whatever tools they have at their disposal to fight back. Sure, plenty are protesting, but many more are getting ready to do the long and thankless work of everyday resistance — and, thanks to the internet and social media, it's become a lot easier to spread that work to the masses.
Below are some tools to help mobilize communities, as well as tips on what to do if your community is targeted by the very policies that Trump has promised to institute while in office.
Here are a few of the best guides to organizing in this new, frightening era.
Written by a group of progressive former congressional staffers, this guide takes the majority of its wisdom from an unlikely source: the Tea Party. "We saw these activists take on a popular president with a mandate for change and a supermajority in Congress," the former staffers wrote about the Tea Party's challenge to President Obama starting in 2009, shortly after he took office. "Their ideas were wrong, cruel and tinged with racism — and they won."
So, taking a page from the Tea Party's playbook, Indivisible offers practical dos and don'ts for people who want to challenge their elected officials. It urges activists to start and focus their efforts locally, because constituents are the people to whom every elected official is responsible.
This is a guide that was put together by Stay Woke — a branch of We, the Protesters, a group led by popular online activists DeRay McKesson and Netta Elzie. It's a working document that lays out essential readings, issue areas and resources.
"The manual will grow over time as more and more people contribute updates, facts and resources to it," McKesson wrote in an email announcing the manual's release. "As such, we encourage you to contribute important information for others to read."
The right to peaceful assembly is a universal promise, but certainly not a guarantee. It's a safe bet to expect civil disobedience to increase during Trump's presidency. Big and small protests have already been happening in cities across the country, and those demonstrations are likely to get bigger and louder as Trump's agenda unfolds in earnest. But the specifics of those protests are often hard to gauge. This guide, provided by the American Civil Liberties Union, helps with the nuts and bolts, such as how to secure permits, what restrictions need to be followed on private property and whether protesters have the right to take photos or videos during demonstrations.
Trump has promised to bring back law and order to America's cities. But for many marginalized communities, that type of speech is just code for allowing law enforcement to wantonly stop, search and possibly arrest black and brown people — concerns for which there's been plenty of precedent.
This is another guide from the ACLU. This one spells out what you have the right to ask and show police. Note that it's never a certainty that those rights will be respected by a law enforcement officer during a confrontation, but this guide outlines your rights so you can at least know which of those rights are being violated and what violations to report later on.
Trump has repeatedly vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which could have dire consequences for millions of Americans. But transgender communities already felt the brunt of those consequences in December, when a federal judge in Texas halted protections for transgender Americans in Obamacare shortly before they were set to go into effect.
While that's one tangible effect of a Trump presidency fundamentally altering what's possible for transgender communities, another will be limiting — or even drawing back — federal protections in housing and employment. Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump's pick for attorney general, has a history of anti-LGBTQ sentiment, including his refusal to sign a voluntary nondiscrimination pledge. He also voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would offer federal protection against gender identity discrimination in the workplace. This guide, again from the ACLU, offers general overviews of what employers can and can't do as it relates to employees' gender identity.
Smartphones have become an indispensable tool for protesters, whether it's used to document police violence or simply challenge the mainstream media's narrative of what's happening on the ground. But technology also leaves protesters vulnerable to government surveillance. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is a nonprofit that focuses on civil liberties and technology, and its guide on digital security for protesters is a must-read. From how to send secure messages to friends to instructions for backing up your data and installing apps with strong encryption software, this guide has what protesters will need to make their voices heard.
It's unclear what, exactly, will become of the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the immigration program he enacted by executive order that helped hundreds of thousands of immigrant young people gain temporary relief from deportation.
Neither Sessions nor Trump's nominee for secretary of Homeland Security, Gen. John Kelly, would say one way or another in their confirmation hearings that participants in the program would not be targeted by immigration officials. And Trump himself vowed to end the program while he was running for office. But, as of now, the program still exists, and is one of the only forms of protection for immigrant youths. The National Immigration Law Center updated their tips on how to apply shortly after Trump was elected.
"Over 700,000 people so far have opted to apply for and received DACA, and many of them have found better paying jobs, gotten driver's licenses, and enjoyed other positive benefits," the group says on its website. "Again, whether to apply for DACA is a personal choice, but here are some of NILC's post-election recommendations."
It's no surprise, given the "build-the-wall-ban-the-Muslims" rhetoric that permeated Trump's campaign, that hate crimes ticked upward after his election. The Council on American-Islamic Relations has a bunch of resources for people who want to report bias incidents, and also makes it easy to report those incidents so that CAIR can keep count of them.