About 1,250 Brooklynites packed Beth Elohim synagogue on Tuesday night for a forum hosted by Councilmember Brad Lander that aimed to transform the district’s post-election grief into strategic action. Ninety-one percent of residents in Lander’s district supported Hillary Clinton, according to DNAInfo.com.
“We have something truly beautiful here, an immigrant city with immigrants from Mexico and Poland and Bangladesh and China…a city rooted in inclusive democratic values, and we will fight with every breath to keep it that way,” Lander told the crowd.
A week following the election, Americans disappointed by Trump’s victory have debated whether to reject the results of the election, accept Trump’s victory but begin organizing against him, or find ways to cooperate or compromise with his administration—as some say President Obama is already doing, and some fear Senator Chuck Schumer will attempt.
Lander and other speakers granted the president-elect victory, but did not hesitate in lambasting Trump’s platform and campaigning strategy.
“We will not normalize, we will not sit comfortable with a white supremacist in the White House,” he said.
Speakers from Planned Parenthood, New York Immigration Coalition, 350 Brooklyn (a chapter of the larger climate advocacy organization 350.org), Brooklyn Movement Center, Americans for Financial Reform, Anti-Violence Project, the New York City Liberties Union and others outlined the battles ahead, with advocates emphasizing the difficulty of predicting Trump’s future policies.
Speakers said that according to the president-elect’s campaign promises, a Trump presidency could mean the appointment of a Supreme Court justice who enables drastic cutbacks to abortion access, the elimination of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants, the appointment of a climate denier to the EPA, a revived role for stop-and-frisk policing and the repeal of Wall Street regulations, among many other polices objectionable to Lander’s constituents.
“We no longer can play offense. We can no longer be in a position where we’re trying to set the agenda. Now we’re going to have to spend so much energy on the defense,” mourned Mark Winston Grffith, the executive director of the Brooklyn Movement Center, a black-led organization based in Central Brooklyn.
Amy Rutkin, chief of staff for Congressman Jerrold Nadler, admitted that Congressional Democrats have only a few tools to resist Republican legislative actions, and said Congress would need all the support it can get from advocates and constituents on the ground.
“We can never legitimize what he’s done and how he got elected and we can’t give him the benefit of the doubt,” Rutkin said.
For New Yorkers anxious for the four years ahead, here are 10 action steps, as urged by speakers:
- Donate to Planned Parenthood to fund reproductive services that may no longer be reimbursed by the federal government, or join their January 30th trip to Albany to lobby state legislatures to secure state-level protections for reproductive rights.
- Fund New York Immigration Coalition’s pro-bono attorneys, volunteer for the organization, and stay tuned for a national day of action this December.
- Support New York Renews, a coalition fighting for a just transition to a 100 percent clean economy in New York State. Attend their December 8 town hall, petition Gov. Cuomo to speed up the development of off-shore wind energy, and get ready for another major climate march on April 29.
- Donate or volunteer with grassroots organizations that are advocating for police accountability like Brooklyn Movement Center.
- Hold your elected officials—and media editors—accountable to challenging Trump policies that infringe on your values, and prepare for a powerful turnout to the 2018 midterm elections.
- Call your representatives to urge Trump to reverse his appointment of Steve Bannon as White House chief strategist and urge organizations with which you are affiliated to issue statements rejecting Trump’s choice.
- Join one of the New York City Liberty Union’s public advocacy campaigns concerns privacy protections, immigrants rights, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights and other issues.
- Sign up for the Anti-Violence Project’s e-mail alerts about the ongoing violence and harassment against the LGBTQ community, and take action by joining one of AVP’s campaigns or by becoming a hotline volunteer.
- If you see someone being victimized by hateful actions or speech, intercede by approaching the victimized person and asking if they need assistance, while also making sure to respect the autonomy of the victimized person.
- If your identity is under assault, be unapologetic about who you are. And if you are an ally, make sure to check in with friends to ask how they are doing, creating an opportunity, if they need it, to request your support.