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By now, you probably know that Joe Biden has secured the presidency for the next four years. We also elected the very first female VP (and the first Black and South Asian one, too!) and let me tell you, that is cool to see. Like, unbelievably cool.
But the important thing is to not forget why we fought back in the first place: a place where every single American and future American can be free.
This is not the time to slow down. The summer of 2020 will be one to remember in the history of civil rights and many new grassroots activist groups have blossomed during the past four years in the face of adversity. Donations to mutual aid funds and bail funds exploded after the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and more included in the heart-shattering statistics of police brutality. However, despite the Democrats securing the presidency, the popular vote was horrifically close enough for America to truly be divided. That means despite the boom in interest in Black voices, there are still many people who have not listened to the ways we do harm.
Mayor Anne Hidalgo of Paris, France, celebrated the election of Biden and Harris with a tweet that began with, "Welcome back, America!" While I get the message, the America that people regarded as "normal" and "good" is not the America we should aim to restore. If anything, that America reminded me of the moment in Spongebob Squarepants when Spongebob declared to Patrick, "We did it, Patrick! We saved the city!" as Bikini Bottom burned. We are still in that America, but we don't have to be forever.
Activism should not be a trend that ends once it is no longer convenient and "woke" to do so. Yet I have a feeling that is what many people decided, or decided the moment Biden was elected. But finding a presidential candidate who isn't as threatening to human rights as the last is a far step away from a place where every person can feel safe.
So how can you keep yourself accountable, even when keeping the status quo is tempting? A brief, not even close to exhaustive list for your consideration:
1. Make scheduled donations to local bail funds or in cities where significant unrest and protests are happening.
2. Keep making a conscious effort to read books by marginalized voices and purchase from independent bookstores and publishers.
3. Attend protests if you are physically and mentally able to do so.
4. Above all, never stop making an effort to improve our America for all of us.
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