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I talk a lot about politics on social media. I used to think it was unbecoming because I come from a background where you just don’t talk about that sort of thing. I would get fired up about something, retweet a bunch of stuff, and then feel guilty. What if I was offending others?

I don’t feel that same guilt anymore (more on this later). I feel a different guilt now: that my talk is cheap. After listening to several friends and working through my emotions after the gut punch of this election, I’m committed to more action. A lot of friends asking, “What do we do?” I was asking that myself. I talked to some folks and a read a ton of articles that were getting passed around. I realized that I have the capacity and responsibility to do something. I will likely be affected the least so I need to stand up and take action so those at risk can take care of themselves. So in the interest of accountability for myself and maybe some inspiration for others, here’s my personal plan:

1. Donate

I’ve set up a recurring donation of $50 to the ACLU each month. There’s plenty of organizations that are worthy of donations – Planned Parenthood, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Southern Poverty Law Center, Sierra Club, and a lot more here (http://jezebel.com/a-list-of-pro-women-pro-immigrant-pro-earth-anti-big-1788752078) – but I chose the ACLU because they have a long history of fighting for individual rights and they show no fear. My partner will be donating to Planner Parenthood so we can support multiple causes.

2. Join and participate in Standing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) DC

I attended my first SURJ meeting this week. It’s an organization who mission is to empower white people to advocate for racial justice and the end to white supremacy in their own white communities. They work to engage and bring people into the movement, not call them out or shame them. Most important to me, they are a great resource to learn how to talk about race issues with other white people.

They also organize direct action and fundraising along with organizations like Black Lives Matter, Empower DC, ONE DC, and more. There’s a lot of opportunities to get involved in different ways and I’d encourage my white friends to find their local chapter if these issues resonate with them: http://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/about

3. Listen and Engage

I will not cut off my family or friends who voted for Trump. Unfriending someone on Facebook isn’t an effective agent of change. I won’t hide or change the subject when race or issues colored by race come up. I will be curious, ask questions, and listen, but also stay strong in sharing my own beliefs without righteousness.

4. Get Uncomfortable

I’m going to put myself in positions and places that make me feel uncomfortable. I will take part in non-violent direction action. I will canvass and talk to people I don’t know about racism. I will make mistakes and put myself on the line for the POC that already have so much at stake. I will talk to my neighbors and be there for them.

5. Call Representatives to Keep Them Accountable

I will call Democrats and Republicans and ask them how they plan to keep the most vulnerable safe during the next four years. I don’t think our representatives here from us enough or only in really emotional times. I will call them now, but also when things are quieter.

6. Support Progressive Candidates Around the Country

Here in DC, we don’t have full representation in congress, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a say. I will identify candidates around the country and support them. We don’t have to wait for presidential conventions every four years to see who the rising stars are. We can identify those good people now and let leaders know who we think should rise up the ranks.

7. Educate Myself More on Politics, Race, Leadership, Government, and People.

I’m going to read a lot. I don’t have a solid list together yet so suggestions are welcome, but this was inspired by seeing President Obama’s reading list in Wired (https://www.wired.com/2016/10/president-obama-reading-list/). I want to read the thoughts of the people who have come before and who know this inside and out.

8. Support My Friends

Everybody has a different way of dealing with this. Some will be louder and angrier. Some will need time to heal and grieve. I will be here for them and I won’t tell them how to deal. They know what they need and I’ll be here to support them and champion them in any way I can.

9. Keep Posting

One thing we’ve learned from Trump’s candidacy that’s likely to carry over to the presidency is the non-spot gush of news. Eight different scandals every day. It can be exhausting which can then make it easier to let it get normalized. It’s not. Hate is never normal. Racism is never okay. Sexism is never okay. I will keep posting and keep calling this out. I will be outraged at everything that calls for outrage. I will not let this be normalized. I will continue to post about this until everyone is treated equally.

This is not an exhaustive list. It’s just the start. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them.

 

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This year, I took part in February’s Music Writer Exercise (#MWE) on Twitter. Created and hosted by Gary Suarez (@noyokono), who writes about music and culture writer for Forbes and The Quietus among others, #MWE has simple enough instructions: listen to one album you haven’t heard before and write a tweet about it every day for a month.

I saw Gary tweet about this and decided to participate for a number of reasons: I wanted to challenge myself to work on my writing and thinking now that I’m published in print and getting paid regularly, I wanted something to keep me engaged in a community as I adapted to a new city and work-from-home schedule, and – most of all – it just seemed like a bunch of fun.

The ultimate goal of #MWE for me was not to end up with 29 pithy tweets (you can read them here if you like) or even to fill in the gaping holes in my music knowledge. It was to better understand myself as a writer and as fan of music. To get in my head, dig around, and figure out what’s holding me back. In that spirit, #MWE wouldn’t be complete without reflecting on the last 29 days. This writing is for me to help me work through my thoughts; however, in line with the open nature of #MWE, I’m sharing it with the larger #MWE community. In looking back on the last month, I’ve thinking a lot about what writing is and how to be a better writer. It seems to come down to a few things:

  • Thinking
  • Writing
  • Courage

Read the rest of this entry »

It’s been a year since the last update, but this blog was never meant to be an on-going thing. It’s just here when I need it and I have news to share.

I have left my job at Blogads and accepted a position with McKinney, a wonderful and creative agency in Durham where I interned in 2010. I will be an Analyst focusing on digital strategy and analytics. I’m excited for the chance to focus more of my time on research and analytics and I think this will be a great opportunity to learn and grow.

It’s possible this job may inspire me to blog some more in this space. No promises, but if I do, I’ll be sure to let you know.

All the best,

Justin

Just a quick update: I accepted a position at Blogads in Durham, NC at the end of 2011 and have been working as their new Assistant Project Manager. I’m excited about the work I’m doing there and I encourage you to check them out.

What that means for this site: not much. You’ll still be able to find my selected work here and I’ll still post bits of critical thinking that I don’t have another outlet for.

Next up in February: I’ll reflect about my j0b search process now that I’m on the other side.