2017: “But what can we do?!”

by Michelle Palmer

On the second to last day of 2016, I was eating dinner with friends, and we were talking politics (I know, I know…it’s against the rules, but we did it anyway). I’m not sure we were so much talking politics as we were lamenting them. And eventually, inevitably the question came: “But what can we do?!?!”

I’ve been thinking of that question a lot ever since. “But what can we do?!?!” Turns out, there’s quite a lot.

(SIDENOTE: If you don’t lament the current state of politics as I do, you are still absolutely and unequivocally invited to join us in our quest for justice & freedom for all! I know several people who voted for the incoming administration for very specific reasons but are not necessarily on board with every decision and position, and if that’s you, you are ESPECIALLY invited! Please continue to use your voice. We don’t have to agree on everything to work together.)


Immediately, my friend Sarah’s December project came to mind. She called it #ABetterNextYear, and every day she did something to end 2016 on a positive note and set up 2017 to be BETTER. (So inspiring!!) Her own words are better than mine:

“I knew there were a number of things I wanted to do to bring my life more in line with my values, like moving from a large bank to a local credit union, subscribing to more media publications, increasing our charitable giving, and connecting more with neighbors and friends. […] It was also a way to push me out of my comfort zone: I connected to a local anti-racism group and committed to deeper work with them in the year ahead, I made calls to voters and elected officials to advocate for progressive causes, and I put my children’s book manuscript back out in the world in hopes of finding a publisher.

[…] I especially valued that it gave me a reason every day to think about how my actions impact those around me. It showed me how easy it can be to work for the world I envision, step by step, even through the smallest of acts.

I love that! “It showed me how easy it can be to work for the world I envision, step by step, even through the smallest of acts.”2017.jpg

Okay, I get it. Some days it doesn’t feel like enough. In fact, a lot of days it feels like the little things I do aren’t enough to make any difference at all. But if none of us do anything because all of us feel like it’s not enough, then nothing will ever get better. We need EVERYBODY to play a part:  liberal, conservative, Republican, Democrat, independent… EVERYBODY. If we ALL do what we can, I promise we can have #ABetterNextYear.

In addition to all of Sarah’s ideas, here are a few based on our topics here at Tuesday Justice:

Race & Multiculturalism

Check out Channon’s Multiculturalism Primer

Remember that Black History matters, and figure out ways to learn more, share more, celebrate more this February than ever before!

Join us in fighting racism through empathy and experience: White People, Let’s Fix This, Part I and Part II.

Join in or support a peaceful protest for civil rights.

Modern Slavery:

Join Free the Slaves in recognizing Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month: “New Year, New Congress, New President, New Possibilities”

Learn about modern slavery with our Modern Slavery Primer

Find out more and get involved with an anti-slavery organization like International Justice Mission or Free the Slaves.

Social Justice:

Watch 13th, and then read our Companion to 13th to find out about several organizations doing work to end mass incarceration.  

And if criminal justice reform is dear to your heart, here’s an excellent resource! http://harvardlawreview.org/2017/01/the-presidents-role-in-advancing-criminal-justice-reform/

LOUISIANA FOLKS, this is for you! Make Louisiana better for women → http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/01/louisiana_women_rankings.html


Even as I type out this list, it feels painfully inadequate. But I have to tell myself what I told you already…We need everybody to play a part. I hope and I pray and I believe that you, dear readers, can find something either here or in your heart that you can do to make 2017 #ABetterNextYear.

Here are a few more links about what you can do to resist, protest, and fight for what’s right:


3 thoughts on “2017: “But what can we do?!”

  1. It’s so true that we can make a difference. Even volunteering to read with kids at an elementary school matters! Little things done for people make those people feel like they matter. And they do. People matter. Good words here, thanks for sharing!!

    Liked by 1 person

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