January 6, 2017

What we do now: We get started


We’ve said it before: We’re heartbroken. Scared. Energized. Determined. Donald Trump won, it can happen here, and one thing is very clear — we need to act.

That’s why we’re publishing What We Do Now in a week and a half — just in time for Inauguration Day. Featuring contributions from twenty-seven leading progressives, it’s a book full of ideas for how to resist, and discussions of why it’s so important.

Right now, we’re focused on making sure we’re doing our best to make the most of the opportunity for resistance that What We Do Now creates. To start with, we’ve got two events set up in New York City:

On January 17 (our release date!), at the powerHouse Arena in DUMBO, Brooklyn, Melville House co-publishers (and What We Do Now co-editors) Dennis Johnson and Valerie Merians will be in conversation with two of our contributors, M. Dove Kent (former executive director of Jews for Racial and Economic Justice) and Linda Sarsour (director of the Arab American Association of New York), and New York City Councilmember Brad Lander.

On January 19, at Book Culture on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, we’ll be having another discussion, featuring Dennis Johnson in conversation with two more of the book’s contributors: Harper’s magazine publisher John R. MacArthur and Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, spiritual leader of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the world’s largest LGBTQ synagogue.

There will be more! In fact, we’ve even created this page as a central hub for ideas and engagement that this book makes possible — and we encourage you to take a look and get involved! Here are a few of its suggestions:

—You can organize public readings from the book, or panel discussions about what we do now.
—Combining contributions from legislators, activists, and authors of both fiction and non-fiction, it’s perfect for discussion and reading groups.
—Organizations like the ACLUNARAL, and the National LGBTQ Task Force are all represented in the book. Approach local chapters in your community, or local groups doing similar work, who might want to come talk or contribute to your event.
—Local authors are natural allies in this struggle. Reach out to them to help build an event with this book! PEN is helping lead the way.
—Find or create a safe space in your community and offer it to organizations doing activist work, or use it to meet and develop community actions plans. Host a volunteer drive! Have copies on hand — good ideas are housed between these covers.
—Organize or host a teach-in based on the book!
—Talk to your local booksellers about creating an event in their store!
—If there’s a particular essay here or area of engagement that’s springing you into action, let us know! Just email us at [email protected]. We’ll keep a spreadsheet, and maybe can help connect people and groups working toward shared goals in different locations.

Stay safe, stay strong, stay angry, let’s do this!