The results are in.
For months, we have waged a campaign calling on voters to take “action to dismantle the war machine and build a culture of peace with racial, economic and social justice that redirects the billions spent by the Pentagon to fund crucial programs for our people, our communities and our planet.”
We said we were recommitting to take on the struggle, no matter who that person is. And today, that person is Donald Trump, the President Elect of the United States of America.
This election has been stressful and discouraging for many people, on all sides. It’s important that we take a moment to reflect, listen to our own feelings, listen to the ones we care about and work with, but also to listen to the voices who feel that they have been unheard. There were a great number of voters who used their ballots to show their despair and anger for the system of government we live under. They cannot be ignored, and we must recognize disaffected working people not as people we merely involve in campaigns that we lead, but our neighbors and family accompanying us on a path to peace and justice. This election more than ever shows that we can’t win without each other.
We talked, and here are some things that made sense to us. Maybe they’ll resonate with you too.
- Stay true to a commitment of nonviolence. Put that to the test as we organize and strategize in the days and weeks to come.
- Our campaign remains the same. The Peace Pledge was designed to carry social movement organizing through the first 100 days of the next Presidency, no matter who was elected. Though the players may have changed, the message and the struggles we are working to lift-up remain the same.
- Think about what you can do locally. How do we link communities and bridge movements with shared struggles as we prepare to face the challenges ahead? What are the areas we must turn our attention to? Who are our unlikely allies?
- Host a meeting or start a new group. At the start of the War on Iraq, people across America held meetings, vigils, and rallies, and spoke and tabled at public events to create local organizations and collectives to oppose the war. They built and strengthened social communities as a result. There’s no better time than now to pick up the phone and call a friend, and ask them to make some plans to challenge the next President, Congress, and local leaders on the issues we face.
- Don’t preach to the choir. Think about how we can reach out to our base but also how to reach out to those who do not yet share our views or our commitment to social justice. Where can we begin a meaningful conversation that can lead to progress?
- Support existing struggles. Over the past several years, we have seen movements grow out of dire necessity. They have stood up in their communities and in the face of militarized police and repression to have their demands heard. We must continue to show up as allies and link in the popular social movements of our time including, but not limited to, the movements for black lives, a living wage, immigrant rights, refugee rights, environmental justice, student rights, women’s rights, and so forth. We can gain experience, wisdom, and new relationships through meaningful solidarity efforts with groups like the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which is currently speaking truth to power by blocking the Dakota Access Pipeline from being built on their land.
- Don’t let feelings of fear, discouragement, or anger sap your motivation to work for peace. Try your best to find a place of peace and operate from a position with peace at your center. Our efforts as community leaders and movement leaders should remain focused and in-line with our beliefs. Remember your own vision of what a just society can look like and use that as a source of inspiration.
- … and remember that we’re in this for the long-haul. We’ve been through a lot together these past few years, haven’t we? Four presidential terms, going on five… We know a little something about setbacks around here, and dealing with them sometimes can feel like more than you can bear. But we’ve been through hard times before and we’ll get through them again.
We hope you will take some of this to heart and share some of the things that are keeping you upbeat and focused in the comments below. We also hope that you will take the Peace Pledge seriously and use it as an organizing tool. We must go far beyond our usual allies if we want to end the wars and rebuild our communities. Please urge your friends, neighbors, co-workers and people you engage with to sign the Peace Pledge today. And if you’re a member of an organization, please seek your group’s endorsement of the Pledge.