Rena Schild /


Photo by Rena Schild /

Democracy is in Danger. Sustained Engagement Can Help

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is moving fast to push through a new right-wing Supreme Court Justice. This is how we can direct our rage into action.

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Directed appropriately, righteous rage and grief lead to effective action. The passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg left many across the country with heavy hearts and a sense of urgency to act.

“There are uses to adversity and they don’t reveal themselves until tested,” said Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Sotomayor’s words ring true now more than ever. With 43 days to the election, the convergence of various crises test us all. Daniela Lapidous and Rose Espinola created Win For RBG to help direct people to organizations and volunteer opportunities ahead of the election. A collective of multiracial organizations led by the Movement for Black Lives Electoral Justice Project, United We Dream Action, and the Working Families Party launched The Frontline.

But more than the upcoming election, the opportunity to set right the course of history and bring about liberty and justice for all is upon us.

Shifting the country beyond the current struggle and strife requires dedicated steps and reimagining civic participation. Many of the organizations engaging around the election, organize year-round with minimal resources and support outside of high stakes election cycles.

This moment is an on-ramp to building sustained engagement. No one wants to feel helpless or hopeless. But in the rush to feel better it is important to pause for a moment and understand the current landscape of who is doing work around the issues you care about. Instead of starting a brand-new group, consider engaging and supporting organizations already engaging with persisting issues threatening what remains of American Democracy. Lights of Liberty and the Portland based Wall of Moms are two examples of how rushing to start new national groups and large scale organizing efforts without experience or grounding in basic principles such as equity and justice often detracts from the underlying issues and experiences of systematically disenfranchised groups. An express commitment to dismantling white supremacy over centering of fragility and personal comfort is necessary to move this country forward.

Here are some organizations to engage with and support right now.

Voting Rights

All Voting is Local (has several state chapters)

Asian Americans Advancing Justice (has local chapters in Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles)

Black Leaders Organizing for Communities (BLOC)

Black Voters Matter Fund

Democracy North Carolina

Mi Familia Vota

Mississippi Votes

New Georgia Project

Pennsylvania Voice

One PA

Poder NC Action: Home

Texas Organizing Project

Voices of the Experienced (VOTE)

Western Native Voices



Project NIA 

Solutions Not Punishment Co.

Critical Resistance


Criminal Justice

Free Hearts

Women on the Rise


The National Council


Movement Building & Electoral Organizing 


Movement for Black Lives Electoral Justice Fund

New Florida Majority

Detroit Action

Asian American Midwest Progressives

Highlander Center for Research and Education 

Working Families Party


Racial Justice 

Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE)

Racial Justice Action Center 



United We Dream 

UndocuBlack Network

Black Alliance for Just Immigration: BAJI

RAICES – Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services



Advancement Project

Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights

National Lawyers Guild

Campaign Legal Center

Transgender Law Center

Law for Black Lives


Reproductive Justice & Abortion Rights

National Network of Abortion Funds


Yellowhammer Fund

Sister Song

In addition to these organizations, consider adopting a community or regional organization. There are plenty of smaller grassroots opportunities in communities across the country.  Also, mutual aid groups and lending circles have become lifelines for many given the gaps in needs due to the pandemic. Some run funds to help out individuals and families in need given the ongoing pandemic and economic crisis. Consider supporting a local fund and extending support to those in your area.

The bottom line: Channel that feeling of needing to “do something” into action that will help shift the country more than just enough for an election. Elections matter, but long-term sustained organizing provides the structure and force of action necessary to free us all.

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