“That is one thing that Men call ‘hope.’ ‘Amdir’ we call it, ‘looking up.’ But there is another which is founded deeper. ‘Estel’ we call it, that is ‘trust.’ It is not defeated by the ways of the world, for it does not come from experience, but from our nature.”
–Finrod, Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth, HoME X Morgoth’s Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien
The picture attached to this post is of my tattoo. In the Elvish language of Sindarin, it means “Estel” or “hope”. I got it at one of the lowest points in my life, so that hope would always be with me. I’ve thought about it a lot this week as my hope in humanity was tested in ways I never thought it would be in my lifetime.
I write historical romances. It’s kind of par for the course that I spend a lot of time thinking about how people lived at other times in history–inevitably harder times. As a woman, I wonder how my female ancestors endured when they were forced into arranged marriages and treated like possessions (or worse, much worse). As a person who has never experienced prejudice because of the color of my skin, I am awed by the strength and resilience of people who were and continue to be enslaved/oppressed/impoverished for that very reason. As a cis het woman who has more or less always know that’s exactly what she was, I marvel at those who every day have to wade through a sea of abuses and micro-aggressions just to be who they are inside. I am constantly made aware of the privileges I hold, being white, being Canadian, being straight, being cis-gendered. I think the reason I’m compelled to write about history is because I will never, deep-down, understand the compulsion to hate people who are different. (Which isn’t to say I’ve never hated anyone–I have. And I’ve been confronted with my own prejudice on multiple occasions.)
I’ve spent the last few days writing this post over and over again in my head, and I’m still not sure what to say. I just know that I can’t stay silent. I am appalled that so many US citizens voted the way they did, for a blatantly and unapologetically racist, sexist, misogynistic, xenophobic bigot with ties to Russian dictators and the worst of Wall Street. I live in a place, Quebec, where we’ve come close to adopting some very fascist legislation–most recently thee years ago–so one thing I am intimate with is the suffocating fear these kinds of political actions can bring on.
I want to say to all my LGBTQ+ friends and readers, all those who are POC and First Nations and of the Muslim faith, to young women devastated that Hillary will not be the first female president, and anyone else affected by Drumpf’s totalitarian regime, that there is still hope. It’s taking me a lot to write that, and I am super privileged, so I can’t imagine how hard it must be for you to cling to even a shred of hope. I know terror and despair are like boulders crushing the breath from your chest. Take care of yourselves and take the actions you need to survive. I am clinging to the hope I try to carry with me every day. I hope you will, too.
In that spirit, if any of you know of organizations that provide shelter or therapy, legal or any other kind of support for those most in danger of losing their rights or worse, please post that information in the comments. I’ll update this post in a week or so, for ease of access. Let’s come together to help everyone who’s most at risk right now. Because I still believe that we are stronger together.
Here are a few to get the ball rolling. I’m sure donations to these organizations are more than welcome!
-The Trevor Project: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/
-This is a living document some amazing people are putting together to provide LGBTQ+ people with all sorts of necessary information and links: https://docs.google.com/…/1rl6h6If4HllNoZmRF3cOl-JGO5T…/pub…
-GLBT National Help Center: http://www.glbthotline.org/
-The hashtags #TransLawHelp and #TransCrowdfund
-The Indian Law Resource Center: http://indianlaw.org/content/programs
-International Rescue Committee (help for illegal and recent immigrants): https://www.rescue.org/topic/immigration
Please add any local or US-based organizations you know of to the comments (geoblocking is messing up my Google).
Love and strength to you all,