Support your local community by volunteering at these nonprofits

The first 100 days of Trump’s administration have aggressively threatened human rights. Even then, Trump went as far as to say, “No administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days.” (Um, #AlternativeFacts)

Trump has threatened women’s rights, has continued to spread bigotry and racism with his travel bans, has worked against affordable healthcare, has shaken up international relationships, and in March, Trump’s budget plan saw cuts in funding for arts, humanities, and public media. In a nutshell, Trump is attacking and anything that will resist his policies and (lack thereof) values.

Remember, this is not normal. This was the first time any president had proposed such a measure.

Without funding provided by federal arts programs, many organizations that promote the arts and humanities throughout the country would have inevitably suffered. Head of Americans for the Arts, Robert Lynch told The Washington Post, “There are few arts organizations at the top that are very, very stable, but most of them are struggling everyday. They are not bottom-line driven; they are mission driven, trying to do something good, something for the public.”

Earlier this month, however, some of our worries were alleviated.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, “the National Endowment for the Arts and the hundreds of community organizations that the agency supports nationwide, the arts world found hope in congressional leaders’ agreement.” NEA funding would continue in 2017, and increase by $2 million.

But with Trump as “president” of the U.S., it’s best to stay aware and never get too comfortable with small victories. It’s necessary for us to continue to panic, to be angry, and to stay aware –– it’s even more important to do so in constructive ways. Above all, it’s crucial that we stay proactive during Trump’s administration.

As Junot Diaz said during one of his talks, “I need folks to actually head the fuck down and give something back to the civic. The art helped me, but it doesn’t do a spooky indirect process, and we don’t need just spooky indirect processes, we need people metiendo mano.”

But before we can begin to mobilize our communities, we need to take that first step. Go out there and volunteer –– or donate –– at organizations that work toward supporting communities and individuals affected by this administration.  

These are nonprofits and organizations that focus on promoting self-expression through the arts and that promote the importance of literacy to underresourced and underrepresented communities:

1.) WriteGirl

WriteGirl promotes creativity and self-expression through different genres of writing to empower girls and help them achieve higher education goals.

2.) Las Fotos Project

Las Fotos Project is a community-based photography program that aims to bring “positive change for teen girls facing adversity.” They encourage young teens to express themselves through photography and let their imagination run wild.

3.) Youth Speak Collective

YSC provides the necessary resources for low-income, at-risk youth and their families. Their mission is to empower the youth in underresourced communities through a myriad of different programs that focus on higher education, sports, community work, digital media, and visual arts.

4.) 826LA

826LA supports students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills. They have different chapters nationwide, and hold different workshops throughout the year dedicated to promoting the importance of literacy.

Here are other nonprofits and organizations you can volunteer with that also support underresourced communities through social justice efforts:

5.) Youth Justice Coalition

YJC’s goal is to dismantle policies and institutions that “have ensured massive lock-up of people of color, widespread law enforcement, violence and corruption, and consistent violation of youth and communities.”

6. Chrysalis

Chrysalis believes that “a job is the single most important step someone can take out of poverty and onto a pathway of self-sufficiency.” The organization holds job-readiness classes and one-on-one appointments to help prepare individuals get back into the workforce.

7.) MEND Poverty (Meet Each Need with Dignity)

MEND’s mission is to “break the bonds of poverty by providing basic human needs and a pathway to self-reliance.” You can head over to their donation center and donate basic essentials such as deodorant, toothbrushes, lotion, etc.  

8.) Immigrant Youth Coalition
IYC is an “undocumented queer youth led grassroots that fights for immigrant justice and against criminalization.”

9.) Homeboy Industries

Homeboy Industries provides hope and support to formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated men and women. Homeboy Industries allows them to “redirect their lives and become contributing members of our community” once again.

10.) Downtown Women’s Center

Downtown Women’s Center aims to provide “permanent supportive housing and a safe and healthy community fostering dignity, respect, and personal stability, and to advocate ending homelessness for women.”

Pamela Avila is a reader, writer, blogger, and Bukowski’s #1 fan. She received her B.A. from UC Santa Cruz in Literature. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @bypamelaavila. Read more of her work on

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