short at home #11

planning for election day beyond voting

You might be wondering, “Back so soon, Alyana?” Yes, I know. I just published an edition like two days ago, but Election Day 2020 is such a singular event that it warranted the newsletter equivalent of double-texting. In this abbreviated edition, I’m going to do a round-up of several safety planning resources I’ve seen. I’d tweeted before about preparing for the worst-case scenario, and now is a good time to starting planning.

For those who aren’t in the know, safety plans are basically contingencies. Regardless of who is in office, we are in the middle of several crises: an impending wave of evictions and the homelessness crisis it will bring, a climate crisis, and a worsening pandemic. Add onto that increased militia activity and violence and a President that’s wishy-washy on the peaceful transfer of power (and his repeated undermining of the only safe way to vote during a pandemic), and you’ve got a cocktail strong enough to take down our failed state of a country.

If you hadn't heard of safety plans outside of an environmental disaster context (or more recently, mass-shooting or terrorism situations) then hopefully these resources will help clarify the role of a safety plan. If you are worried about your safety and wellbeing in the wake of the election, this is for you. If you are worried about the safety and wellbeing of your loved ones post-election, then you might want to share this with them. Thankfully, I feel like a lot of people have been inadvertently planning for the worst throughout the pandemic: whether that be through self-protection, self-sufficiency (gardens, community fridges, etc), or mutual aid.

One of my first experiences with safety-planning was back in 2016, when students on my campus started a buddy system for commuters—so that people who felt unsafe taking the subway home alone after the election would have someone else there with them. Community organizing, in my view, is important for precisely these moments. If you didn’t already do so at the beginning of the pandemic, start getting in touch with your neighbors and local mutual aid groups (make sure to support ones that have existed long before 2020). Beyond that, here are some resources for creating your own safety plan:

  • Start crafting your safety plan by reading this article from Truth Out, which will help ease you into planning (an audio version is also available.) This is a good starting point, and it includes a list of resources at the bottom for further reading.

  • Next, once you’re feeling a little less overwhelmed by the prospect of a safety plan, go through this Safety Checklist for November. It’s long, but chockful of helpful resources like a self-care checklist, tips on how to prepare your home, resources for those who might engage in protests, and more. [via Clarissa Brooks]

  • CW: Suicide. For those of us who are struggling with our mental health during the pandemic, the election could be potentially harmful. Create a plan now for how to manage the aftermath of the election and ensure your wellbeing. This is a sample plan from Nylah Burton; keep in mind that not all plans will look the same. Tailor it to your needs. Set times to check-in with your friends, find out what your options are for mental health emergencies outside of calling 911, and take care of yourself.

  • Finally, go through this checklist from Clever Girl Crafting. I recommend looking at this one last and only after you’ve already read the above two resources—it’s an Instagram infographic, so it should only ever add to your reading, not be the sum of it.

Once you’ve made your own safety plan and feel confident about your preparedness, think about those who are more vulnerable than you. What can you do to ensure the safety of those at the margins, including undocumented folks, people in prison, people experiencing homelessness, people in poverty, etc.? Now’s a good time to donate to your local bail fund or mutual aid group and affirm your commitment to anti-racist work.

This isn’t meant to unduly scare you, but don’t be naive. In my opinion, people in the U.S. have a little too much faith in the durability of their democratic institutions (good old American exceptionalism.) As someone whose family has directly dealt with colonialism and a dictatorship, I don’t subscribe to the belief that coups, civil unrest, and authoritarian regimes only happen abroad.

Don’t panic, just be prepared. If you live alone, plan a call to a loved one. Surround yourself with people who will help guide you through this process, do something to help take your mind off it. I’ve compiled all of my tune out 🎧 resources for anyone that needs something to occupy themselves with. Please take care of yourselves this election day. Until next time.

Do you have any election day plans or any other resources for safety planning? Hit reply on this email (or comment on this post) to let me know!