A Case Study in Stepping Up

I read A Nervous Wreck’s Disabled Guide to Stepping Up this week, and I found it very heartening.

Madison Mahdia Lynn’s five-step program is this:

STEP ZERO: Give yourself a moment to breathe.
STEP ONE: Make a list of what you’re good at.
STEP TWO: Make a list of your limitations.
STEP THREE: Make a list of people and organizations who need support.
STEP FOUR: Make a list of people and organizations you are connected with.
STEP FIVE: Put it all together.

She offers herself as a case study, and I thought I would share my own experiences so far.

STEP ZERO: Yeah, I’m not doing great at this. But I AM doing it. Every day I stop and knit. I turn away from all my connectedness and talk to my spouse, my kids. I snuggle dogs. I clean my house. I sit and read. I watch some tv. I have friends in my life who are very seriously NOT staying informed all the time, and I have things to talk about with them. Pets, projects, local gossip. I drink a lot of tea.

STEP ONE: I have money, I gave give materially. I have a small internet following, I can signal boost. I have a reasonably safe community, I can support it so that it continues to thrive. I can drive. I am white and have that privilege. I can write.

STEP TWO: I can’t march, or stand, or put myself in difficult physical circumstances. I wish I could, but I can’t. I don’t have a lot of free time for volunteering. I am a federal employee, and have sworn an oath to never advocate the violent overthrow of the government nor to join or support any group that does so.

STEP THREE: Every-fuckin-body needs help, it seems.

But that’s not entirely true.

The ACLU is doing fantastic work, and I have a recurring donation to them. But they got 24 MILLION dollars this weekend, and over 300,000 new members. So I can ignore their pleas for money right now.

Local groups. Local, small, groups, they need help.

STEP FOUR: Who am I connected with?

Local fandom, the Geek Partnership Society. Unity Unitarian Church. Local homeschool groups. National and international SF/F and comics creators. National and international fandom friends. Family. My trap shooting league team. My union.

STEP FIVE:

– Once a month I donate goods to Bridge for Youth. Gift cards, or stuff from their Amazon wishlist.

– I support artists on Patreon.

– I have recurring donations to a lot of organizations, national and local.

– I write. I call. I write and call my national representatives, my state reps, my mayor, my city council member. I write the local newspapers, I write my union, I write to the public libraries. I write to my college and high school. I write to SF/F conventions and organizations. I write or call basically everyone I can think of, on the issues relevant to them.

– I signed up for a LOT of newsletters, local and national. I’m reading a lot, taking in what’s already in place. I look for opportunities to volunteer or show up. I think I can manage an in-person action about once a month, whether that be a protest or march, or a city council meeting, or a CONvergence departmental meeting.

– I knit. So far, it’s mostly for friends and family. (I’m not that fast.) But I intend to branch out into knitting winter gear for shelters in the Twin Cities.

– I talk to my kids about the issues of the day. I try to support them as they react to the state of the world.

That’s where I’m at right now.

It’s going to take all of us. I won’t judge your contributions. You are needed, in this resistance. You are necessary. You will play a different part than I do. I mean, I HOPE you will! I need you to play a different part than I do, you know what I mean? Someone has to be doing the parts I can’t.

STEP ZERO: Give yourself a moment to breathe.
STEP ONE: Make a list of what you’re good at.
STEP TWO: Make a list of your limitations.
STEP THREE: Make a list of people and organizations who need support.
STEP FOUR: Make a list of people and organizations you are connected with.
STEP FIVE: Put it all together.

Resist.

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