Once it became clear Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee, I knew I had to get involved or I would not be able to live with myself if he won. My son has autism and the video footage of a presidential nominee making fun of a reporter with a disability was abhorrent to me and my family. So I volunteered with my county Democratic Party, made phone calls, assisted with registering voters, and helped hold parties for our volunteers.

 

After the election, I helped create the Together We Will Colorado group to bring together like-minded people around the state to support one another and stand up for our rights and the rights of others. We issue weekly action calls to reach out to elected officials about everything from legislation to cabinet nominees. We also facilitate ways for our members to be involved in local issues by providing them with information on the issues we care about and helping them get to rallies and protests.

 

They came after one of our own

Several of my neighbors were targets of racial hatred after the election. The Saturday after the election a mixed race family had their driveway and vehicles tagged with swastikas. We delivered letters of support and posted signs with hearts. Then a family received a threatening note with the “n” word spray painted on their door. We reached out to them and offered to raise money to help purchase a camera system to help them feel safe. Not one week later, it happened again. We decided to redouble our efforts to increase our fundraising and get them out of their home and into a safer area.  

 

We raised over $3000, purchased a home security system, and had members help them find a new home and move in.  We were also able to cover their moving costs and donate some new kitchen items. This was all through our members and community outreach via Nextdoor. There were additional victims in the same area after that, and we have also tried to reach out to them to help with security cameras. The most difficult issue we run into in these situations is finding someone to reach out to and offer help while respecting their privacy. They are scared, mad or both. We are doing our best to connect them to resources like the ACLU, NAACP, and ADL.

Never in my life did I think that I would see hate so close to home, and that my children’s friends would be fearful of being targets of hate in my community. Our Together We Will group enables us to mobilize and offer support to these families and let them know that their neighbors will not stand for hate. Working together and taking action is empowering.

This work has made me so grateful for the people who are willing to go above and beyond for their community, no matter how difficult it may be. My hope is that we are able to use our experience to keep taking these actions and help other groups find ways to reach out and support other victims of hate. You don’t have to raise money or do any sort of huge gesture. Sometimes just one letter or a simple sign with a heart painted on it can make a huge difference.