By Briana Vannozzi
“Politicians respond to votes and money. I intend to use both to try to shape their actions,” said Korey Hughes.
In the days following Donald Trump’s election, Democrats Hughes and Jack Gattanella put their frustrations to work, donating to nonprofits whose platforms counter the Trump administration’s agenda.
“It’s not a lot per month, but whatever I can do. This will help and then also maybe showing up to some protests here and there depending on what their goals are,” Gattanella said.
What kind of support has the American Civil Liberties Union seen in the days since the election?
“Well we’ve seen a very significant uptick in support with new members, many new members — we have acquired about 6,000 or 7,000 new members I believe just since the election and that is against a prior member count of about 15,000,” said Diane Du Brule, development director of the ACLU of New Jersey.
Groups like the ACLU are seeing a surge in contributions, website visits and volunteer applications are increasing, national membership is doubled and since the ACLU’s intervention with the executive order issuing a travel ban, big money is pouring in.
“We took in $24 million over the weekend and that’s compared to a normal website traffic in a year of $3 million or $4 million,” Du Brule said.
“People want to make their voices heard. They want to see this change, they want to continue the progress that we’ve made,” said Casey Olesko, communications manager at Planned Parenthood Northern, Central and Southern New Jersey.
De-funding Planned Parenthood has been a mainstay of the Republican ticket and since Trump’s election, the national and New Jersey chapters are seeing increased support.
“Not only folks who are coming out and donating financially, but people who are donating their time and their passion and coming out to events that we’ve been holding all across the state because they want to take action, they want to get involved,” Olesko said.
“We’ve actually had a significant outpouring of support for us from Muslims and non-Muslims. We’ve gotten a number of emails from people that are offering to help, to volunteer, to just reach out to their communities and support Muslims and Islam any way they can,” said Jim sues, executive director of New Jersey’s Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Sues says unsolicited donations are up. He hopes it continues across the board.
“I want to do anything that I can to try and help out the organization. I hope that they’ll put the money to good use as far as protecting citizens and standing up for them,” Gattanella said.
The question now turn to sustainability. Civil liberties advocates don’t expect to see this grassroots activism dwindle, but remember this has all happened in the first couple of weeks of a four-year term. And remember, for every bit of activism countering the Trump administration, there are many millions of Americans who support his agenda.