The holidays are finally here, and I’m sure many of your calendars are filled with travel plans, parties, and family gatherings over the next week. But between the last-minute shopping and the overcooked ham, we can all take a little time to make a big difference. If you’re looking for that perfect thing to round out a year of social justice work, we have a few suggestions.
If there’s something on the horizon in your area that you’d like to see featured in the MTV News Social Justice Forecast, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
All Month Long:
Everywhere: Volunteer to make America better with Serve 306.
Trump’s presidency has raised major concerns for social justice — and the folks at Serve 306 came up with a great idea to fight back. Since Trump won 306 electoral votes, Serve wants people to volunteer 306 hours of time to causes that may suffer over the next four years. It works out to only an hour and a half each week, but even that small amount of time quickly adds up.
You can start by taking the pledge at the Serve 306 website, which will also sign you up for regular newsletters reporting the collective impact you and other volunteers are having across the country. Need help getting started? Serve 306 has you covered with Opportunity Finder, a database of volunteer requests. Whether you want to roll up your sleeves and work on the front lines or prefer lending a hand online, connecting with important causes is only a few clicks away.
We’re looking at a panel on refugee and immigrant issues in Lafayette, California; a Santa-themed beach cleanup in St. Petersburg, Florida; and a post-holiday black femme healing circle in Miami, Florida.
Sunday, December 18
Lafayette, California: Learn how you can support immigrants and refugees at A Narrow Bridge: Post-Election Briefing on Refugee and Immigrant Issues.
4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
945 Risa Rd.
Lafayette, CA 94549
Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay is hosting an evening of panel discussions about immigration in the United States. Rooted in Jewish values for community service, these panels will educate attendees about the struggles of immigrants and refugees coming into the country and offer ways that everyone can support them. Speakers include local service providers, rabbis, and attorneys who work with immigrant communities. The event is free and a great way to take part in the holiday season.
St. Petersburg, Florida: Get on the “nice” list at Santa’s Beach Cleanup.
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
13090 Gandy Blvd. N
St. Petersburg, FL 33702
Gandy Beach is one of the most polluted beaches in Pinellas County, Florida. Keep Pinellas Beautiful (KPB) and local clothing line Fluid Florida have joined forces to get that beach clean for Christmas. Everyone is invited to bring their friends and family for a day of fun and good work. There is a $10 registration fee to ensure all volunteers get food, drinks, and a festive Santa hat! Give the gift of a pristine beach to Pinellas County this year.
Monday, December 19
New York, New York: Gather round for stories of compassion at the Art, Humanity, and Action fundraiser.
7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
The LGBT Community Center, Room 310
208 West 13th St.
New York, NY 10011
One way to challenge the hate that’s been perpetuated so openly over the past few months is to tell stories of love. Some of New York’s best storytellers will be onhand at this fundraiser to share personal experiences of compassion and hope, along with guest speakers from the Muslim Community Network and Planned Parenthood. These speeches and performances will bring a little light into these long winter nights. Tickets are $15 and the proceeds will go to the Anti-Violence Project, a New York–based organization that works to end violence in LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities.
Saturday, January 7
Miami, Florida: Recover from the holidays at Black Femmes and Relationships: A Healing Circle.
10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
The holidays can be wonderful, but they can also be stressful, triggering, or outright traumatic for some. To help black women and femmes decompress as 2017 comes rolling in, S.O.U.L. Sisters Leadership Collective is creating a safe place for black femmes to speak openly about their relationship struggles, whether romantic, familial, or platonic. This event is free and exclusively for gender-nonconforming, trans, and cisgender black women and femmes. Childcare is available. Check the event page for registration and more information.
We hope you all have a safe and happy holiday season. Take some extra time for the people you love — maybe you can convince some of them to volunteer with you or donate to a cause you believe in. Make the season brighter however you can. Whether that means calling down a storm or bringing out the sun, we need you!