Leaving the Women's March last Saturday felt, for many, like a weight had been lifted.
Last year was a confusing time, and many felt alienated from their own country's decisions.
The ever noted 'echo-chamber' had done its job and when hearing about populist decisions and opinions many couldn't understand how they were made.
People could jump to their own, populist perception, the 'other' people, the people who voted for Trump, or Ukip, or Brexit or support the 8th Amendment in Ireland were stupid, racist etc.
So when, last saturday, you stood, knowing 99,000 women, men and children (and there were men there) stood with you, and countless more around the world, you felt part of something bigger than yourself.
And upon leaving you felt placated, you had done your bit, you could post a photo on Instagram because the day felt so good and then, go back to your life, warm in the knowledge you had done something.
But not everyone felt that way.
Well, when you looked around, who did you see, honestly?
It was, unfortunately, a sea of white faces, obviously with plenty of exceptions, but a notable majority of the crowd was still white and female.
Luvvie Ajayie was one of the people who felt that way.
Interestingly, the actual founders of the march were not white, they were WOC from the US.
Jamilah Lemieux wrote a very interesting piece in Colorlines, explaining her decision not to join the march, despite its organisers being personal heroes of hers.
She explained how deeply and horribly ironic she found white American anguish for the Trump election, when 53% of white female voters went for Trump.
I'm really tired of Black and Brown women routinely being tasked with fixing White folks' messes. I'm tired of being the moral compass of the United States. Many of the White women who will attend the march are committed activists, sure. But for those new-to-it White women who just decided that they care about social issues? I'm not invested in sharing space with them at this point in history.
And before you close up, throw your hands in the air and claim offence because you were just trying to help, read this.
These feelings have been felt by the black community in the UK too, as well as the LGBT community and countless others, but hear them out.
Don't shut down, listen.
And don't let it dishearten you, let it light the fire in your belly.
Jen Psaki said it best in this fantastic essay, 'The march shouldn't be a moment to rest and celebrate. It should be a warm up.'
So let's not dwell on the fact that the march was predominantly white, that happened, it's true, it doesn't make it bad, the march was a beautiful day, but how can you prove you're not just a fair-weather activist.
We've put together some ideas and resources that can help you prove the most cynical wrong, to show that you can listen to others, that you're feelings aren't so fragile you can't take some criticism. That you really care.
The march shouldn't be a moment to rest and celebrate. It should be a warm up.
Think About What You Care About
This might seem a little stupid, but if you marched - think why you did it?
Was it for democracy and voting practises, for LGBT awareness and acceptance, for the environment, to stop the gender pay gap, reproductive rights, freedom of religion, disability rights, police brutality, institutionalised racism, the list goes on.
Whatever it was, by thinking about your priorities it will help you plan your activism. You might be more moved to be act about one thing more than another. Remember, you are just one person! You can do a lot, but you can't put the world on your shoulders.
Contact your MP
Websites like this are a quick and easy way to find out who your MP is, what party they are in, what speeches they have given and how to contact them.
Whatever your political thoughts, one of the best things about our current democratic system is that MPs work for you, so talk to them. How do they know to care about an issues if they don't know what it is? They might even disagree with you, but if enough people from their constituency agree, they are more likely to change their mind. They want your vote, remember?
Vote with your pound
Capitalism has its pitfalls, but one of the most powerful aspects of it is that you can vote with your pound. With the wealth of knowledge on the internet you can find out what companies are up to what. If you disagree with their practises, don't buy from them. This works for movies where there are no women or people of colour in them, shops which don't have good workers rights, literally everything. Business aren't usually led by ethics, but bottom lines, make them listen because they want your money.
Signing petitions has got to be one of the easiest ways to get involved. Websites like change.org mean you can start and sign petitions which usually get sent to MPs. Likewise, Parliament's official petitions website means that once a petition reaches 10,000 it demands a response from Government.
Social media means that you can tell everyone what you're doing. And no, it's not bragging. Tweet, Email, Facebook, Instagram, whatever you do, do it. Lots of people don't help because they are ignorant to the fact they can! Show how easy it is to help a cause and give people the opportunity to join you.
Try and leave the echo-chamber
Obviously it's tempting to stay in your comfort zone and have your own views echoed back to you in a soothing manner but it might be worth trying to engage with arguments you don't really agree with, or people you don't usually talk to. Empathy is such an important part of peaceful change, so listen to why someone feels a certain way before dimissing their perspective.
If you're trying to support a group of people - Muslims, women, refugees, whoever - talk to community leaders, charity representatives and them! If you need to not be ignorant about those who oppose you, you need to not be ignorant to the people you are trying to help. This will help avoid that 'western saviour' complex that can be so damaging.
Yes, the reason this whole article started. You know why the Women's March felt good on Saturday? Because it was, what sends a better message than feet on the street. Sometimes, like the women in Poland, it works, and sometimes, like the Iraq war protests, it doesn't. But the unity and hope it brings is worth a whole lot.
Joining groups on Facebook is a good way to hear about new strikes and marches coming up, for example Strike 4 Repeal is encouraging women in Ireland to strike on the 8th March to repeal the 8th Amendment, which equates the right to life of a pregnant woman with that of an embryo or foetus and, in doing so, criminalises abortion in all cases except where to continue a pregnancy would result in death.
Here are some links to get you started and give you inspiration: