5 Ways to Get Involved

Kendra Smoot lighthouse

First of all, congratulations are in order, for everyone. It’s one week post-election and we made it. All of us, no matter who we voted for. Since last Tuesday, we’ve talked about coming together as a country and boosting optimism. Many readers have asked for specific ideas about what they can do to volunteer, participate and become more informed. We’ve loved seeing those requests (we feel the same way) because it’s an important time to get involved. Here are a few suggestions, and we’re looking forward to hearing more ideas.

Know what’s at stake. There are limits on what the next president can and can’t change, and understanding the facts can help focus your efforts. Here are 10 questions and answers explaining how key issues could play out over the next four years.

Switch to renewable energy. The incoming administration may not prioritize the environment, but we can. One of the easiest things you can do to help (easier than recycling!) is reduce your own home’s role in fossil fuel emissions — a main cause of pollution. If you live in a state that allows it, you can switch your power to wind or solar with a click of a button. Check out Green Mountain Energy or Inspire.

Donate. Cup of Jo recently gave money to the ACLU, Emily’s List and Planned Parenthood, three organizations we strongly support. This list by Jezebel and this one by TogetherList highlight hardworking groups that need support, if you’d like to donate to a cause you believe in. (We know someone who is making a chili dinner for friends this weekend, and everyone who goes will donate $50 to an organization they’ll choose.)

Volunteer, make calls, do stuff. If you’re eager to give your time by volunteering your expertise or elbow grease, the options are almost infinite. Three avenues for picking a cause: a list by Mikki Halpin with 38 things you can do, specific ideas for writers and teachers, and the weekly Deeds Digest newsletter that suggests smart actions.

Get out of your bubble. Group texts and Facebook have been everything over the past week, but it’s good to get out of your comfort zone. We liked this simple yet powerful idea: Read a non-fiction book about people who are different from you and expand your point of view (here are a few to try). Books can be great connectors, as Lisa Lucas, head of the National Book Foundation, told NPR: “Don’t just read the thing that you think is for you… read the thing that’s not.” Or consider widening your perspective in person. You can search here for local meet-ups that talk about politics, put on documentary screenings, harness tech for good and organize group volunteer missions.

Thoughts? Any other ideas for large or small ways to get involved?

P.S. How to follow the news and how to raise race-conscious kids.

(Photo by Kendra Smoot/Instagram.)

  1. Sarah says...

    I have a big idea for getting involved. Quit your job (if you don’t love it) and become a teacher. If you’re studying, study what you love and get a degree or certification in education on the side. I made this decision 10 years ago and it’s been challenging, rewarding, fulfilling and life-worthy. It’s become a life passion. There is a major shortage of teachers – especially those with a lot of training and higher degrees (because why spend so much money on your education and then enter a field where you will struggle to pay off your school loans?). All I can say is it’s worth it, and if you love it – you will find a way. You will influence hundreds of people’s lives. You will change hearts and minds. You will fight to elevate the value and the status of education in this country.

  2. Being one that is volunteering for the Women’s March on Washington-Los Angeles, we are expecting a large turn out. What I would really like to contribute is a bake sale at the event with children running it and adults overseeing their safety. Thinking this was a GREAT idea I contacted No Kid Hungry to see if they would partner since they have a Non profit.

    They informed me they could not. I know that Planned Parenthood is a Non profit and was wondering if there is any way they would help me out. With 20K planning on attending our event, this would be a GREAT way for different organizations to earn some fundraising money. With a letter showing they can write it off, we could get bakeries up and down the area that people will be coming from.

    All of the money that we raise will be donated to Women’s groups. Since I have experienced Planned Parenthood personally, this would be my choice to partner with. Our March is on January 21, 2017 and we would appreciate any help you could give us and would love to have some of your supporters there as well. Anything you can do to help is GREATLY appreciated. Please join our Women’s March in Los Angeles! Below is the link to the March. Thank you!

  3. Julie says...

    LOVE this list! Thank you for suggesting ways of getting involved. I also love your suggestion of reading books from different points of view. I think if people knew more about the world, about the issues and about people who are different than them, the world would be much better off. So, thanks!

  4. Klara says...

    Lots of hearts for these kinds of posts! Great work, CoJ team! Keep ’em coming!

  5. eq says...

    Hi there! Great post! Do you have any other books you can recommend?

  6. That list of what is at stake was so so helpful!! Thank you!!

  7. Ashley says...

    Joanna and Team: thank you! I hope you aren’t discouraged by commenters. I love this open and frank discussion that is clearly desperately needed. Your values have always been your values and have been evident on the blog for many years. I am proud of you and the team for sticking with them even when it’s hard!