‘A Harm-Reduction Strategy’

K Romero*, a Mexican immigrant living in Pennsylvania, remains vigilant. After the 2016 election, Romero became active with a local progressive organization, but a commonplace obstacle soon emerged. The organization privileged the needs of white Democrats above everybody else’s, leaving women of color, like Romero, out in the proverbial cold. Racial exhaustion triggered Romero’s flight from the group but because she understands that authoritarian threats linger, she feels pulled back to activism four years later.

“I’m not going to sit and watch as fascism continues to rise,” she tells Remezcla. “I’m ready. I want to organize with a network of like-minded women of color. I’m just clueless about where to start.”

Many people living in the United States share Romero’s activated yet disoriented sentiments. Four years of overt racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, religious extremism, anti-intellectualism, and anti-science policies have yielded a situation that mess doesn’t begin to describe. The forces strengthened by the Trump cult continue to endanger us and, while the election of Joe Biden signals some symbolic and material change, many activists and organizers understand a Biden administration not as a one-stop electoral solution but as a harm-reduction strategy. As historian Thomas Zimmer has written, the uphill battle of transforming the United States from a “white Christian nation, in which white Christian men are at the top” to “a multi-racial democracy that abolishes patriarchal rule” continues.