Welcome to the Roar launch and this weekly column where we explore various ways to stay informed and get involved on a variety of social issues. This has been a trying time for everyone and with Inauguration day approaching there are so many issues we need to think about going forward. One of the most horrifying things for me in this election process was the absolute disregard for misleading and erroneous information being touted as truth. There were smoke screens and misdirection specifically meant to confuse and exasperate the public. So, as I see it, the only way we can continue to fight for equal rights and against discrimination is to make every effort to stay informed and educated on what is going on not only in Washington but on a state and local level as well. We need to know who is fighting for women’s, children’s and lgbtqqia+ rights. We need to know how to contact them and, more importantly, how to vote them out of office if they don’t have our best interests at heart.
In this space I will explore various sites that offer timely information and support from national and governmental resources to state and local groups with a focus on the ever-growing needs of women, children and the lgbtqqia+ community. So to start off, here are several links that I thought might be of initial interest.
The Women’s March on Washington will take place the day after inauguration day on January 21. The link above has specific information about the march.
There are also many marches happening across the country in various major cities and towns.
The Guardian has posted this list of activities happening across the country:
Here are a few suggestions for ways to stay connected and participate if you cannot physically attend the marches:
The Daily Dot has five suggestions for things you can do to participate in the day.
In These Times has posted a call for a Sick-Out General-Strike day.
However you choose to mark this day, I think it’s safe to say our voices will be heard!
Here are some websites with articles and databases that you might find especially helpful. I will explore many of these more topically in the coming weeks:
The Southern Poverty Center is the “premier U.S. non-profit organization monitoring the activities of domestic hate groups and other extremists.” The SPLC, while tracking over 1,600 groups, “publishes investigative reports, trains law enforcement, shares key intelligence and offers expert analysis to the media and public.” You can report acts of harassment and intimidation on their website. The center suggests you report all incidents to local law enforcement agencies before reporting to their database. The site also has information concerning children’s rights, immigrant justice, lgbtqqia+ rights, economic justice, and criminal justice reform. Their resources page has links to current issues in the media as well as articles and publications on all of these issues.
The website for The Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a list of comprehensive databases on various health and social topics for women. They have an informative section of articles and practical advice on identifying and dealing with domestic violence. The site also includes links to The National Domestic Abuse Hotline, The National Teen Dating Abuse hotline and The National Sexual Assault Hotline.
Here are a couple of comprehensive sites dealing with lgbtqqia+ issues:
GLAAD has been fighting for lgbtqqia+ rights for over thirty years and has gathered a vast amount of information and resources in an attempt to: “rewrite the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love.”
The National LGBTQ Task Force is another resource that offers not only various databases of informative articles but also training for activists for lgbtqqia+ issues:
“We’re building a future where everyone is free to be themselves in every aspect of their lives. Today, despite all the progress we’ve made to end discrimination, millions of LGBTQ people face barriers in every aspect of their lives: in housing, employment, healthcare, retirement, and basic human rights. These barriers must go. That’s why the Task Force is training and mobilizing millions of activists across our nation to deliver a world where you can be you.”
The Task Force offers information on how to take action including mobilizing and training ).
Of course one of the most important powers we have is the power to vote. And, while so much misinformation was floated during this past election on how, when, and where registered voters were able to vote, there are several resources available that explain voter registration and voting.
The national website under USA.Gov has resource links to voting regulations, eligibility, ID requirements, how to register and registration deadlines by state. There is also a link to register online with links to check on the status of your registration.
If you do not have online capabilities you can register to vote through your state or local resources at The Department of Motor Vehicles, Armed Services Recruitment Centers, as well as state and county Public Assistance Offices (SNAP/food stamps, WIC, services for people with disabilities), where you may fill out and submit a National Mail Voter Registration Form.
No matter how this election was spun, please remember that every single vote matters.
We need to use our voice to be heard.
We need to be heard to effect change.
Joan Hanna has published poetry, creative nonfiction, fiction, book reviews and essays in various online and print journals. Hanna’s first poetry chapbook, Threads, was named a finalist in the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Both Threads and her second chapbook, The Miracle of Mercury, are available through Finishing Line Press. Hanna has previously served as Assistant Managing Editor for River Teeth, Assistant Editor for rkvry Quarterly Literary Journal, Managing Editor for Poets’ Quarterly and Senior Editor at Glassworks. Hanna holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and teaches creative writing at Rowan University. You can follow her personal blog at Writing Through Quicksand.