Depressed About Trump? Help These Miami Groups Fight for LGBT Rights, Immigrants, and People of Color

Depressed About Trump? Help These Miami Groups Fight for LGBT Rights, Immigrants, and People of Color
Photo by Ian Wilten

While President-elect Donald Trump spent yesterday mugging his way through White House photo ops, America's huge contingent of nonwhite, nonmale citizens began packing in for a four-year polar night. The Republican Party has control of the Senate, House, and presidency, and has secured its highest number of governorships in the modern era. The Democratic Party has been relegated to little more than a feeble resistance movement.

The public gave the Republican Party a blank check after Trump ran on a platform of open hostility toward immigrants, Mexicans, women, Muslims, and virtually every other marginalized group in U.S. society.

It's safe to say a significant number of federal welfare programs, justice reform initiatives, and environmental protections could be on the chopping block in the next four years. People of color have already reported hate crimes in the two days since Trump won the election: Racist displays have sprung up across the country, and law enforcement officers told the New York Times yesterday that three anti-Muslim attacks have already been reported nationwide.

Despair comes easily in times like this. But there's a cure: In Miami, dozens of civil-rights and social-welfare groups will need all the resources they can muster.

Plus, Give Miami Day, a citywide initiative to get people to donate to local charities and nonprofits, is coming up next Thursday, November 17.

If you're so inclined, you can help. Here's where to start:

Civil Rights

Dream Defenders: The Dream Defenders is a Florida-based nonprofit social-justice group that advocates for equality for people of color, an end to police militarization, an end to gender discrimination, and widespread nonviolence and peace at home and abroad. The group organizes protest marches, art events, and alternative history lessons, among many other happenings. You can make donations online.

Black Lives Matter Alliance Broward: Broward County is nothing short of a civil-rights nightmare, crammed with rogue cops and a white, out-of-touch prosecutor who's held the same post for close to 30 years. Broward's Black Lives Matter Alliance — a close-knit group of community activists — meets the last Tuesday of every month.

Community Justice Project: Miami's Community Justice Project is a group of lawyers and legal aides who work with people of color and low-income communities to ensure they have a voice in politics and the legal system. The group has worked to fight police brutality, slumlords, and illegal evictions and helped provide legal aid to scores of underprivileged Americans.

Florida Immigrant Coalition: A statewide confederation of 65 groups, the Immigrant Coalition is one of the the state's largest Latin American immigrant-advocacy organizations. The group advocates for not only immigration-law reform but also rights for undocumented workers, farmworkers, and immigrant students.

CAIR Florida: The Sunshine State's offshoot of the national Council of American-Islamic Relations, the Tampa-based CAIR Florida commits money and legal resources to Muslim victims of hate crimes and fights police and government profiling of Islamic people.

Power U Center for Social Change: Miami's PowerU seeks to develop "the leadership of black and brown youth and black women in South Florida" to end systemic oppression and racism.

Women's Rights:

The Miami-Dade Women's Fund: The Women's Fund, one of the largest women's rights organizations in Miami, advocates for economic security and health care for women. The group also awards grants to smaller groups that help underserved women across the Miami-Dade.

Fanm Ayisyen nan Miyami: FANM is one of the world's premier organizations working to protect Haitian women both in Miami and nationwide. Its director, Marleine Bastien, is a licensed social worker and one of the most prominent activists in Miami. In addition to fighting for Haitian women's rights, the group also advocates better education, literacy, and immigration rights for Haitians.

In addition, Miami-Dade County's Commission for Women has a comprehensive list of local women's organizations on its website.

Labor:

SEIU Florida: Florida's largest service-workers union, a branch of the national Service Employees International Union, is the largest driver in the "Fight for $15" campaign to raise the minimum wage. SEIU organizes protests consistently throughout the year.

Miami Workers Center: The Workers Center is a self-described "grassroots" group aiming to organize the city's low-income workers of all races into a powerful bloc to fight corporate greed and employee exploitation.

Farmworkers Association of Florida: Many farmworkers across the state are treated unfairly. Some are undocumented immigrants, who, due to their legal status, do not enjoy many of the protections afforded to average Americans. The association helps protect some of the state's most vulnerable working people.

Government Transparency and Participation:

New Florida Majority: New Florida Majority was one of the groups behind Miami's failed campaign-finance-reform amendment this summer. The group fights for transparency in government and increased voter participation, and hopes to elect a nonracist "majority" in state, local, and national governments.

New Leaders Council: The New Leaders Council recruits progressive "political entrepreneurs" and trains them to help run political campaigns, raise money for candidates, or start their own advocacy groups.

Engage Miami: Founded by a group of young local laywers, Engage Miami aims to get more young people involved in politics — especially the local kind that actually affects most people day-to-day. They're trying to convince Millennials that they ought to care about things like zoning board hearings and lobbyist transparency. "Our mission is to increase youth engagement within Miami-Dade by developing a culture of civic participation that is impactful, interesting, and fun," their site reads.

LGBT:

SAVE: The region's leading LGBT advocacy group, SAVE takes donations and operates a political action committee that funds LGBT-friendly legislators. The group also does a great job tracking LGBT abuse and anti-gay laws across the state.

Palm Beach County Human Rights Council: Though primarily centered on Palm Beach politics, the Human Rights Council is one of the loudest LGBT voices in the state and has fought hard to end gay conversion therapy across Florida.

Environment:

The South Florida Wildlands Association: Few people love the Everglades as much as this group's director, Matt Schwartz. He pops up any time someone threatens to drill for oil, frack, or build in the Everglades — a tough job during the Rick Scott years.

Urban Paradise Guild: What the South Florida Wildlands Association does for the Glades, the Guild does for the City of Miami. The UPG and its members are dedicated to bringing back a sense of "natural habitat" to Miami. Oh, and they hate litter.

Love the Everglades Movement: Very few elected officials seem to love the fact that Miami sits next to one of the most biodiverse areas in the world. So the Love the Everglades Movement convened to persuade people not to pave over the River of Grass. The group brings together a diverse coalition of teachers, politicians, clergy, businesspeople, and others to ensure the area stays pollutant-free.

Food Safety:

Food Not Bombs: Fort Lauderdale remains one of the U.S. cities most actively hostile toward homeless people. Food Not Bombs has been feeding the city's homeless for decades — even as Fort Lauderdale continues to pass laws criminalizing actions such as placing backpacks on the ground. The group also maintains a chapter in Miami.

Affordable Housing

Miami Homes for All: As studies seem to show every single week, Miami is expensive as hell and not getting any cheaper. Its rich residents fight affordable-housing initiatives every chance they get, but Miami Homes for All helps the city's poorest residents fight back.

Youth Shelters

Miami Bridge: The organization is Miami-Dade's only 24-hour shelter for abandoned or abused kids ages 10 to 17. The shelter provides for more than 500 children and teens each year.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Did we miss a worthy organization? Send jerry.iannelli@miaminewtimes.com an email, and we'll update this post.


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