Choose your own adventure
350.org takes actions to promote using alternatives to fossil fuels and pressures governments and companies to stop investing further in fossil fuels. The “350” in their name comes from their goal of 350 parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere.
The Sierra Club, “the nation's largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization,” works to protect the outdoors and promote clean energy. They also undertake a variety of actions designed to preserve and protect the environment.
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) was established in 1994 to “challenge stereotypes of Islam and Muslims.” These days it undertakes a wide range of activities nationwide to “enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.”
Jewish Voice for Peace’s primary mission is to achieve “full equality for Palestinians and Jewish Israelis grounded in international law and universal principles of human rights.” They also undertake related campaigns for peace and human rights, such as advocating against Stephen Bannon’s appointment as the president’s senior strategist and drawing attention to the Syrian refugee crisis.
PICO (People Improving Communities through Organizing) organizes religious congregations and other local groups (such as community centers and business associations) to advocate for solutions to civic issues. Recent campaigns have included reducing gun violence, creating paths to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, developing affordable housing, and ending mass incarceration.
The Unitarian Universalist church runs Standing on the Side of Love (https://www.standingonthesideoflove.org/), “a public advocacy campaign that seeks to harness love’s power to stop oppression,” and has a human rights coordinating committee in the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (http://www.uusc.org/). Individual local congregations will almost definitely be involved in one or both projects. Find a local congregation and see what social justice efforts they are involved in.
The Appleseed Network brings together legal professionals who donate their time and expertise to support community research and action centers.
PFLAG -- formerly Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, now just PFLAG -- works to ensure that “all people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer are not only valued by society, but take pride in and value themselves.” They do this through “peer-to-peer support, educating people on the issues that are important to the community, and advocating for inclusive policies and laws,” and there are many local chapters where you can join in this important work.
Black and Pink works to abolish the prison-industrial complex. They emphasize having formerly incarcerated people lead their chapters, and they focus particularly on the treatment of LGBTQ prisoners.
Critical Resistance is dedicated to fighting the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC), which it defines as the “overlapping interests of government and industry that use surveillance, policing, and imprisonment as solutions to economic, social and political problems.” It’s a prison abolitionist organization. What, you say, no prisons? “Abolition isn’t just about getting rid of buildings full of cages. It’s also about undoing the society we live in because the PIC both feeds on and maintains oppression and inequalities through punishment, violence, and controls millions of people.”
Indivisible groups are using the principles in the Indivisible guide written by former congressional staffers to coordinate local action. They focus their actions on their communities and representatives.
League of Women Voters began in 1920 to encourage women to use their new voting power “to participate in shaping public policy.” Nowadays the organization is “nonpartisan, neither supporting nor opposing candidates or political parties at any level of government, but always working on vital issues of concern to members and the public.”
National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) supports local regions and communities in environmental, transportation, and public safety projects (for starters). If you want to work with others to impact how stuff in your area works, NARC may be for you.
Solidarity Sundays is “a nationwide network of feminist action groups focused on taking action to resist Trump. On the 2nd Sunday of each month, we gather in homes across the country to:
Engage with elected officials (via letters, emails, phone calls, social media, and in-person meetings)
Amplify the action items of existing progressive organizations
Build communities of empowered, educated, active feminists who will resist the Trump agenda and work for peace, justice, and equity.”
Working Families Party is “a growing progressive political organization that fights for an economy that works for all of us, and a democracy in which every voice matters,” so if you’re looking for an alternative to the Democratic Party, WPP are your people.
Your local Democratic party. They are going to need people to run for office and even more people to work for and volunteer on those campaigns. Get started now. Because there is no organized list of party chapters at the local level on the Dems’ website, MCW suggests googling your town or county name + Democrats.
Your local Republican party chapter. Seriously. If you live in a red district where most voters are registered Republican or independents, and you yourself are not a registered Democrat, consider joining your local Republican party and being a voice of moderation against the Tea Party right. Because there is no organized list of Republican party chapters at the local level on the GOP website, MCW suggests googling your town or county name + Republicans.
Black Lives Matter was founded after George Zimmerman was acquitted for shooting and killing Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black 17 year-old boy. The group is most famous for its activism against police violence, but it focuses on calling attention to and working against “all of the ways in which Black people are intentionally left powerless at the hands of the state.”
League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) was founded in 1929. The “oldest and most widely respected Hispanic civil rights organization in the United States of America,” LULAC works to “advance the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of the Hispanic population of the United States.”
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) hardly needs an introduction. “Our mission is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. And we’ve been doing it since 1909,” says the NAACP’s national website. There are active units nationwide that you can join. W. E. B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and Thurgood Marshall are smiling from above.
National Council of La Raza (NCLR) serves “millions of Latinos in the areas of civic engagement, civil rights and immigration, education, workforce and the economy, health, and housing,” and is currently the “largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S.” with state and regional offices, and 260 local affiliate groups nationwide.
Showing Up for Racial Justice is an organization of white allies supporting movements for racial justice led by people of color. The group says “Through community organizing, mobilizing and education, SURJ moves white people to act as part of a multi-racial majority for justice with passion and accountability.”
Title X Family Planning Directory is a good place to start if you’re looking for a reproductive access organization to link up with. The Planned Parenthood organization in your area is probably there, but so are many other local family planning organizations that you probably have never heard of.