Pantsuit Nation and Other Ways to Get Involved.
I initially started to write this mid-November but with the inauguration of the orange overlord, I thought I’d share this, especially the organizations and communities to get involved in at the end. I also want to say that the sentiments and feelings I wrote about here, especially about Pantsuit Nation, are my own.
At least for me, it never really felt like much. Maybe it was the fact that I joined after the election, when the secret group started to grow more and more in numbers. But the group felt very self-congratulatory; many of the white people I had seen posts from seemed like self-appointed allies, ones that wore the safety pin and practically begged for cookies. Plus, it wasn’t long after the election that the creator of the group announced that she was in the midst of writing and publishing a book based on the stories shared there and it felt like a rather opportunistic thing to do.
And all of that is not a space I really want to exist in post-election. The general sentiment of sticking together and building community with one another, sure. That I would love. But I want to exist in a more radical and revolutionary space, not one where wearing a safety pin is the biggest action one participates in all year or one where people constantly say that they’re not like those other people. And I especially don’t want to exist in a space where people of color and other marginalized folks are pushed out of the conversation, something that seemed to be fairly common in Pantsuit Nation.
It’s like the election slogan used by many on the left: “love trumps hate”. Yeah, I mean I guess that’s true but that’s not the only issue that’s at play in the US. There has been a rise in hate crimes after the election but before Trump even started campaigning for the primaries ages back, there were very complicated issues of systemic and institutional isms that have caused a variety of problems for many people. These same issues aren’t going to be solved with the wearing of safety pins and communal singing of “We Shall Overcome”.
I admit: my own involvement in dismantling these same systems that oppress and subject a whole variety of people has been rather lacking and I’m really not one to be pointing fingers. Doing this necessary work is hard and uncomfortable; it’s weird and there’s no template to really go off. But there are several places that aren’t Pantsuit Nation to at least start from:
- Black Lives Matter – there is a specific Black Lives Matter organization that was founded by Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi, and Alicia Garza. It was started in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s murder in 2012 and is a call to action to end the systemic and pervasive anti-black racism that exists.
- There are several Black Lives Matter chapters around the US and each have varying membership policies.
- Planned Parenthood – in addition to providing health care like breast exams, birth control, prenatal care, and so much more, Planned Parenthood provides a safe and supportive space for people of all economic backgrounds to make the best decisions for themselves and their bodies. They also provide hormonal treatment for transitioning trans folks in some locations, educational information about safe sex, and regularly advocate for truly accessible health care for all.
- Portland’s Resistance – This community and advocacy group started in reaction to the results of the recent presidential election. There were protests all around the nation and in Portland, OR, Portland’s Resistance was a key player in the protests of that the area. Thousands of people marched in anger and solidarity with those who are going to be most impacted by this upcoming administration. They also raised money to repair the damage done to local businesses by a few unrelated angry people.
- Safety Pin Box – this is a business run by two black women that is a monthly subscription service for white people striving to end white supremacy. As the website describes: “Safety Pin Box is a monthly subscription box for white people striving to be allies in the fight for Black Liberation. Box memberships are a way to not only financially support Black femme freedom fighters, but also complete measurable tasks in the fight against white supremacy.” If you are looking for a place to start learning about issues like white supremacy and racism and a place to support black women, this is definitely the place for you.
- TGI Justice Project – this is a California based organization that challenges and hopes to end the human rights abuses that are committed against transgender, gender variant/genderqueer, and intersex people in California prisons and beyond.
- White Accomplices – this is a site for white people who want to engage and support racial justice. The idea is to help those same white people in moving from an actor that does not disrupt the status quo to an accomplice that directly challenges institutionalized racism, colonization, and white supremacy. This is an incredible resource for white people.
- White Folk Work – this is a site that asks the hard questions about white supremacy, racism, and much more. It provides conversations and resources about racial justice and doing white folk work.
These are just some communities and resources that work on racial justice, gender equality, accessible health care, and much more. To find more organizations in the United States and abroad, another place to look is whiteprivilege.info. But I wanted to compile some of my favorite organizations and communities to join and support, especially now with the orange overlord’s reign about to begin and the GOP’s fight against many, many things (like the Affordable Care Act).