Anti-Racist Work in Solidarity Now, and After November 3

It is unlikely that November 3 will be a liminal day. Nineteen states allow ballots to be counted after November 3. It may be weeks or more before the election results are final. There’s a lot of justifiable anxiety in our country-- about voter suppression, about counting every ballot, and questions about whether a peaceful transition of power is even possible.

You can sit in this anxiety, alone, but we don’t recommend it. This is a moment to find strength through expanding our networks of solidarity. Whatever the outcome, it is clear that our country is past the tipping point of reshaping our democracy. Here in Santa Clara County, we’ve seen 800 volunteers join the Rapid Response Network to protect immigrants. Thousands have joined Black Lives Matter rallies in our streets, and across the country the movement to create a legitimate multiracial democracy is snowballing with broader support than seen even in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. An ethnically diverse coalition worked with Assembly member Shirley Weber to bring Proposition 16 to the California ballot. For 39 years, the African American Community Service Agency produced the local Juneteenth celebration, marking the end of slavery in the US. In 2021, following another coalition effort, Juneteenth will be a paid holiday for all county employees—a historic change that is likely to ripple across the state. “A Change is Gonna Come” has been repurposed for 2020, with a new generation believing in the need and the possibility of becoming an anti-racist, welcoming nation.

#TogetherWeVote was a campaign that embraced both the election season and the larger multiracial democratic movement. Latinos United for a New America, the African American Community Service Agency, and the Jewish Community Relations Council spent the summer posting dozens of GOTV videos on social media that gave voice to people from diverse ethnicities, races and religions. The effort highlighted democracy achieved through solidarity. With each voice shared, we envisioned another person not only finding their way to the ballot box, but also to a diversity, equity and inclusion effort somewhere in their world.

Our advice for this fraught moment is to find strength in your faith or cultural tradition, find a solidarity-focused group to join, and cultivate some level of patience while all the votes are counted. There is much hard work ahead that demands relationship building and working in solidarity, and there are many ways to join, even during COVID.

Diane Fisher, Jewish Community Relations Council
Chava Bustamente, Latinos United for a New America
Milan Balinton, African American Community Service Agency