I realize I’m a solid four days late for a New Years post, but 2016 continued to be a soul-sucker until the bitter end, am I right?! Goodness me, I seriously cannot remember ever wanting a year to end as much as I did 2016. I needed the last few days to be with friends and family and recover. Goodbye and good riddance 2016. I will not remember you fondly.
Finally, 2017 is upon us, although I know a tough year lays ahead. Traditionally, a New Year presents an opportunity for renewal: renewed energy, renewed commitments, renewed focus. As I think toward the coming year, the word “resistance” keeps coming to mind.
Trump and his incoming administration seek to roll back much of the social and political progress our country has made over the past several decades. Resistance is mandatory to stop the rise of fascism. Resistance is necessary to combat the legislative attack on women’s reproductive rights. Resistance is necessary against the ignited neo-nazi and white supremacist movements. Resistance toward police brutality, anti-LGBTQ legislation, our unjust criminal justice system and so much more is necessary.
There is much work to be done. This is everyone’s fight. Everyone must be prepared to resist, although that resistance will look differently for each of us as will our focus.
Here are my top 6 resolutions for resistance in 2017:
Educate – First and foremost, I pledge to challenge myself through continued education, in various forms. I will continue to participate in a social justice book club, which has been incredibly transformative as well as a great way to build community. We are currently reading White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of our Racial Divide.
My friend and I just signed up for Safety Pin Box, a project created by Black femme activists’ Leslie Mac and Marissa Jenae Johnson. Safety Pin Box is a monthly subscription box designed specifically for white people, such as myself, who want to join or deepen their involvement in the fight for Black Liberation through measurable tasks. I’m excited to learn while supporting a Black, female-owned business at the same time.
I will also continue to seek out alternative news sources in order to stay up to date on racial and social justice issues (while making sure to fact-check ).
Protest – I pledge to physically show up and participate in protests on behalf of Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ rights, women’s and reproductive rights, indigenous rights, environmental justice and other causes that matter deeply to me. I am, by nature, a worry-wart and rule follower, so I have never gravitated towards civil disobedience or public displays of resistance. In 2017, however, I’m going to push myself to prioritize showing up when possible and to bring my kids to family friendly actions. On deck: the Women’s March in Washington, D.C.
Donate – As a person with class privilege, I pledge to increase my personal giving by 10% in 2017. I plan on donating the bulk of those funds to local, grassroots organizations that support racial and social justice movement building. Donating to national organizations is important, to be sure, but I am committed to focusing on the efforts happening in my local community in order to maximize impact.
Organize – In 2016, I participated in grassroots organizing for the first time in my life. To start, this looked like hosting Raising Race Conscious Children webinars in my home for small groups. Then, I partnered with a local feminist non-profit, Charis Books & More to form a Race Conscious Parent Collective.
The collective will continue in 2017. I’m currently helping to design a multi-racial play/action group for Atlanta area families along with a few other mothers. More details on this are forthcoming, but I’m very excited about the project!
Parent – I pledge to raise my children to understand race, gender, sexuality in the context of science and our society. I pledge to continue to diversify the books and toys my children engage with as well as make sure our family is continuously exposed to the beautiful diversity present in our city.
At the end of 2016, I spoke with both of my children’s schools about curriculum and how race, gender and family structures are addressed in the classroom. I pledge to continue these conversations into the New Year and stay curious about how we can be more inclusive in our schools.
Connect – In 2016, I underwent a pretty radical transformation. Even though I had been writing and reflecting about parenting and privilege starting in 2015, last year I increased the amount of time and energy I spent on social justice considerably.
My friendships and community shifted and adjusted as I forged this new path in my life. I felt incredibly isolated and experienced a pretty dramatic spike in anxiety. I’ve realized I cannot be effective or have longevity in activism without a solid support system in place. Thus, joy and connection are top priorities in 2017. I pledge to nourish myself, physically and mentally, through laughter and levity, exercise and eating well, and being present for and with loved ones.
2017 is going to be an important year for resistance. Perhaps I’m naive (I often am), but I feel hopeful. Hope for the future and for the prospect for change propel me to act. There are countless examples of sustained resistance by seasoned organizers that greatly inspire me. There are also so many new folks who have never participated in politics or resistance movements and are finding their sea legs. Their energy and passion inspire me too.
Action and hope go hand in hand; one can not exist without the other. I believe change is possible, but I must be willing and able to challenge the status quo, and not just in January. My commitments must last all twelve months of this year and well into the future. My resistance will not be fleeting.
How do you plan to resist in 2017?