A manifesto for myself and my allies.
Election night, I felt shock and disbelief.
The day after the election, I felt real personal vulnerability—but also a strength and resolve I hadn’t felt in a long time. I know so many of us are afraid for our safety, for people we love, for our democracy and for the planet, and feel regret at not having done enough to prevent Trump’s election.
For me, a sense of safety and support was smashed when we lost. I am a person of color, Asian American, daughter of immigrants, bisexual, religiously nontraditional (Wiccan), and have a mother with a disability. Trump has explicitly scapegoated, threatened, or mocked people like me and those I love.
For myself, I wondered, if Trump starts a trade war with China that becomes real war, would I be seen as the enemy? Beaten up in the streets for looking Chinese—even though I’m actually Taiwanese American? Rounded up and put in an internment camp like the Japanese Americans during World War II? A part of me was looking at every Trump voter, wondering, “Is this what you support? You voted for this man after hearing his hate, racism, and venom.” And a part of me was looking at every white person, wondering, “If this happened, would you have my back?”
But here’s what I also know: I am strong, and I will not give up this country. And I realize a truth: before the election, I did not do enough. On the election front, I thought on some level that someone else had it taken care of. Yes, I voted and donated and volunteered for Hillary, but I didn’t go all out—I did just enough to feel “okay” about my effort.
On the personal front, I let fear and inertia stifle me. I’m a writer and business/life coach, and my work is my passion—the deepest expression of my heart and who I am. But, there were so many times when I held back out of fear, paralysis, or inertia. Times when I let myself slip into survival mode—just trying to get by. Times when I didn’t write my stories or speak or act, times when I hung back in my business because I was afraid to fail. And all day, as I coached clients, I heard the same themes resonating for them.
This is a moment of awakening for us. If Hillary had won, it would have been easy for us to “coast,” lifted and carried by the power of her election. But now I know: we must carry each other and care for each other. We must stand together and have each others’ backs. If some of us are targeted, the rest of us must surround them with love and protection.
And I know we are not alone. In the days since the election, I’ve been uplifted and strengthened by the resolve I’ve seen all around me. Since the election, so many people have come out of the woodwork. So many—including people who were not political before the election—are galvanized and determined to stand up for those who are targeted, to fight against autocracy, to be a force for love.
And I also know this: To create a world that is beautiful, safe, and loving, we need to be our fullest, most powerful selves. More than ever, we must move the belief that we aren’t good enough—and bring our biggest gifts into the world. Each of us has our role in this time to come. Some of us are activists. Others are talkers, healers, caretakers, rectifiers of budgets and fixers of broken objects, creators of beautiful spaces and PR geniuses, coaches who bring out greatness in others or fierce warriors who never back down.
Whoever we are, whatever our deepest gifts, we must bring them out. Because something was shattered last Tuesday night. Now every one of us, with our magic and brilliance and gifts, is needed to make the world anew.
There is no room for complacency, shirking responsibility, or escapism. We can't sit back and expect someone else to take us to the promised land. When we hold back out of fear, that is when the worst can happen. If we want love, we need to be love. If we want justice, we need to stand for it. If we have a vision, we need to reach for it with all our heart and we need to work, dance, and play for it every fiber of our beings. We must find our own divine gifts and offer them to the world.
We are the possibility. We are the hope. We will rise. Make it so.
1) How are you moved to act? If you’re wondering where to begin, here’s a list of organizations you can support.
2) Remember to bring YOUR gifts and YOUR self. There is no one way to resist oppression—or build a better world. If you’re wondering what your gifts and contributions are, these questions can help. Download the questions here.
3) What will you do? I’d love to hear. Feel free to comment below and share.
If you’d like to read more of my pieces, click here.