My pledge

After a week of sorting through my thoughts and reading my friends articulate, pointed, but still painful reflections, I want to lay out here what I can and will do not only to defeat Trumpism, but also to galvanize good.

1) Remember and say their names. I understand that much of the police reform dialogue and media attention has faded in the wake of the election, but that lived reality of fear and death at the hands of the state is still so true (and now likely to get much worse) for people of color. And yes, even in "safe" cities like New York. So not only will I continue to financially support Campaign Zero, but I will also take a moment each morning to remember their names to keep me grounded in the fight to come.

2) Double down on STEM education and sustainable energies. There are very real consequences of having the head of the EPA deny climate change and global warming. Many academics, environmentalists, and politicians are predicting an upcoming tipping point within the next few years. We need collaborative and unprecedented focus - a la Manhattan Project but without the government. Forget about Mars. Mark Zuckerberg wants to end disease - this needs to come first. Personally, I will both give my time and resources to organizations that: 1) create economic opportunity by engaging students in authentic STEM experiences and learning, especially in rural areas, 2) invest in, and create an ecosystem of competitive and collaborative innovation that is needed to spark change, and 3) bring educational opportunities to those especially in rural areas.

3) Greet strangers and share stories. I've been reminded of the importance of stepping out of my comfort and overlapping bubbles more than ever post-election. For me, my photography, blog, and connection to a few other projects will continue to be my motivators and media of choice. I'm grateful for the gift and will continue to use what I have to help others connect.

4) Confront complicit white people. White people elected trump. White men in particular drove him to power. Clearly people painting swastikas, joining the KKK, and committing other overt racist acts need to be stopped, but I fear more for the person who continues to sit by and let it happen. I don't know exactly how I will do this, but it is what I will do.

5) Get local. This is what the republicans have been doing for decades and they keep reaping the rewards, from the House to city councils, and now finally the Presidency.

6) Read differently. In particular, ensuring that I read more than 75% of my books this year from authors of color. Additionally, and stealing from a great list a friend of mine put together, these:

  • White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America
  • Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
  • The New Jim Crow
  • Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?
  • Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger & Mourning on the American Right

7) Shop differently. Our dollars can make a big difference, especially when we choose to spend them on businesses owned by women and people of color. I will be much more intentional with everything from things that I buy for myself and as gifts for others, where I eat and drink, and who I choose to avoid at all costs.

To be continued