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The holiday season is a time to reflect on things that matter most, including family, friends and community. However, this year is nerve-wracking for many of us, due to our country’s impending political situation that puts the people we love the most at even greater risk. But this doesn’t mean that our efforts wane, or that we become complacent. Let’s lift up organizations that are striving for a country and world that works for everyone — not just cis white men.

1. Planned Parenthood

Organizations: planned parenthood

Even though the Supreme Court recently struck down Texas’ abortion law, attacks on reproductive rights are sure to ramp up in an all-GOP House, Senate and White House. For example, even though abortion in Texas is technically still legal, the state now requires burial or cremation whenever a woman has an abortion. Planned Parenthood is one of the only organizations that is still fighting to preserve the reproductive rights of women, regardless of socioeconomic status. Additionally, they continue to provide general health services for women, including pap smears, STD checks, physical exams and flu vaccines. Please click here to find out how you can get involved.

2. Muslim Advocates

Muslim Advocates is a civil rights organization that consists of a team of policy experts, lawyers and communication professionals who work on the front lines to advocate for people of the Muslim faith. This organization is currently engaged in lawsuits against the FBI and New York Police Department for racial and religious profiling and certainly will have a long battle ahead of them. Find out how you can help here.

3. Flint Water Crisis Response — Flint Kids

Organizations: Flint Kids

The Flint, Michigan, water crisis is far from over, and lead is still at dangerous levels in the water supply. Flint Kids is responding to this by awarding grants to local community organizations to increase resilience and access to resources among the children and youth of Flint. See how you can get involved.

4. Sylvia Rivera Law Project Organizations: Sylvia Rivera

The Sylvia Rivera Law Project is working for the day that all people are able to have agency over their gender identity and expression, regardless of race or socioeconomic status. This organization is tirelessly working to increase the visibility of transgender people of color so they can live lives free from discrimination and violence. Check out their website for their current campaigns.

5. Border AngelsOrganizations: Border Angels

Border Angels is a volunteer-run nonprofit organization that focuses on civil rights and social justice issues related to the U.S.-Mexican border. This organization is making a concerted effort to serve San Diego, California’s, migrant population in particular by offering legal advising and debunking stereotypes related to undocumented immigrants. Click here to learn more.

6. Hand in Hand for Syria

Organizations: Hand in Hand for Syria

Hand in Hand for Syria is one of a handful of organizations that is actually working within the war zones that many other humanitarian organizations have deemed to be unsafe. Their teams provide aid in the form of food, clothing, water and medical supplies in a country whose medical infrastructure has been torn apart. To find out how you can help support their cause, visit their website.

7. The Advancement Project

Organizations: advancement project

The Advancement Project is one major organization that is working to end the school-to-prison pipeline. This organization focuses on seeking and developing community-based solutions to inform their legal and political campaigns. According to their website:

” We have worked ‘on-the-ground,’ helping organized communities of color dismantle and reform the unjust and inequitable policies that undermine the promise of democracy. Simultaneously, we have aggressively sought and seized opportunities to promote this approach to racial justice.”

One of the Advancement Project’s major campaigns is called Ending the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Track, which provides resources to parents, students, educators and lawmakers for ways to advocate for racial and educational equity.



Heather was born in Chicago and raised in Pasadena, California and proudly claims Oakland as her adopted home. She has a B.A. in African-American Studies from Smith College (proud Smithie), and a Masters in Education Leadership from New York University. Heather's spent the past decade working in the field of educational equity and advocacy. She currently teaches Child and Adolescent Development at San Francisco State University and manages a blog called What's Happening Black Oakland? She also contributes to Blavity, a blog for black millennials. Heather's committed to writing interesting and relevant stories that aren't being covered by the mainstream media, while straying away from the single story that is usually imposed on people of color. In her free time she enjoys traveling and going to live shows.

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