Children play in the water fountain while Judd Hayes from NextGen Climate holds a sign on the Pedestrian Mall prior to their anti Donald Trump protest on Thursday, July 21, 2016. NextGen organized four protests in Iowa against the Republican nominee in Des Moines, Ames, Iowa City and Waterloo. (The Daily Iowan/Joseph Cress)

Townsend: Be an activist this summer


By Laura Townsend 

The beginning of this semester coincided with the inauguration of Donald Trump. The semester looked bleak to much of the student body. It soon became nearly impossible to turn on the news, or even a social-media newsfeed, without the new president’s name appearing in a headline with the latest punch of bad news.

Even as the nation seemed divided, the University of Iowa students united in an effort to resist the new administration. Students joined together to send a clear message: the hate perpetrated by the Trump
administration is not welcome here. No hate is welcome here.

Energized, passionate students meant seemingly endless opportunities to actively resist the Trump administration during the school year. One group of students organized a Spread the Love event in which students wrote “Valentines” to their senators demanding a ban on conversion therapy. Another group held a walk-out in opposition of Betsy DeVos, while yet another group arranged a gathering on the Pentacrest to resist the immigration ban. These types of events happened throughout the semester.

Now that this historic semester is coming to an end, students may wonder whether they will be able to stay active in the resistance. Marches and protests may not be organized as regularly. The opportunities to stay involved may seem harder to come across.

In fact, if you are willing to put in the time, there is a plethora of ways to keep up the resistance in the summer. Volunteering with community organizations, joining campaigns for the 2018 election, calling and writing to senators, and organizing protests on your own are all ways to stay involved.

If you are passionate about welcoming refugees into this country, volunteer with refugee services. Cities all over the country have organizations geared toward assisting refugees with everyday needs while ensuring that they feel safe and supported in their new communities. These organizations are an excellent way to resist the hateful rhetoric coming from the White House while meeting new people and expanding your worldview. Iowa City Compassion, International Women’s Club, and the Bureau of Refugee Services welcome volunteers.

If you would like to assist women and families in crisis, organizations such as the Women’s Resource and Action Center, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Advocate Program, Monsoon United Asian Women of Iowa, Shelter House, Rape Victim Advocacy Program, and Planned Parenthood have volunteer opportunities in Iowa City. If you are going away for the summer, there are similar opportunities nationwide.

Organizations such as the Crisis Center of Johnson County, the Ronald McDonald House, Table to Table, and Girls on the Run are other local organizations that are always looking for volunteers.

Do not let the summer keep you from keeping up the fight. It is crucial that we remain active in resisting the Trump administration. We must continue to unite against hate, whether classes are in session or not.

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