“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.” ― James Baldwin
These are troubling times, when hate seems to triumph over hope. I have included resources below for support should you need them.
How are you feeling this week? What do you notice about your body, your mind, your relationships? What, if anything, has changed? Who are you talking to, confiding in, listening to, and receiving help from?
I have noticed in my own life and in my therapy practice that many people are feeling more despair, anxiety, and depression than before the election. For some, it feels like "business as usual", as racism and injustice did not simply emerge overnight. It has been a week of collective mourning, and as I approach my work as a therapist this week, a question keeps running through my mind: How does a therapist help her patients grieve when she, too, is grieving?
It is a new era for psychotherapy. It is no longer a time for neutrality, as the pain that therapists and our patients feel is tied into a greater social context. We must learn about individual pain, projection, denial, narcissistic wounding, and trauma, but we cannot separate the individual from the collective. To do so would be to collude with the pain, hatred, and divisiveness that is now national rhetoric.
There may be people you cannot talk to post-election. There may be people you can. For those you can speak with, I encourage you to try, and to really listen. For those with whom it is not safe to speak, or with whom you feel too heated or angry, it is okay to avoid those conversations and step back.
A few things that have been helpful for me are: to take care of my body, get enough sleep, talk to supportive friends and family, write this newsletter and share resources, and listen on audiobook to James Baldwin's "The Fire Next Time."
Following are some resources for you, whether you are ready for direct action, need more access to community that shares your values, want to unpack your own racism, or need more space to grieve.
RESOURCE LIST FOR SOCIAL ACTION
How To Talk To Your Loved Ones About A Donald Trump Presidency is a working document (where I got the image for this blog post) that may offer support including ways to talk about your feelings that help real conversations happen. Also, take a look at this chart that's often used in social movements to help identify where your energy will have its greatest impact. (You basically want to move folks one pie slice to the left, rather than jump the whole ladder.)
What To Do If You're Trans and Live In America Now includes suggestions for staying safe, and ways to use the remaining weeks in 2016 to make sure your gender status continues to be officially recognized.
"Towards the Other America: Anti-Racist Resources for White People" by Chris Crass (free, downloadable e-book)
"One Way to Bridge the Political Divide: Read a book that's not for you." Lynn Neary, Morning Edition (Encourage your friend or family member to read something that resonates with you, and you read something that resonates with them, and then have a real life discussion about your viewpoints together. This can help strengthen our capacity to think together and have conversations that remind us of our differences, and our ability to live with each other in spite of them.)
UNtraining White Liberal Racism is now accepting applications for their 2017 groups.
WALK-IN IMMIGRATION CLINIC IN OAKLAND 11/17/16
Centro Legal will hold a walk-in immigration clinic at 9am at 3400 E 12th St, Oakland CA 94601.
Post-Election Resource Fair will have organizations tabling with ways to get involved, show support, and develop community. Saturday 11/19/16, 259 29th St Oakland.
Gender Violence and Sexual Harassment, meeting at UC Berkeley Wednesday 11/16/16 5:30pm.
Resource Guide: Concrete Suggestions in Preparation for January (Google doc sorted by demographic)
The Community Democracy Project (Oakland) is an all-volunteer campaign working to turn the power structure upside down by putting the city budget in the hands of the people through a voter initiative.
Alipato Project hosts a free legal clinic for resisters of domestic violence every Tuesday from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. Folks should RSVP for a 30 minute slot here: http://www.alipatoproject.org/contact-alipato/
Sustainable Economies Law Center holds a legal clinic at the worker-owned Alchemy Collective Cafe. SELC provides legal advice to folks who want to start nonprofits, work-owned cooperatives, and help brainstorm other solutions to create a resilient economy.