The feeling of helplessness may have been gripping you as you watch the massive changes going on in the world at the moment. In the wake of the result of the US Presidential election, as well as the on-going Brexit negotiations here in the UK, here are five things you can do to promote empathy instead of bigotry.
1. Protect those most at risk
The vote for Trump doesn’t just affect those in the USA; the political shift to the right has a domino effect across the Western world, especially with the addition of Brexit here in the UK. Together it has opened the floodgates of hatred and prejudice, making it socially acceptable to verbally threaten and attack anyone perceived as different. There has been an evident increase in the number of incidences of hate crimes in the UK against people of colour and those speaking languages other than English, whilst using transport and in other public places. If you feel safe to do so, please stand up and speak out if you hear racism, xenophobia, misogyny, homophobia or transphobia; we need to show that as a nation we will not stand for such disgusting behaviour. This goes for public places, but also for calling out friends and family if necessary. Check in with anyone you know, American or not, who may be at threat due to current events and the change in the political tide. They are probably feeling very lost, scared and angry and they need love and support right now.
2. Listen, learn and educate
As mentioned in the last point, you might hear friends and family saying ignorant or misguided things; if you can, try and take the time to explain to them the impact these events have on people, and especially some of the most vulnerable in society. Point them in the direction of resources and articles written by the people most affected by current world events. If there’s anything you don’t understand about the potential knock-on effects of the election results, try and find answers rather than inundating people who are already struggling with questions. Know when to listen and when to speak; speak to those who don’t understand to ease the burden on those who are most impacted by this, but don’t talk over them (they’re already in a position of not being heard due to the people in charge). Don’t just switch off to politics or give it up as a bad job; political apathy is the slippery slope which has led to today.
3. Act and support where possible
Listen to activists you believe in, reach out and ask what you can do to help. Sign petitions, share posts that educate on social media, subscribe or donate to charities that support marginalised groups, support and/or fund feminist media that provides a space for the disenfranchised who might not have the access to a physical support network. Do whatever you are able to; it might make all the difference.
4. Make art
As creatives, we know art is essential. It is at its most important when things are
5. Spread love and compassion
Doing nothing is a choice, and it’s a choice that allows hate, distrust and division to overpower love, empathy and community. Share the good as well as the bad, post those videos of small dogs hugging kittens, be a little bit kinder to everyone you meet, hug your friends and tell them you love them. Small acts like this are victories against hate and fear. Let’s make the world we want to live in.
Words: Heidi Teague
Tweet Heidi @TeagueHeidi