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  • Writer's pictureIlsa Govan

Recommitting to Action: A Response to Trump’s Election

Election Night

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Since Election Day, we’ve been whirling in a variety of emotions, ranging from deep sorrow to anger, and landing in a place of recommitting to doing everything we can to promote equity and justice and undo institutional white supremacy. Cultures Connecting strives to be a resource for those committed to this path. Here are some of our thoughts and links to resources for you and your organizations.

Circle of Influence Activity

Each one of us has a unique sphere of people, organizations, and connections we can leverage to make a difference. Try this tool to help you plan what you can do:

Write your name in the center of a blank piece of paper and circle it. Then write the names of organizations you’re involved with, people you know, events you attend, businesses you frequent, etc. Place these in proximity to your name depending on your closeness to them, indicating your inner circle where you have the most influence, and outer circles.

Think about what you might do at different levels. For example, you can organize a letter writing campaign with the five people you’re closest with advocating for the Water Protectors at Standing Rock. Or you can ask a business you frequent to create all-gender bathrooms. It is important none of us become paralyzed in this challenging time. Once we’ve identified our circle of influence, making change can feel less overwhelming and we can see how a small step one of us takes ripples out to others in our community.

Culturally Responsive Leadership Strategies

Many organizations were struggling with how to respond to the election. Leaders themselves were reacting to the outcomes, then had to set aside their own feelings to immediately support clients and employees. This proved challenging, and some organizations opted not to say anything, rather than engage the wide range of responses.

We believe moments like this present an opportunity to model culturally responsive leadership, and it is not too late to share an organization-wide statement about the election. Here are a few tips:

  • Reference your mission and vision that supports diversity, equity, and inclusion and make a statement reasserting your organization’s commitment to this mission.

  • Provide a space, time, and/or person people can come to and talk about the impact of the election or report incidents of discrimination. Have agreed upon norms for effective engagement during discussions. One of our favorite strategies is to encourage people to ask questions with genuine curiosity.

  • Avoid statements such as, “We need to wait and see,” or, “You don’t have any reason to be afraid…” Although intended to be reassuring, these statements can actually feel minimizing or invalidating. Instead, become curious. Ask people what concerns they have and why. Remember to explore someone else’s experience without inserting your own, trying to fix, or endorsing a political stance.

We’ve seen many other resources to continue to work collaboratively for justice. Please share your favorites in the comments.

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