Recently I gave a talk at Lakewood Library to some fired-up folks from the metro Denver community. Here are resources I mentioned there, although I’ll update this page from time to time as I get new info.
Many of these resources direct you to the folks who have been organizing, planning, and mobilizing in our state for a long time. They are the experts. But first, a caveat. The resources / tips below aren’t exhaustive, and they don’t cover the whole landscape of groups and organizations that deserve mention here. Suggestions / additions are welcome in the comments section.
Resources: Mapping the Resistance Landscape
- Joshua Holland. “Your Guide to the Sprawling New Anti-Trump Resistance Movement.” The Nation. February 6, 2017.
- Resistance Manual
Groups to Follow and Support
Most of these have national or state-by-state chapters. Some are Denver-oriented.
Legal resources, advocates, legislative action, etc.
- American Civil Liberties Union
- National Immigration Law Center
- Committee to Protect Journalists
- Human Rights Campaign
- Campaign Zero
- Planned Parenthood
- Council on American Islamic Relations
- Takoma Mobilization’s Activism Resources for Federal Employees (googledoc in progress)
Community / grassroots groups, activism, etc.
- Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Denver
- Black Lives Matter 5280
- Community for Unity (closed Facebook group)
- The Center
- The Women’s March (and their many partners)
- Denver Metro Sanctuary Coalition
- Campaign Nonviolence
- Activated Majority
- org (climate action)
- Standing Rock Sioux
- If Not Now
- Democracy Spring
- Colorado African Organization
- Colorado People’s Alliance
- United We Dream
- Fight for $15
- Colorado Welcomes Refugees
I was thrilled that many people at the event stood up and committed to taking at least three actions per week in support of the resistance. During most successful resistance campaigns, activists often report that they spend much more time building trust and solidarity, providing care for one another, learning, training, planning, and preparing than they do actually mobilizing in actions.
- Host a huddle / gathering / civic meeting. Encourage those who attend to do the same, if they can.
- Participate in the March 8 Women’s Strike. If you can’t strike, consider wearing red in solidarity and/or hosting a huddle that day.
- Support the Denver Metro Sanctuary Coalition, with your funds, your time, food, and if needed, your physical presence. Our undocumented neighbors have urgent needs.
- Contribute to Jeanette Vizguerra’s legal assistance fund. She’s also asking for folks to sign the petition requesting approval of her stay of removal application or for the authorities to drop her case.
- Reach out to the people you know in marginalized communities. Ask them to tell you their story. Listen deeply. See them & hear them. Offer them all of the help, support, and solidarity you can give.
- Join, start, or attend an Indivisible Group.
- Be in community everywhere you can find community. Attend a town hall, a teach-in, a community meeting, civic group, etc.
- Attend an action.
- Bring a first-time-activist to a protest, rally, or other action.
- Call your representatives (calling is more influential than letter-writing/emailing).
- Support the Standing Rock Sioux.
- Take a civil servant to lunch, coffee, or dinner. Ask them how they are doing, and what you can do to support them.
- Attend a nonviolence and/or direct action training (or a few).
- Begin a conversation at your church about joining the sanctuary coalition.
- Plan a few meals a week with people you don’t normally connect with. Talk politics. Ask them how you can support them in getting involved in their community.
- Spend some time learning about the local grassroots organizations active in your community. See how you can support their work. Show up when they ask you to show up.
- Write an opinion article for the local paper.
- If you’re a woman and/or a person of color, consider running for office. If you aren’t, consider lifting up and supporting women and/or people of color who are running for office.
- Develop and share an online, crowdsourced document (e.g. googlesheet, googledoc) with resources / links to resources for others to contribute and share.
- There is so much more. Add your ideas in the comments section below.
Some insights that came up during the discussion: Focus your energies on the things that most excite you. Own your skills, acknowledge your limitations, and focus on what brings you meaning, power, and satisfaction.
Recognize that being in a position to choose resistance is an extraordinary privilege, and that many in our community do not get to choose. We need to stand with / for everyone in our communities now. Use the freedoms you enjoy to create space for marginalized voices. Practice mutual respect. Don’t be afraid of clumsy interactions; learn from them, and when you know better, do better.
If you’re like me, then you’re in it for the long haul. But you are not alone.
Take it a day at a time, but do what you can to become informed and active as often you’re able. Despair is demobilizing; avoid it. Get help and support from your close networks when you need it, and then reciprocate when you can.
Resources: Civil Resistance Learning
Here are some slides posted at Warm Cookies of the Revolution from a presentation I gave there in January. It has a lot of visuals I referenced during the gathering. Also, check out:
Sites with Accessible & Practical Info about Effective Civil Resistance
- International Center on Nonviolent Conflict
- Albert Einstein Institution (check out Sharp’s 198 methods of nonviolent action)
- Training for Change
- Waging Nonviolence
- Swarthmore Nonviolent Action Database
Recently Published Short Reads (check out the linked sources in them too)
- Author anonymous,“Trump Endgame,” Daily Kos, January 30, 2017.
- Author anonymous, “Freedom, Justice, and Security: When We Unite and Go On Offense, We Move the Country Forward,” Daily Kos, February 6, 2017.
- Lorna Bracewell and Nancy Wadsworth, “The Pussyhats (and Other Things) Make Protests Fun – Which Keeps People Coming Back,” The Washington Post, February 22, 2017.
- Charleston Syllabus.
- Erica Chenoweth, “Worried about American Democracy? Study these Activist Techniques,” The Guardian, February 1, 2017.
- Erica Chenoweth, “People Are in the Streets Protesting Donald Trump. But When Does Protest Actually Work?” The Washington Post, November 21, 2016.
- Erica Chenoweth, “How Social Media Helps Dictators,”Foreign Policy, November 16, 2016.
- Erica Chenoweth & Waleed Shahid, “How to Topple a Dictator,” The Nation, February 24, 2017.
- Amanda Erikson, “How You’ll Know When the U.S. Isn’t a Democracy Anymore,” The Washington Post, February 25, 2017.
- Hardy Merriman, “Movement Building and Civil Resistance: Key Resources for Movement Organizers,” Korbel Quickfacts in Peace and Security, December 2016.
- George Lakey,“A 10-Point Plan to Stop Trump and Make Gains in Justice and Equality,” Waging Nonviolence, January 23, 2017.
- Frances Fox Piven,“Throw Sand in the Gears of Everything,” The Nation, January 18, 2017.
- Francine Prose,“Forget Protest. Trump’s Actions Warrant a General Strike,” The Guardian, January 31, 2017.
- Tina Rosenberg,“From Protests Past, Lessons in What Works,” New York Times, January 31, 2017.
- Theda Skocpol and Mike Tomasky, “Can Marches Become a Movement?” Democracy Journal, February 2, 2017.
- David Solnit and George Lakey,“How Do We Stop Trump and Win Gains in Justice and Equality?” Common Dreams, January 31, 2017.
- Maria Stephan, “Staying True to Yourself in the Age of Trump: A How-To Guide for Federal Employees,” The Washington Post, February 10, 2017.
- Maria Stephan,“An Inside-Outside Strategy for Defending the US Republic,” OpenDemocracy, January 27, 2017.
- Zeynep Tukefci, “Does a Protest’s Size Matter?”New York Times, January 27, 2017.
- Michelle Alexander. 2012. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. The New Press.
- Ta-Nehisi Coates. 2016. Between the World and Me. Spiegel & Grau.
- Erica Chenoweth & Maria Stephan. 2011. Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict. Columbia University Press.
- Stephen Haggard & Robert Kaufman. 2016.Dictators and Democrats: Masses, Elites, and Regime Change. Princeton University Press.
- Rebecca Solnit. 2016.Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities, updated edition. Haymarket Books.
- Film documentaries “A Force More Powerful” & “Bringing Down a Dictator.”
- Julia Bacha, “Pay Attention to Nonviolence,” TED, 2011.
- Traci Blackmon, “Why I Protest,” UCC Justice & Witness Ministries, 2015.
- Erica Chenoweth, “The Surprising Effectiveness of Nonviolent Resistance,” TEDxBoulder, 2013.
- Kimberle Crenshaw, “The Urgency of Intersectionality,” TED, 2016.
- Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, “An Interview with the Founders of Black Lives Matter,” TED, 2016.
- Jamila Raqib, “The Secret to Effective Nonviolent Resistance,” TED, 2016.
- Filmed lectures/discussions at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict’s YouTube channel.
Possible Discussion Topics for Huddles
- Who in our immediate community needs support right now? Are there urgent needs that we can meet? What resources do we have around the table that we can mobilize?
- What troubles do I face every day? How are my troubles different from or the same as my neighbors’? Of others’ in our community? How can we support one another?
- What kind of world do we want to create? How will we know when we are on our way?
- Where should we be 5 years from now? 15 years from now? 30 years from now? How can we get there?
- Which actions are you taking each week? How is it going? What is working well? What do you think you could do better? Where do you need further support?
- Watch “A Force More Powerful.” What insights from these historical cases apply here and now? How can we share these insights broadly?
- Pick 5 campaigns to read about and discuss from the Swarthmore Nonviolent Action Database. What lessons can we learn from them?
My friends, I am glad we are all awake. May we never go back to sleep. As Rebecca Solnit often reminds me, we live in a time of wild possibilities. And to paraphrase the incomparable Rev. James Lawson, do not succumb to the myth that you were birthed into this world impotently. You were born with the power of the universe in your fingers. Use it.
–Note: This post was last updated at 10:37pm on February 28, 2017.–