Here's How to Include All Women in Your Feminism
The global Women's March was undoubtedly a success, and if you attended, you're probably still high off the energy. But the March did get mixed reviews from many women of color. Some chose not to attend, and in its aftermath, they're understandably wary. Sure, hundreds of thousands of white women showed up and showed out, but the question now is: Will they keep showing up for other social justice causes — ones that affect Muslim, black, immigrant, or queer women and their communities?
A mere week into the Trump administration, it seems clear that the answer needs to be a resounding yes. He's already (deep breath): taken down the Spanish version of the White House website and the civil rights page, signed an executive order to approve the construction of the environmentally hazardous Dakota Access Pipeline, announced his intention to eliminate sanctuary cities and stop refugees from entering the country, and prohibited U.S. aid from going to charities that provide contraception or abortion services abroad. It's been terrifying to watch him move so swiftly to restrict our rights.
So where do you start? When I was first asked to answer that question, I hesitated. It can be taxing, as a woman of color, to have to coach white women on how to be intersectional feminists. Writer Durga Chew-Bose said it best in the first episode of the podcast Another Round: "The most exhausting thing for brown women who write and what will actually burn us all out is that we're actually expected to explain things to white audiences." So even as I'm writing this, that underlying pressure — to be a race ambassador and an injustice educator — weighs heavily. I know it doesn't seem like a big deal — you're probably thinking that I should be happy people are asking what to do next — but I was never the student who liked letting other kids copy my homework. I always thought people needed to arrive at the answer on their own to truly learn. I get it: I'm already halfway there because I'm a woman of color, and I live and breathe these issues by virtue of existing. But I can't help but wish that white women would meet me halfway — step out of their reality to try to understand mine.
Still, I was heartened by the enthusiasm and passion demonstrated at the Women's March. And in the spirit of keeping that momentum going, here are a few ways you can begin to support all women.
If you want to fight bigotry... Let's be real: The United States' educational system hasn't done a great job at presenting history in a way that explains how it's affected the pervasive systemic injustice that communities of color face today. Remember that one time a Texas textbook referred to slaves as "workers?" Facing History and Ourselves trains teachers to correct these systemic errors by showing them how to approach subjects like history, social studies, and literature with an eye toward ethics. And students are armed with the knowledge they need to fight bigotry, racism, and antisemitism. If you're a teacher that wants to be trained, hit them up, and if not, give — even just $25 can make a difference.
If you want to help immigrants... In all this talk about illegal immigration, I haven't heard much talk about the barriers to becoming legalized. Many undocumented immigrants don't know the path to legalization or can't afford a lawyer to help them navigate the system. In fact, according to a UCLA study, immigrants with representation — which they aren't entitled to by law—are five times more likely to obtain legal status that allows them to stay in the United States. Yet only 37 percent of immigrants are actually able to hire a lawyer. Want to help? Check in with your local Catholic Charities branch. They have locations across the country, and a lot of them offer free legal aid for low-income immigrants who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford the help.
If you want to help reduce the stigma against Muslims... In last week's SNL opening monologue — the first since Trump's election — Aziz Ansari made an on-point joke about why Americans fear Muslims. He pinned it on the "scary-ass music from Homeland" that plays whenever a character is praying in Arabic. Maybe it's not just the background music, but one thing's for sure: Representation matters. And the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) works with local and national outlets to fight the negative portrayals of Muslims in the media. They also monitor laws that might infringe on Muslims' rights — like the proposed Muslim registry — and work to combat them. If you want to help low-income communities... Support entrepreneurs of color! Black women are the fastest growing entrepreneurial demographic in the United States, yet they have a hard time securing funding to get their businesses off the ground. But if they could, they would become real players in the growing economy and be able to build their communities. Help close the opportunity gap by giving to an organization like Accion, which provides microloans to women who are trying to start their own businesses.
If you want to fight police brutality and racism... Start by setting up a monthly contribution to the American Civil Liberties Union, which has pledged to monitor Trump at every turn and take him to court if he threatens the civil rights of Americans. Then, find your local Black Lives Matter chapter and sign up for their mailing list. Go to their next anti–police brutality rally or protest — it'll help you connect with other people who want to help. You can also follow activists like Johnetta Elzie and Shaun King for news and updates.
These are just a few of the hundreds of organizations out there doing similar work. They could all use your support.
More From Glamour:
• March. Organize. Win. It's Much More Than One Women's March
• What Happens AFTER the Women's March Is Even More Important Than the March Itself
• A Somali Woman and Her Two Children Were Detained at Dulles Airport for Over 18 Hours Because of Trump's Immigration Ban
• Where Does Your Representative Stand on the Muslim Ban? Find Out Here
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