I was crushed yesterday morning when I woke to the news. All of the optimism and hope I’d gone to bed with on election night was sucked out and replaced with dread. A tiny pit in my stomach that grew with every passing moment. Crap. I took some time in the morning to grieve: for the progress we’ve made as a country, for the others who lost hope and optimism, for the many who will be singled out as different and persecuted for one reason or another.

I read some helpful articles, I wrote a little (mostly tweets), and I thought a lot. I’m still sad, angry, and lost, but I’m taking some next steps on the path forward. I’m not the protesting type. I respect that protests are an important tool to voice your opinion, but it’s not a tool for me.

So instead of protesting, here are some of the things I will be trying to do. Maybe this list will help some of you as well.

Volunteer

I have already been volunteering this year to help with my son’s PTA. I’m going to continue supporting them and helping at the school when and where I can. I will also continue to look for other opportunities with local organizations that need help. Where possible, I will try to find opportunities that we can do as a family to encourage my son to be generous with his time as well.

Here are some great organizations worth volunteering with:

Donate

When I have extra money, I will be giving some to charities that help improve diversity, support civil rights, and protect the environment. I can’t directly help with many of their efforts, but even a little bit of money can help.

Here are a few worth supporting:

Reach out

I’m going to make an effort to get to know my neighbors and the people in my community, workplace, and extended network who don’t match my skin tone, religion, sexuality, or nationality. I will break out of my introverted bubble more and chat with them, learn from them, and help them in whatever small ways I can. I will help to introduce them and connect them to others as much as I can.

I will follow more diverse people on the web, listen to their stories, and share them more frequently.

Be kind

I’m going to hold the door, offer to help when I see someone struggling, and openly greet people. I will strive to give people the benefit of the doubt, my full attention, and a genuine smile when we interact. I will try to be an example of kindness for my son to learn from.

Protect

As part of that kindness, I will call out hate and bigotry when I see it. I will support and engage with people who are being persecuted if I can defuse the situation, and report it to authorities if I can’t. I will strive to be a compassionate witness and an unexpected friend.

Write in

I will write my representatives about issues I believe in and ask for their support. I will write to organizations and companies whose policies or actions are dangerous, unkind, or broken. I will contact local organizations about problems I see in the community, infrastructure, and elsewhere.

Spend attention sparingly

I will not give my attention or energy to things that encourage hate and fear, and that don’t improve the world in meaningful ways. I won’t give attention to fear-mongering media that seeks to profit from hype and tragedy. I will spend less time consuming hate and anger on social media, and more time writing and creating things that build up instead.