Whew. What. A. Year. As predicted, 2017 was a hot, steaming mess, as the horrific repercussions of electing Trump to our country’s highest office revealed themselves again and again, in ways large and small. To prepare for what we all knew would be a difficult year, I shared my 6 resolutions for resistance in early January in order to hold myself accountable. Well the time has come to review, and before I say goodbye to 2017 and begin to focus on the year ahead, I want to take a moment and compare my resolutions to my actions.
Resolution 1: Educate
I did okay in this arena, as I continued to participate in a social justice book club, reading incredible titles like The Underground Railroad, Homegoing and We Too Sing America. I attended political action trainings put on by Georgia’s WIN List, Georgia Women’s Policy Institute and Planned Parenthood Southeast. I listened to the excellent “Community Conversations” webinars organized by EmbraceRace. But I ended up postponing my subscription to Safety Pin Box after learning the time commitment from a few friends participating in the program. I instead contributed to the Black Women Being fund at various points throughout the year, but hope to be able to be a subscriber to Safety Pin Box or a similar program in the near future.
Resolution 2: Protest
I challenged myself to show up to protests and actions, as I had previously avoided them due to fear and discomfort. I definitely stretched in this area. While my first protest was the massive Women’s March in D.C., all other actions I attended were organized and led by Black and queer activists in Atlanta.
Resolution 3: Donate
I set a goal to increase our personal giving by 10% but ended up donating more than 300% more than we did the previous year. This shift was due to the fact that as a person of affluence, our previous contributions were woefully insufficient. Even though I’ve technically aged out, I became a member of Resource Generation and my Dad and I joined Solidaire, a progressive donor network focused on funding social movements. These two communities educated and challenged me to give more than ever before. We focused our giving on grassroots, movement and capacity building organizations serving Atlanta and the South East, the vast majority of which are led by people of color and queer folks. I also gave directly to people of color via reparation networks for the first time.
Resolution 4: Organize
In 2017, I organized more than I ever have. I helped form a multi-racial coalition of parents at my kids private school focused on equity; I helped organize a multi-racial coalition of neighbors in my predominately white neighborhood working to fight back against racial profiling and racism in our community; I helped organize a women’s political action group that empowers women to educate ourselves and participate in local politics; I continued to help organize a race conscious parent collective. I’m not going to lie, this was a lot to take on in one year.
Resolution 5: Parent
In 2017, I continued to discuss race and racism, sexuality and gender identity with my children, leaning on books and media to guide these conversations. I’m most excited about how much more my 5-year-old was directly involved in actions than years past. He helped me gather donations for the Black Mama Bail out action in May and he came up with the idea to distribute Black Lives Matter signs in our community after a neighbor was racially profiled. I hope to be able to partner with my children even more in this work.
Resolution 6: Connect
Well…I didn’t do great here. I had hoped to prioritize personal well-being, and 2017 proved to be challenging for many reasons. My self-care practice ebbed and flowed, although the later part of the year saw positive strides after I committed to a new fitness program and finally decided to go on anxiety medication. My justice work continued to put strains on family and personal relationships, but while some friendships fell apart, I also made space for wonderful, new friendships and strengthened bonds with many others. I certainly have a lot of room to improve, however, in developing healthier boundaries and prioritizing health, both mental and physical.
Overall, I’m proud of how I conducted myself in 2017 in relation to the goals I set. Self-care will likely always be a challenge for me, as will finding and committing the time to participate in courses such as Safety Pin Box. But I appreciate how stating these intentions at the beginning of the year helped to hold me accountable, even with the unanticipated tragedies and challenges we faced as a country and a community. It’s a practice I plan to continue.
Stay tuned for my 2018 resolutions. I can’t wait to hear yours too!