Getting Involved

In the wake of last week’s election results here in the United States, we’ve covered a few ways to help take care of ourselves through self-care, reading, and cooking. We hope it’s helped some of you, but once we’ve gotten past the initial shock, many of you are wondering how to help take care of others.

First, we want to thank Reader PamG for this wonderful idea of listing resources for those looking to become more involved in politics or within their communities:

Can you do another post about ways to get involved? Ask for ideas from the enthusiastically political of the Bitchery? I’d like to see suggestions for people like me as well as others with limiting circumstances to find ways of working for positive change that they can fit into their busy and stressed out lives.

Here are a few suggestions from us at the Bitchery, but as always, we’d love to hear your thoughts as well.

Amanda: I found this resource floating around on Facebook and it’s still being updated.

It’s a list of ways to prepare for January, organized by demographic issue. So if you’re worried about certain rights of yours going away, this list may help you prepare to combat that.

There’s also Volunteer Match, which is a great search engine to find causes in your area to help out.

If you’re wondering about how to get issues front and center to your representatives, this tweet thread was extremely helpful to me. In short, emails and letters are nice, but they get weeded through because of the sheer volume. To really make a statement to your reps and to be sure you’re noticed, phone calls are the way to go. Which I know is a little disheartening to hear, because I’m sure like me, many of you have anxiety about phone calls. But this is just an FYI.

CarrieS: First of all, I second volunteer match. It’s a great resource. You can pick your cause, and the causes are varied, and find something local to you (or, if you want to travel, something far away).

Second of all, volunteering is kind of like exercising – we start off with grand ambitions but the bottom line is it’s better to do a little than none at all. I used to volunteer at least 20 hours a week. Now my situation has changed and I volunteer a few hours a month. That’s OK. Something is always better than nothing.

Climate Change:

Here’s a link to organizations that work with climate change prevention. Some need donations, some volunteers, some both.

Libraries and Literacy:

Check to see if your local library could use volunteers. some libraries use volunteers directly. Others have associated groups (In Sacramento it’s called The Friends of the Library) who raise money for the library. Our group funds some additions to the book collection, also special materials like toys for the children’s area and a DVD player for the Classic movie series. We also fund library programs. So see if your local library has something similar.

Schools already have to ask parents to provide supplies, and by supplies I don’t mean fancy stuff, I mean paper and pencils. You can donate money to a school, or a Costco card, or all the old pencils in your desk drawer. Most schools also love volunteers. Walk over to your local school and ask them – do be prepared to go through some kind of background check if you are volunteering.

Reproductive Rights and Health:

Planned Parenthood link will steer you to local volunteer opportunities. If you’d rather donate money, or both, it shows you how to do that, too.


This link has a long list of incredible organizations that can use donations and, in many cases, volunteers.

If you click on the link and scroll through the comments there are even more. They cover issues including child welfare, poverty, anti-bigotry, support of immigrants and immigrant rights, environmental issues, education, and health.

RHG: So here’s the dirty truth of politics: Local politics affects your day-to-day life way more than national. That’s not to say that the national politics aren’t important, but the local shit is the details, and the devil is in the details.

So get involved! Find out who your local representatives are (state and town), introduce yourself, tell them what is important to you. Find out if they need volunteers. Volunteer on a campaign. Go to town meetings. Make a nuisance of yourself and make what you want and need heard. You will not win all the time, but you can make sure people in power know what you care about.

And volunteering on campaigns is fun! You get to meet people, talk to them about what they find important, and eat a LOT of pizza.

If you have time and the fortitude, Planned Parenthood needs Clinic Escorts, people to help patients walk past protesters when they have appointments. This will only get more and more stressful in the coming years.

Emily’s List is a organization that supports female political candidates. We need more talent coming up the ranks, and we need to support them so they can keep going up and up and up.

Look for places in your area where the arts need support – in Massachusetts we have MassCreative, which supports art projects and advocates for funding for the arts. Your state probably has something similar. Art is vital in dark times, and is one of those things that gets cut first.

Other areas that will need all the help they can get: Criminal Justice reform, especially juvenile justice. The Innocence Project. Homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, GLBT Youth shelters (especially those. I have a friend who works at the Youth on Fire drop in center in Boston, and she are her staff are petrified about what the future holds for their kids and others like them)

Finally, and this is VITAL: get a newspaper subscription. Turn off your adblocker when going to news sites. They cannot keep reporting without revenue. Donate to your local NPR station. There are PROBLEMS with the media, I know, but they are one of the few ways we can hold the government accountable for what they do.

(Sarah: And, if I might be uncool for a moment, you can turn off your ad blocker when at SBTB, too – that’s how we pay the bills, too.)

Sarah: If you’re a member of a church, synagogue, mosque, or other center of worship, there are probably forty-sixteen-thousand opportunities among the congregants to connect with groups that need volunteers.

We just recently joined our congregation, but I know about the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington through the involvement of other members, and there are other opportunities to help the local community, especially in unifying diverse religious groups.

And I second RHG’s point about local government. I will tell you, I want a sidewalk OR a crosswalk OR both near my home, and in order to figure out who to ask, I had to learn about county government (vs. township government, which is what we had in New Jersey) and who does what. Even if you don’t have an issue to address, learning who represents you and what the different individuals do is crucial.

Also, don’t underestimate your computer skills. If you’re good at coding, designing, anything involving computers and technology, you can offer your time and skills to help a local organization. Heck, even if you’re really good at data entry (*raises hand*) your skills are needed.

Carrie is right that a little time is always helpful, especially if you apply it in a direction that’s meaningful to you.

Most of all, I want to remind myself of something my former senator, Cory Booker, has said repeatedly: Never let your inability to do everything undermine your determination to do something.

We hope this has been a helpful resource, but please tell us your own suggestions. There’s no such thing as too much information about this sort of stuff. 

Comments are Closed

  1. If you’re in Florida, local United Way organizations sponsor Reading Pals, where youngsters with literacy issues are paired with adults for one hour a week to read books together. I’ve been a Reading Pal for 5 years, and it’s the high point of my week to meet with my Reading Pal. One of the most important aspects of the program is for the children to learn adults read for fun. Many of them grow up in homes without books, magazines or active readers.

    Get involved at the local level. It’s always been true: Think Globally, Act Locally.

  2. Heather T says:

    Don’t forget Southern Poverty Law Center — I think this organization will be at the forefront of working to protect people from hate.

  3. Eggedreader says:

    A big thing that people can do, especially if you’re white or live in a red or battleground state, is to confront and question the everyday racism that is already spiking due to this election emboldening bigots (and literally placing white nationalists footsteps from the Oval Office). This is a really useful resource: SPLC Guide to Everyday situations thanksgiving is right around the corner. It’s time to call out our racist uncles. we’re not talking to them, but their racist friends certainly are.

  4. Anne says:

    Thank you! I know it may have felt odd to break editorial formula, but for me this step in a way helped cement how we Bitches are a community. Great job.

  5. Sita says:

    The only thing so far that makes me laugh is John Oliver, his newest episode mentions ways to get involved:

    I absolutely loved his suggestion of making a donation in the name of a relative who supported Trump.

  6. SusanK says:

    There is also the Women’s March on Washington (also called the Million Women March in some places) the day after the inauguration. I am seriously thinking about going to DC for this

  7. lorenet says:

    A few thoughts on today’s getting involved post:

    • Newspaper – My local newspaper is propaganda arm of the Sheldon Adelson Empire (major RW donor). Checkout other sources, such as Pro Publica, The Daily Banter or Daily Kos. Checkout Esquire Politics Blog with Charlie Pierce. I haven’t gone all Rude Pundit ( on anyone yet, but I have been tempted.

    • NPR – I quit listening to NPR several years ago when I realized they had their nose so far up the RW’s a** that it wasn’t even funny. Get the Progressive Voices (PV) app from TuneIn. Listen to Randi Rhodes live on PV, youtube or from 4-6 PM EST (and buy a stinkin’ podcast ya bastids). for writings from driftglass and listen to the weekly podcast he does with his wife, bluegal at The Professional Left Podcast. They are my weekly dose of sanity. If you want your politics mixed with fart jokes, try the Stephanie Miller Show, available on Progressive Voices. Also on PV or by Podcast is The Nicole Sandler Show. The Bob and Chez show with Bob Cesca is also on my must listen to list. If you have a SirusXM subscription, you can listen to Mark Thompson’s show, Make It Plain on Channel 127.

    I think I an joining a gym today because listening to these orange hitler supporters gloat is making my blood pressure rise.

  8. Nerdalisque says:

    Among many other things, the American Association for the Advancement of Science ( works to “promote the responsible use of science in public policy.”

  9. Caitlin says:

    Wow. I can’t imagine having enough privilege to think everything’s fine and dandy.

    That said, thank you for this post. You ladies are awesome.

  10. Mary says:

    First of all…wow! What a great way of showing what can be done and how to fight this feeling of helplessness. Thank you!

    Having gone through the pre-Brexit demagoguery and still living with the post-Brexit shock and its after-effects (a spike in hate crime:, I know what it feels like. After all, the rethoric used during the US presidential campaign and Brexit almost identical.

    The first thing I did was to donate to or become a member of independent media/newspapers that are not owned by media moguls. We need them now more than ever! The pro-Brexit media has created an atmosphere of mob rule where people who raise justified questions are being shamed, their private lives dragged out into the open and their words twisted. When judges who – based on the constitutional guidelines – decided that our Prime Minister cannot trigger Brexit without getting Parliament’s approval, are called Enemies of the People and demands of their dismissal are made by the pro-Brexit press, something is very, very wrong.

    There are also websites giving advice to immigrants with legal problems. I used to volunteer for an organisation that helps immigrants before I had my kids. Now I’m helping on those websites as much as possible.

    There are so many ways to help and raise our voices. I’m cheering you on!

  11. Stefanie Magura says:

    I think this might be a good time for me to be a part of or to be involved with the local chapters of organizations which work with and for the blind. The ones I can think of right off the bat include American Council of the Blind (ACB) and National Federation for the Blind (NFB). I know that each of these organizations have done political work on behalf of those who are blind and visually impaired. Before now, I didn’t feel like I would fit in, but now I will find a place if it will help others in my situation even in a small way. And I’ve already been helping to make websites accessible for those who are disabled, which is a slightly different story but I can tell it here if any are interested.

  12. Stefanie Magura says:

    And that should be hear. Lord my brain. Yes, I can spell usually.

  13. DonnaMarie says:

    Since John Stewart retired, I rely only on PBS & NPR for news. It is blissfully celebrity gossip free. Because when did that become NEWS?

    Anyway, I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but Facebook sent contact links to your representatives. Sure it’s a little self serving of them, but I never underestimate personal contact with my Congress people however it gets there.

    “The job of a citizen is to keep his mouth open.” – Gunter Grass.

  14. cleo says:

    Here’s a list of organizations you can donate to via a recurring monthly donation. Which is great for people like me who can’t afford a big lump sum at once but can afford a smaller sum over a longer time period and want to help out. I’m going to set up a $10/month automatic donation – probably to the ACLU.

    It’s from AutoStraddle, the online magazine for queer women, and there’s a good range of worthy organizations, including but not limited to LGBTQ groups.

  15. Yes. This.

    It’s time for the smart bitches to to roar.

  16. Sara L. says:

    Thank you for this! I want to add one more thing that’s probably more self-care than involvement, but since you have to be healthy as you can be to be able to involved…

    First a little story. The day after the election there was a tweet going around about a bunch of men running around Sydney (Australia) University screaming about grabbing pussies. My daughter & her friends were in a bar there, watching the election results, when those men ran through it, screaming at the girls. The men were so aggressive to her group & that they were truly frightened & had to leave for a safer place.

    So for the last week my suggestion to all the women and POC in my life has been Krav Maga. As sad as it may make us to need to worry about our physical safety, ignoring that need is useless. Take charge & learn how to be as prepared as you can be.

  17. Jessica says:

    I’m tied up with a broken ankle right now, so all my activism has to be in the form of $$, but I have 1) cut my monthly donation to St. Jude’s (they have ties with the Orange Orc’s family, so I don’t care how much I respect their work, I will no longer support them), and 2) added a few monthly donations, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, thanks to Heather T. on this list. They’re not large amounts (10-20), but I made them monthly because it’s important that they can budget longer-term, knowing they have this money coming in.
    Don’t forget Amazon Smiles is another option for support, too!

  18. LauraL says:

    A quote from Lily Tomlin has been one of my inspirations in life: “I said ‘Somebody should do something about that.’ Then I realized I am somebody.”

    Compulsive volunteer here. I’ve been a board member for a number of non-profit organizations and committees over the years, including some memorable time on an anti-litter commission. I’ve made some great friends along the way. Believe me, there are groups of like-minded people out there looking for volunteers as well as financial help.

    I was on the board of my neighborhood homeowners association for over 10 years. My former neighborhood is located between the “haves” and the “have nots.” Within a year of moving in, I noticed more houses becoming rentals or vacant and drug transactions happening in the empty lot on our dead end street. I volunteered myself for a board position at the HOA’s annual meeting and elections. Eventually, I was elected president. Over the years, our HOA has made decisions about how land was to be developed near us, made our neighborhood streets safer, held meet and greet events, and interacted with the local police through National Night Out and meetings. We did not tell people what color to paint their shutters or what kind of Halloween candy to give out! While serving as President, I got to know our local councilwoman and her team, school board members, city employees, police and fire officials, and state representatives. Eventually, they came to me for my opinion, which is the point of my story if you are still with me. Government trickles up as well as down, and I agree with Redheadedgirl, local politics affects our day-to-day life much more than national politics.

    In my former neighborhood, crime is down and there are new houses being built nearby, which has brought up home prices and made it desirable again. It is rewarding to know I had some part in the success. Along the way, when a neighbor complained about my leadership, I asked them why they weren’t active in the HOA. Usually got a shrug and then I would say, “Well if you aren’t involved, idiots like me make all the decisions.”

  19. Kristen says:

    Also, most women’s shelters are ALWAYS in need of simple things like detergent, new underwear, diapers of all sizes. I’d encourage anyone to monitor coupons from CVS or whatever and when there’s sales on those items, grab one or two extra. Give your local shelter a call to ask where to drop things off.

  20. kkw says:

    Anyone in the NYC area probably already knows about New York Cares but it’s such a fantastic way of finding volunteer opportunities, I had to give a shout out.

  21. Lindsay says:

    Thank you for this!

  22. Rebecca says:

    CNN just covered an online buddy system to allow people who may be feeling threatened or intimidated to travel safely to and from work and school. There’s a link to the sign-up form in the story. At the moment they’re swamped with volunteers, but it looks like it’s spreading beyond New York, so maybe this is something that will spread. Anyway, can’t hurt to reach out to form part of the network. Check out the organizer’s twitter for more ideas.

  23. Stefanie Magura says:


    Is there a sign up for those who need a way to get to work or would like a back-up just in case they can’t use their regular transportation? This is always an issue in some form or another in the blind community.

  24. Rebecca says:

    @Stefanie; the google signup also includes an email address to contact if you would like an escort. They ask that in your email you say what kind of help you anticipate needing. I assume this includes issues around the visually impaired, although the primary purpose at this point is to prevent harassment of people who may become victims of those who feel emboldened to bully. Here’s the original facebook post.

  25. Meg says:

    I work for a newspaper, and this site has been part of what’s kept me sane during the elections. I whole-heartedly agree with turning off ad-blockers and purchasing newspaper subscriptions. The vast majority of print media (and their online arms) are doing their absolute best with reduced staff to doing good journalism.

  26. Patricia says:

    Thank you for these!

  27. Stefanie Magura says:


    Thank you. I realize that this service is meant for those who are afraid of being bullied. While I’m aware that Trump hasn’t mocked blind people specifically, the fact that he mocked others with disabilities really does scare me. I am afraid this will enable a culture in which this is more and more likely to occur.

  28. Francesca says:

    My mother was a staunch believer in community service. Until I turned 17, my pocket money in the summer was based on the number of volunteer hours I did. She founded a program to provide inexpensive or free before and after school care for working parents, sat on the board of the Children’s Aid Society and volunteered at our local hospital until a few years before her death.

    I volunteered in programs to do with rehabilitation for inmates in correctional institutions, worked with female young offenders and the homeless. My husband was a journalist until he retired due to health reasons and today gives his time to several on-line organizations that advocate free speech. We donate to the political party that best represents our beliefs.

    I believe firmly that we vote with our wallets and refuse to give my custom to certain stores and businesses. I know that a certain large discount retailer is not going to go out of business because I don’t shop there, but I find their corporate ethics repugnant and I’m not prepared to save sixty cents on a pack of socks on the backs of the people who work there.

    I have never been so grateful to live in Canada as this past week. There are many, many organizations that need practical and financial support, but I would also suggest that people take a few seconds to be civil to one another, smile and rise above the crapsack world we seem to have made for ourselves and prove we’re better than this.

  29. Sarah says:

    I like these suggestions. Am I still welcome here as a Trump supporter? I keep getting pushed out from places including from family.

  30. SB Sarah says:


    My first answer is that romance fans are welcome here. We don’t all like the same things, book-wise, and in just about every aspect, that’s ok. As one of the people who manages the community here, and one of the co-founders of it, I want to welcome every readers who have often been made to feel marginalized for reading books they love. We try to be a safe space for readers because we talk about difficult subjects, both within and tangentially related to the romance genre.

    That said, I want to make it clear that people here, myself included, we are grieving. The results of the election, and the ways in which Trump and members of his cabinet have openly advocated for the harm of people like me, and the people I love, is devastating. We are in pain and we are scared, and I want to create a space to try to help all of us feel better. So I trust that you will please respect that.

  31. Darlynne says:

    @Sarah (comment 29): Speaking strictly for myself here, I can’t imagine anyone being pushed out of the Pink Palace. We don’t have to agree, like or approve of each other’s positions or ideas, but as long as respect and civility carry the day and the conversation, this is a safe place for everyone.

  32. cayenne says:

    SB team, thank you for this and for all the features this week. I’ve found them really helpful and comforting.

    As a [Canuck] news junkie, throughout this cycle, I found the hijack of the major news outlets through their collaboration with the RNC (ostensibly in the name of equal coverage, which…was not quite so equal as they perhaps envisioned it since it essentially eliminated neutral or liberal narratives) to be utterly repugnant, alarming, and anathema to democracy. I recognize that not all people want or value LW news or independent journalism, but if you do and find it to be more and more absent recently, I highly recommend , , and , all of whom survive on subscriptions.

  33. Sarah says:

    @SB Sarah and @Darlynne Thanks and no problem. I’m just glad I haven’t been shown the door like I have been some places.

  34. KateB says:

    I’ve donated to Planned Parenthood (in honor of Pence, because, hey, it’s been six days and I’m not above spite) and the National Immigration Law Center. I plan to volunteer at my local LGBTQ Community Center.

    I’ve cried (for days), I’ve raged, now it’s time organize and fight back.

  35. Rebecca says:

    @Stefanie – yes, I know that the disabled are on the potential hit list also. And I believe they’re specifically mentioned as welcome to email if they need a commuting buddy too. It’s all internet based, so I’m not sure how friendly it is for the visually impaired, but generally, the message is that we ALL look out for each other.

  36. Last week, I donated to ACLU abd changed my Anazon Smile charity to Planned Parenthood. Unfortunately, I’m not in a position to donate a lot, so I’m doing one donation per month for about $5-$10 depending on my budget for the month. I will definitely be donating to Planned Parenthood in Pence’s name after I get paid at the end kf the month. I might do the same for CAIR in Trump’s name. I’d love to see his face when learning that “he” donated to a Muslim charity. Yes, I can be that petty.

    I do want to mention that if you want to work with DV survivors, you have to get trained from a certified organization to do so. I know in the Bay Area the YWCA offers the training, but there is an $85 fee and classes are during the week. I finally got off their waitlist late last year, but was unemployed and couldn’t afford the fee. Now that I am working and can afford it, I can’t attend the classes as they’re during working hours. It is a total Catch-22.

    I’m also looking into getting involved in my House Rep’s office as I have a ton of respect for him. I have a slight background in political science and would love to be involved in helping my state. I also noticed that Kamala Harris is lookibg for people to staff her offices in both California and DC. If I have to mop floors, I’d do it to at least be in that room and have access to people with the ability to make a difference.

  37. Emily A. says:

    Thank you particularly for focusing on volunteering versus donating. As a person with more time than money, it’s nice. Meanwhile I have two questions maybe someone can answer:
    1) How do I find out more about protests in my area? I want to protest, but don’t know when.
    2) What is your advice to dealing with Trump voters and supporters? Do you see a difference between someone who supports Trump and someone who voted for him? I don’t have any friends blatantly sprouting hate crap, so it’s tricky for me.
    Thank you very much in advance.

  38. Msb says:

    The SPLC is great. I have supported them, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU for years. I’ll be taking part in a local version of the women’s march on 21/1/17.
    One thing everyone can do is register to vote, urge/assist others to register and urge/assist others to vote (as well as voting yourself). The process for overseas Americans is more cumbersome and needs to be repeated each election year. See website of the Federal Voting Assistance Program ( for info.
    Finally, how to deal with Trump supporters. SPLC resources are always good. As Trump and his friends deal in rage and dominance, I plan to resist calmly. No shouting or cursing or epithets, only facts and values courteously delivered. This election result plainly shows that we need to speak up more, but lovingly as well as firmly, if possible.

  39. cleo says:

    @Emily A. – Elizabeth Warren has helped me in how I think about your 2nd question. She was on Rachel Maddow’s show on Weds (its online and well worth watching). She said it’s important to remember that many people voted for Trump not because of his bigotry but in spite of it – because the economy and the govt stopped working for them.

    I live in Chicago so I haven’t had to deal with many Trump voters in person but I am related to both Trump voters and people who voted for 3rd party candidates. And eventually I will probably want to be in relationship with them again (right now I’m too hurt / angry / scared).

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