01/17/17 12:47pm
Shepard.Equal-Humanity-GreaterThanFear

We The People is a Kickstarter campaign that aims to cover Washington D.C. in powerful images, like this one, for the inauguration. Image: Shepard Fairey

I’m going to give it to you straight–this Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 Donald Trump will be inaugurated as our 45th President. It’s going to happen. There doesn’t seem to be an ethical conflict too deep or a tweet too far–even insulting a Civil Rights hero on MLK weekend–to stop this juggernaut.

We need to find some productive ways to cope.

You probably don’t have Friday off from work, but it’s not like anyone is going to be getting much of anything done, either. We’re not saying hide your head in the sand, we’re saying make Inauguration Day a time to reflect on how you want to spend the next four year.

Got to the Whitney, and pay what you wish: “On January 20, the Whitney will be open on a pay-what-you-wish basis all day to affirm our commitment to open dialogue, civic engagement, and the diversity of American art and culture,” says the Whitney’s website. There are a variety of special tours and events for the day, listed here, including a program called My America, that leads participants through an exploration of their portrait collection. The museum is open until 10pm, so there’s time to consider the role art will play in the sure-to-be-strange years to come, even after the work day is done.


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11/17/16 11:08am

#actionTrumpshate

Brooklyn Based is not an inherently political site–we’re focused on being an indispensable guide to life in Brooklyn. This election though, has challenged us to expand our scope.  We’ve been openly political by refusing to normalize Trump as a candidate. We take his statements about women, immigrants, Muslims and other minorities at face value.

And so, starting now, we will highlight one thing you can do to push back against bigotry each week. Some of these will get their own email, like today, but going forward there will always be a link to the action of the week in Wednesday’s Ideal Week email. Some of our ideas will be New York City-specific, encouraging the continuation of ongoing good work, and others, like this week’s, will be in direct opposition to Trump policies.

We want #actiontrumpshate to be a resource and inspiration; these will be real concrete ways to engage, to help, to take action. We don’t want to talk about the Trump presidency in terms of silver linings, but this is a watershed moment when we can choose to become more engaged, to get out of the echo chamber of social media and advocate for meaningful change.

Week 1: Stop Stephen Bannon

Time commitment: 15 minutes to ∞

What? President-elect Donald Trump has appointed Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist. The Southern Poverty Law Center has denounced this choice, saying that it places a powerful voice for white nationalism in the White House. (more…)

11/10/16 9:29am
Write a thank you note to Hillary Clinton.

Write a thank you note to Hillary Clinton.

Yesterday was a difficult day. Many of us went to bed too late on Tuesday night, after drinking too much, and woke up to a political reality that we find personally terrifying and morally appalling. One friend told me that her college students, many of whom are minorities, are actively scared. Many friends worried about the state of women’s health care. I personally wonder if my family’s health insurance will be taken away, or become even more expensive if our subsidy is reduced or eliminated. I worry about families who receive food stamps and non-profits who receive government funding. I worry about my son growing up with a president who rates women on looks and compliance alone.

At the same time, we can and must move forward.

Racism, xenophobia and misogyny are factors in how we got here, yes, and we must stand against their enduring legacy in our country, but there is no one answer. As compassionate, curious citizens in a democracy we must also concern ourselves with how to improve life for everyone, yes, including those who just elected Donald Trump as our next president, while upholding the values of inclusivity and diversity.

There are a few smart lists of how to do this circling the internet. This open letter from 100 national leaders who are women of color is a good place to start. Jake Dobkin at Gothamist and Anil Dash both managed to clear their heads yesterday and write reflections and calls to action. If you need permission to step back for a bit, I’m troubled by this Garrison Keillor piece from the Washington Post, but there’s a place for it. And, after staring at my screen, reading everything on the internet until it felt like my eyes were bleeding, I talked to a few kind people in Brooklyn about their advice for this difficult time, compiled below.  I also think step one is taking a media break for a few days–including social media–to eat dinner with people you love, hug your kids and be thankful for all we have and the opportunity to stand up for it. After you read this, of course.

Join a new community

I wasn’t happy when George W. Bush won in 2000, or 2004, but the way I feel about this election has a deep sense of moral crisis for me. I’m not religious, but in search of spiritual guidance, I reached out to Reverend Vince Anderson, who you may know from his Monday night services at Union Pool with his band, The Love Choir. Anderson is serious about music and faith, beauty and art in a way that is expansive, inclusive and profound. Maybe you’re repelled by anything that smacks of religion, or maybe there’s something comforting and positive about connecting to community in a different way than you’re used to–which is something we will all need to embrace in the years to come.

I emailed him yesterday morning to ask his thoughts and this is what he wrote back:
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03/01/16 12:11pm
Civic engagement, it turns out, is best fueled by brunch. Or pizza. Photo: Erin Neff

Civic engagement, it turns out, is best fueled by brunch. Or pizza. Photo: Erin Neff

Like many millennials across the city, the volunteers who gathered in a McKibben Street loft on Sunday enjoyed brunch together, a potluck spread that included eggs, bacon and mimosas.

“I think that he is mobilizing a generation that people tend to think is apathetic.”   –Lauren Irwin, 25

Unlike most brunches though, this was a prelude to a day of cold-calling voters in other states to plug Bernie Sanders before today’s Super Tuesday primary contests.

These were the Bushwick Berners, a grassroots group of Sanders’ supporters that has been holding phone banking events nearly every day for the past week, despite Sanders’ defeats in Nevada and South Carolina. While this was the first one that started with brunch, pizza and beer have also figured prominently as the fuel for their civic engagement. (more…)

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