Post Trump Messaging: Principles and Tools for Solidarity

November 23, 2016

Last week found us on the phone with a bunch of incredibly brave, resilient water justice campaigners for a long-scheduled messaging call. Of course, we tweaked the content.

Even as the Trump bullies start to deliver on their threats, though, much of the messaging guidance we shared still stands.

It’s about tapping into what our folks know and care about, deep in their hearts. Safety. Family. Equality. Tapping into the solidarity and bravery that can emerge from fear, even in the bleakest times. Tapping into the opportunity that now presents itself to knit our movements for justice, equality and sustainability into one unstoppable force. And telling the beautiful stories of resistance that are already popping up like dandelions through the pavement.

Don’t forget that Donald Trump won the election with 25% of eligible voters. That means 75% of eligible voters (and we know how many folks that doesn’t include) are much more aligned with the values of justice, equality and respect we share. We have to reach those folks, now more than ever.

Here are three tools to help you do that in whatever campaigns and initiatives you’re working on in the Trump era.

  1. Camp out on those values you know so well: safety, family, stewardship for future generations. And add another: patriotism. Trump’s hatred is not the America we believe in, and we’ll stand for the families and communities who are at risk because of reckless scapegoating and bullying. Weave this fundamental value in wherever and however you can. And if you’re squarely in the environmental movement, and haven’t yet built strong bridges to your social justice allies, please start now! Our movements can only succeed if they’re based on respect for and accountability to the folks most at risk from a Trump regime, and that means people of color, especially women of color.
  1. Make every space an organizing space. Today we need to leverage our meetings, social gatherings, coalition-building spaces and family gatherings (yes, including Thursday!) to seed new conversations, and new determination. Our friends at have an amazing resource library here. From tools to leverage people power to envisioning your spectrum of allies, this stuff is useful and portable. The visionary folks at AYNI Institute have an amazing series of training and support resources, most of which is now available for free online.
  1. Think about the funding side of the equation, and if you’re a funder, consider seriously upping your game in alignment with the great recommendations shared here by Vu Le. The rainy day you’ve been saving for? It’s here.

–Belinda Griswold