This is not a time to discuss Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, but a time to look sadly at the deep divide in our country. As a therapist and as a community organizer, I’ve spent a lot of my life working to help people overcome divisiveness and conflict.
In my office and very possibly yours, the past week has been spent with clients processing strong emotions about the election. It is a time when many feel scared and helpless.
I am horrified by the hatred and intolerance that has been unleashed. Children fear going to school. A Trump supporter was beaten last Friday at a local high school. Some news commentators received more anti-semetic notes in two days than in the last 10 years.
So many immigrant families here in California fear that their families will be yanked apart and deported. Others are horrified about climate change and how we may further destroy the environment. Muslim girls are being punched for wearing berkahs.
More than ever this is a time to stand up and have a voice. It is a time to stand up for human dignity, for your values and for the possibility of honoring differences in others. We can learn and help others discover that differences don’t have to divide people or lead to aggression.
Every time you sit with a couple and convey possibility and help them bridge their differences, you play an important role in communicating possibility over aggression and hatred.
As a small way of taking action, I want to share with you some excellent resources for those who feel scared or disenfranchised.
Hand in Hand Parenting helps children by helping their parents. It is a wonderful organization that helps parents do emotionally-based parenting. I serve on their Board and support their work wholeheartedly. Patty Wipfler did a facebook live video this week about how to support children and what to tell parents about how to best support their kids. Please feel free to pass this on.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America offers enrichment programs and support for children after school.
And if you fear important gains slipping away, consider becoming active in one of these organizations:
The National Immigration Law Center is dedicated to fighting for the rights of low-income immigrants through litigation, policy analysis and advocacy, and various other methods. Donate or learn how you can attend a local training.
EarthJustice is the largest nonprofit environmental law organization in the country, working to protect wildlife, for healthy communities, and for cleaner energy options. The organization represents its clients free of charge.
Planned Parenthood is the country’s leading provider of sexual and reproductive healthcare. Check their nationwide volunteer opportunities.
Or check out this list of “Pro-Women, Pro-Immigrant, Pro-Earth, Anti-Bigotry” organizations that need help if those values align with yours. When I saw it there were 36 nonprofits listed and a note that editors would continue to add more!
To build the world we want, the relationships we want and the communities we want, we must live in the tension and reach across the divide to build compassion and understanding with those who are truly different from ourselves.
To healing the divide in each and every small way possible,