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Allyship and Anger in 2016

Image of a Tree standing in a lightning storm

So… are you pissed off? Angry? Furious? Are you feeling so utterly incredibly exhausted and frustrated with the state of the world right now? Yah… us too. There was just that mess of an election, hateful bigots are feeling validated in their racism, antisemitism, sexism, homophobia, and Transmisogyny as a result, Standing Rock(#NoDAPL) continues, TDOR (the Transgender Day of Remembrance) is on Sunday… We’re drained, we’re sad, we’re hurting, we’re frustrated, we’re overwhelmed – and yeah. We’re livid.

We also know that many people struggle with feeling anger and especially with expressing it, but anger has a purpose in our lives. It’s a part of what drives us to create change, to challenge injustice, and to engage in acts of resistance. We want to welcome anger. It’s OK. It’s totally normal. It’s legit. It’s OK to be pissed off, and it’s OK to honour those feelings. There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling anger.

But what can we do with it?

Hold space for each-other

  • Even if you’re not feeling personally at risk right now, you’ve probably seen folks on your social media, in coffee shops, at protests, and elsewhere expressing fear and anxiety around what these events could mean for them and for their loved ones from other marginalized communities. Make space for these people, listen to them, see what they need right now and ask what (if anything) you can do to support them. Consensual allyship is incredibly important in times like these.
  • If you’re able to, support resistance by donating to causes and organizations.

Hold each-other accountable

  • These kind of events don’t happen in a vacuum. So many of us have that “one racist uncle” who we think is harmless, or those family members who don’t “approve” of Queer or Trans “lifestyles”. It’s easy to look at this as people simply a little behind the times or lost in ignorance, until you remember your uncle works for a mortgage company and your transphobic family member is a nurse. We need to be addressing these systems, when it’s safe for us to do to do so, even if it makes family dinners a little awkward or you get painted as a “social justice warrior” or whatever. People from marginalized communities are so often ignored or dismissed in these conversations, if you have an “in” or a position of privilege – use it.
  • This doesn’t mean you can’t hold these people with compassion – in fact speaking from a place of love is awesome and effective.
  • Pick your battles, and take care of yourself first of all. Know when to invest your time and energy, and when to disengage for your own sake.
  • Remember that your anger can change the world, even if it’s only one “harmless” (yet hateful) person at a time.

Take care of your ourselves

  • Have you eaten, drank water, and slept enough in the past day? Please make sure that you are taking care of your basic needs during this time.
  • Give yourself permission to take hours (or days even) away from social media and the news. Read a book, take a bath (bath bombs are the best!), have some tea. Do something else that nourishes you. You deserve it.
  • Know when you have the capacity to handle others’ emotions and your own. Ask for emotional consent when broaching sensitive topics. Ask for breaks if you need them.
  • Try meditation. Mindfulness is a wonderful practice to keep present within your self. Here is a post-election meditation for compassion that’s helped us stay grounded.
  • Acknowledge, express, and honour your anger in responsible, creative ways. Make art! Write a blog post (hi!)! Go to an epic dance party, use your body! Run around the block!

Take part in community events

There are many ways in which communities show resistance and stand together in challenging times, look for ways to get involved and take part in community events, social outings, and spaces. Some events taking place in and around southern Vancouver Island in the next few days are:

  • Standing Rock Fundraisers and Events. There are several events taking place to raise funds and awareness and to stand in solidarity with Standing Rock.
  • The Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20th). TDOR is a day observed around the world to commemorate and remember those murdered in Transphobic violence. The local Trans community and allies will be meeting in Bastion Square at 3:00 PM on November 20th to read the list and to recall those lost in the last year.
  • “UNiTE” to End Violence against Women Day -November 25th
  • Red Wednesday (nov 30th) – the 4th annual fundraiser and party in support of programs and services at the Vancouver Island Persons Living With HIV/AIDS Society (VPWAS).
  • National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women (December 6th)
    • The PSAC Victoria Regional Womens Committee is sponsoring a candlelight vigil in Centennial (Spirit) square.
  • In Defiance at the Legacy Art Gallery

If you’re in crisis or want to reach out for support or information, the following organizations and links may be useful to you:

Love and Solidarity,

Tanille & Alexa