A Post-Election Letter to Staff

imagesby Karen Topakian

Dear Staff,

Though the presidential election took place only last month, it feels like a lifetime. As we struggle to accept the news and wrestle with the impacts of a Trump presidency, I’ve drafted some initial thoughts about how our organization will respond during these uncertain times. I want to hear yours as well, because we’re all in this together.

First, we will look to our mission and values for guidance. These principles will allow us to continue meeting the community’s needs. Needs that will increase if the President-elect fulfills his campaign promises. We will assure our clients and supporters that we will stay focused while remaining ever vigilant to the potential threats of: deportations, a registry of people of the Muslim faith, the gutting of environmental protections, among other campaign promises.

Second, staying focused on our work and our mission will require great discipline. The President-elect’s daily tweets can and will distract us. Therefore, the Communications Department will now assume responsibility for monitoring his Twitter whirlwind. If Trump tweets about rounding up immigrants, we will respond. However, if he tweets about SNL and Broadway plays, we will ignore them. If the Comms determines a tweet deserves a response, it will provide one. Otherwise, we will ignore the distraction. As usual, the Program Department will respond to policy proposals affecting our mission. Please give our colleagues some extra love for taking on this onerous task.

Third, we will need to work closely with our allies to combat the worst this administration has to offer. Therefore, we will seek mutual support in our hours of need.

Fourth, we will keep our messaging short and pithy. In the past, we’ve often over-explained our programs. The President-elect successfully connected with voters with his short, sharp messages. Though we loathe the paucity of facts and the outright lies, we should examine his form. I don’t advocate dumbing down our messages, just making them concise.

Finally, we need to stay in shape for the next four years. We need to nurture each other and ourselves. Let’s keep our minds alert and our bodies active: by holding walking meetings, working at a standing desk, resting, staying hydrated and clear minded. Let’s commit to eating lunch together weekly while talking about non-work topics.

Remember, this ain’t no 5k race or even a marathon. It’s an ultra-marathon combined with an Ironman triathlon. Let’s make sure we’re physically and mentally ready to face the struggles ahead. We can assume this will be a time of unprecedented assault on our values, therefore, we must remain vigilant to protect our rights, our planet and our democracy.



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