Considering the drastic difference in election results nationwide this week, moving forward looks and feels different than a year ago. Many of us are breathing a little easier, seeing the benefit of our collective efforts of volunteering, emailing and calling our elected officials. A sense of resolve and encouragement, or vindication over what we will and will not tolerate.

To all who have dug in and fought back with intention and determination, your commitment made a difference. You helped feed a ripple effect. Every conversation, hours volunteered, money donated pushed us all forward. Together we saw the largest number of people of color and LGBTQ+ candidates be elected across the country. In places no one expected. We did that together. This is what is possible when we lift one another up. Momentum is building, and it must continue to be nourished.

Acknowledge who you have connected with and how your story influenced their perceptions, calling them to action. Do not diminish your impact and power in creating change. No matter your age. In the next twelve months, consider ways you can lift someone else up, get them to the front of the room.

Stella had her first lobbying experience this past January. We were advocating on behalf of maintaining the protections for transgender residents in Washington State. Since her personal rights were on the line, yet again, it was important she learn the power of her voice in our democracy. Children have extraordinary power, when offered the opportunity, to influence the world they experience. As adults, we must be willing to step aside more often.

Because of a single meeting, Stella influenced and inspired a senior Washington State senator, Kevin Ranker. In a thirty-minute conversation, Senator Ranker was called to action. Which lead him to use his platform to elevate Stella’s voice, and other trans youth like her.

The night after the election, we were reminded of how powerful sharing our story can be. Senator Ranker posted this message on his Facebook page.

“Yesterday we finished building the Blue Wall between California, Oregon and Washington. Today we begin implementing an agenda that truly represents our core values. We will now block Trump along the entire west coast. We will not only protect the rights of all people – LGBTQ, Immigrants, Women, Children, the Poor, but we will support them. We develop and pass policies that support Mental Health, Homeless, Education (both higher and k-12) and the Environment. Today is an incredible day. One I have dreamed of for five years, but was overwhelmed by since the election last November. This incredible accomplishment happened because thousands of you did more than you have ever done in so very many ways. You are incredible. I am so very proud to get to represent so many wonderful, special caring people.

I sincerely thank you for empowering me to do more!

Take some time to reflect upon this remarkable accomplishment. Celebrate and enjoy the people around you. Build your energy and recognize your part in this, whether directly supporting Manka or joining the Women’s March or another protest or writing postcards, making phone calls or giving money, your part in this Resistance is beginning to make very real and powerful progress. It is very important to recognize and celebrate accomplishments… take a moment to recognize yours!
We must also however remember… we not done! We need to build our strength and begin the focus on 2018. We must work with Tina Podlodowski to build our majorities in Washington State and we must focus on Congress. We must take our country back and ensure that all of our leaders are motivated by kindness and love. That our laws protect and celebrate diversity, community and raise each of us to have healthy and happy lives.

I found myself reflecting this evening, upon the conversation I had with Stella, the incredibly brave trans girl, who inspired much of my Hope and Action talk I gave early this year around the state about what we can do to make a difference. She left me with something I shared during those talks that is even more powerful and appropriate today…

“If you see anything on Facebook or Twitter that advocates for anything that you support… do it. Show up and support that cause. Also any sort of protest, I would say, go do it. Fight for what you know and think is right. And do it not only for the people you know but do it for yourself. Support business, organizations and people who also believe in the same values. Use your voice. Stand up for others.
Most of all be kind, to yourself and others.” —Stella

Most of all… be kind to yourself and others.”

Senator Kevin Ranker

 

Our sincerest thanks Kevin,

Lisa, Dmitri and Stella