[quote_center]If you don’t act, don’t expect others to act. If you speak and don’t act, don’t expect others to listen[/quote_center]
By Willie Lutz
Athens, Ohio– Like many (and likely not limited to the man himself), I am still having a hard time getting used to using the term President-elect and Donald J. Trump in the same sentence… and will likely have an even harder time getting used to it once the “elect” portion is dropped from the title. Also, like many, I’ve taken my opinion to social media, but I’m coming to the conclusion that voicing my opinion over there isn’t doing anyone any good.
[pull_quote_left]We have become a nation of barkers, which is relatively pointless without the execution of the bite[/pull_quote_left]Since the results rolled in on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, I’ve been thinking about the United States as a whole quite a bit, and we have become a nation of barkers, which is relatively pointless without the execution of the bite. Now, maybe more than ever, we’re in a time where we need to make our voices heard, but we need to do so by acting, not just by running our mouths. Here, you’ll hopefully find a way to make a difference in a country, one which can do amazing things when its people lend a hand.
Here’s a great place to start. Petitions are an amazing, constitutional-supported place to start making a difference, and with a handuful options available online, you can get to it in a matter of seconds.
WeThePeople.Gov is a great option, as it directly connects petitions to the White House. Launched in September of 2011, the website has been used in attempts to pass bills involving gun control after the Newtown school shootings and helped initiate the cell phone unlocking bill (Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act) in 2013, which was the first bill driven into existence by an online petition. One of the most captivating parts of this website stems from the fact that if any petition gets 100,000 online signatures, the petition must receive an official response.**
Another great place to raise a petition is Change.org. Over the years, Change.org has raised petitions involving football, guns, the environment, really anything that you can petition. Successes of the website include pushing Universal Studios to include more of a pro-environmental message in the film The Lorax, saving a two-and-a-half-year-old dog from being executed by the state of Tennessee, and helping to push the prosecution of George Zimmerman. Basically, if you think something is unjust, no matter the cause, Change.org is a place to project your voice.
When out in public, you never know when a petition is going to come your way. I was in the parking lot of Jungle Jim’s when someone passed me a petition to support higher wages for teachers in Ohio. If something comes your way, don’t be afraid to make your signature count.
Some people are incredibly busy, trust me, I get it. That being said, if you can find some time to volunteer, there are some great organizations that are always looking for a pair of hands to help. Volunteering is your way to directly help people, animals, or movements that otherwise would miss out on your assistance. Here’s a few options if you were personally irked by the rhetoric or policies our president-elect and his cabinet used throughout the course of the campaign.
The Ohio River Foundation, located in Cincinnati, is an organization committed to protecting and restoring the Ohio River and its watershed… which you will see at the top of their page if (when) you visit their website. Due to constant construction and daily environmental stresses, our river and watersheds have taken a beating over the years. If you choose to volunteer with the Ohio River Foundation, you can take a hands-on approach to repairing these wounded ecosystems by removing small dams and removing non-native, invasive plant species. Really, it’s a great cause, especially when you consider the importance of our rivers.
[pull_quote_right]Do you NOT like that our president-elect made fun of someone with disabilities? The Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired is looking for people to come and read stories.[/pull_quote_right]Do you like sports? Do you like journalism? Do you NOT like that our president-elect made fun of someone with disabilities?* Well, then here’s an amazing opportunity for you. The Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired is looking for people to come and read stories, either live or recorded, from newspapers and magazines. This would be a great opportunity to get connected with people who otherwise might miss out on access to stories in which they might truly hold interest. It’s a truly unique opportunity, plus if you’re interested in broadcasting, it’s great way to get job practice while helping people.
[pull_quote_left]While some are looking for reasons to kick these refugees out, you have the opportunity to work with the Catholic Charities Southwest Ohio.[/pull_quote_left]Over the last few months, there’s been a lot of talk about what to do with the millions of refugees trying to find a new place to live, because they’re looking for a new chance at a high quality of life. While some are looking for reasons to kick these refugees out, you have the opportunity to work with the Catholic Charities Southwest Ohio to make them feel welcome. This organization works to provide English as a second language classes, housing, outfitting for new housing, transportation, connection to social support services, health assessments, connection to healthcare, employment opportunities, and legal and immigration assistance to these refugees, which is a heavy load to work. This is a tremendous way to help the people who need help the most.
[pull_quote_right]If you’re worried that your President-elect is going to hurt someone or something you value, it can’t hurt to throw some cash towards an organization committed to fighting for that cause.[/pull_quote_right]If none of these are of interest, or they’re just geographically inconvenient, head to VolunteerMatch.org to find something that fits your interest. It’s the holiday season, which is a perfect time do something for somebody else, or even to get in the habit of making it a year round commitment.
Money isn’t everything, but it’s certainly a big something, and your dollars can have a big impact on an organization. If you’re worried that your President-elect is going to hurt someone or something you value, it can’t hurt to throw some cash towards an organization committed to fighting for that cause. Here’s a few organizations that do great work in some very vulnerable areas.
There is talk of a wall, as well as talk of sending a lot of people back to a certain country. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) works to protect the rights of those people. Focusing on the rights of immigrants to vote, work, and receive quality education are areas this organization strives to defend, and by donating, you’re contributing to a cause which many consider to be a little (a lot) under attack at the moment.
Maybe if you’re here, you might be among the people that side with the 97% of scientists that agree climate change is a thing, which is a stat you can confirm through friends at NASA. The National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) is a 46-year-old non-profit international environmental advocacy group (hey, those are pretty much all words you should like) that focuses on legal protection and education of the environment with efforts to reduce global warming, influence state legislators, and defend against corporate environmental damage. So if you stand with standing rock, you shouldn’t be shied away from standing with the NRDC.
If you’re worried about women’s rights, your friends at Planned Parenthood are on the market for donations. This group is not super popular with the more traditional conservatives and, as a movement in general, is really not enjoyed by Vice President-elect, Mike Pence. Planned Parenthood, which is celebrating 100 years of activity in 2016, fights for abortion rights for women, as well as a plethora of other birth control methods. The motto of “Care. No Matter what.” promotes a message all of us should keep in our front pocket on a day-to-day basis… Also you can make a donation in someone else’s name and they’ll get the certificate… and Mike Pence’s address might be: Officer of Governor Mike Pence, State House, Room 206, Indianapolis, IN 46204-2797… just saying…
Again, if none of these are up to your interest, I highly recommend you find something that works for you. Acting is like voting; it gives you advocacy to speak.
[pull_quote_left]If you don’t act, don’t expect others to act. If you speak and don’t act, don’t expect others to listen.[/pull_quote_left]Closing Note
If you don’t act, don’t expect others to act. If you speak and don’t act, don’t expect others to listen. Facebook isn’t a political forum, it’s a social media network; don’t expect to change one mind by changing your status or posting a meme, that’s part of the reason why we stand where we do today.
Willie Lutz attends Ohio University and is from Loveland, Ohio. He holds interests in politics, sports, and culture. Lutz was a former Intern at Loveland Magazine.
** WeThePeople.Gov is an initiative of the Obama Administration and may not survive the Trump Administration.