7 real actions you can take after the Women's March and 1 you shouldn't.

24 hours after Donald Trump took the oath of office, millions of people around the world took to the streets. It was the biggest protest in U.S. history, and it took place on every single continent. Yes, including Antarctica.

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.


The message of the Women's March was clear: We the people will stand up for what we believe in, to protect our rights and to protect the rights of others who are in jeopardy under the Trump administration. Over 2 million people showed up to do just that.

Whether you attended a women's march or just watched the coverage, it was hard not to be moved and inspired.

Celebrities, politicians, influencers, and people of every age, gender, and nationality marched in solidarity for the rights of women, immigrants, Muslims, the LGBTQ community, and other groups that Trump as president has promised to further marginalize.

As great as it was, the march certainly was not the entirety of the resistance. It was just the beginning.

If you want to carry on the work of the Women's March, here are seven things you can do right now:

(Plus one thing you shouldn't do.)

1. Follow the march organizers — national and local — on social media.

The Women's March on Washington was put together by a fierce group of badass women who will be the first to tell you that what's really important is what happens next. In fact, the Women's March website has already released a 10 Actions/100 Days list of things you can do to carry the message forward.

Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, Bob Bland, and Linda Sarsour are four of the main organizers for the D.C. march, and there are many others. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter to get updates and information on how you can be a part of the key next steps.

Gloria Steinem (middle) with Women's March organizers in Washington, D.C. Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images.

Many of the march organizers have been facing harassment online, and there are currently hashtag campaigns to support them and stand with them in solidarity.

If you attended a march in your town, find out who organized it and get in touch with them, too. They'll be able to tell you about future organizing efforts local to you.

2. There are going to be more opportunities to march. Start spreading the word.

Activists are already planning to march on Saturday, April 15, 2017, in an effort to get Trump to release his tax returns to the public.

That march can be as big as the Women's March, but it's going to take some serious on-the-ground organizing. In other words, it's going to take people like you talking about it and getting others excited.

There is another march planned in April for climate action, and many others will be popping up. Keep an eye out, and keep others informed.

3. Call your representatives.

I know — you're probably tired of hearing it, right?

Well, think of it this way: The next time someone tells you to call your representatives, wouldn't it be nice to say, "I already do. All the time. Because I'm a person who understands the power of raising my voice for the issues I care about, and I know that my elected officials are paid to listen to me."

Remember, just because your elected official isn't from your political party, that doesn't mean you can't call them. Once they're elected, their job is to serve all their constituents. So go ahead and make your voice heard.

To find your representative's contact info, click here.

4. Become a member or volunteer for organizations that need support.

You've heard the call for donations before. Organizations like (deep breath) ... Planned Parenthood, the National Resources Defense Council, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the International Refugee Assistance Project, The Trevor Project for LGBTQ youth, the NAACP, the National Network of Abortion Funds, Black Girls Code, the ACLU, the National Women's Law Center, NARAL, Girls Write Now, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Purple Purse, All Above All, Moms Demand Action, No Kid Hungry, Greenpeace, the Southern Poverty Law Center, ProPublica, The Anti-Defamation League, the Human Rights Campaign, Americans for Immigrant Justice, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Lambda Legal, Know Your IX, Immigration Impact, Emily's List, the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, Everytown for Gun Safety, GLAAD, and so many more, are all going to need a lot of support over the next four years.

A one-time donation might not be enough. Consider a monthly recurring donation (if it's a small amount, you might not even notice it), or at least sign up for the email newsletter that a lot of these organizations have. That way you'll regularly get information on how to support the issues you care about.

Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards speaks at the Women's March. Photo by Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images.

If you can't donate? Look for volunteer opportunities. These organizations will need all the help they can get.

Planned Parenthood even has a thorough, itemized list of things you can do right now to stand with them.

5. Form a rapid-response team with your friends.

If the Women's March taught us anything, it's that those of us who reject the policies proposed by the incoming administration are not alone. There are millions of us, and we're all over the world.

One way to make sure you actually have the time to take action is to gather a handful of friends and form a rapid-response team. That means that every time you want to mobilize (to attend a protest or volunteer or start a phone bank to protest a specific piece of legislation), you have a group of people you can rely on to join you.

Do it right now! Start a group message on your phone, and get your friends involved. First mission: Come up with a badass team name.

6. Start playing politics.

Tired of all these politicians messing with your lives and enacting laws that you either disagree with or are directly endangered by? Yeah, there's a lot of that going around.

The thing is, politics is a team sport, and you're on a team whether you like it or not. You might as well start playing.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Vote in your local elections and campaign and volunteer for politicians you like. Vote in the midterms in 2018! This nifty site called Swing Left lets you look up your nearest "swing district" — where the last election was decided by a thin margin. Focusing on those areas means you can make a real, political difference.

Most of all, don't forget you can run for office too. Consider it even more seriously if you're a woman, a person of color, and/or LGBTQ. There are resources available to help you with the specific steps and challenges you will face.

Be the change, diversity, and representation you want to see in the world.

7. Read up. On everything.

Now that the GOP has a clear runway to do pretty much whatever they want, they're going to be busy. An important part of making sure your voice is heard when you disagree with their proposals is to keep track of what's going on. You'll need to know when the Senate is voting on that bill you hate and when the law that takes your 3-year-old's teddy bear away goes into effect.

That means reading the news, the real news, and supporting the real journalism that will be helping to get information to the public.

One thing you shouldn't do? Don't assume others will act.

If there's one thing you should not do in the coming years, it's sit back and assume others will act for you. The Women's March was a success because people got involved and actually showed up.

They didn't just say, "Oh, it's great that someone's doing that. I hope it's a success." They got on planes, they crashed on couches, they brought friends, they showed up for real.

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

We're going to need more of that. A lot more. Don't assume that organizing, resisting, and fighting is someone else's job. We're all in this together.

Whatever you do, do something.

It's not going to be easy, but standing up for the things you believe in is important and necessary. It's what we all signed up for when we decided not to move to Canada after the election.

So pull yourself up, and look at as many pictures of the Women's March around the world as you can until you realize that you have the power to make change.

This article originally appeared on August 27, 2015

Oh, society! We have such a complicated relationship with relationships.

It starts early, with the movies we are plopped in front of as toddlers.

Keep Reading Show less

This article originally appeared on August 27, 2015

Oh, society! We have such a complicated relationship with relationships.

It starts early, with the movies we are plopped in front of as toddlers.

Keep Reading Show less
True

Each year, an estimated 1.8 million people in the United States are affected by cancer — most commonly cancers of the breast, lung, prostate, and blood cancers such as leukemia. While not everyone overcomes the disease, thanks to science, more people are surviving — and for longer — than ever before in history.

We asked three people whose lives have been impacted by cancer to share their stories – how their lives were changed by the disease, and how they're using that experience to change the future of cancer treatments with the hope that ultimately, in the fight against cancer, science will win. Here's what they had to say.

Celine Ryan, 55, engineer database programmer and mother of five from Detroit, MI

Photo courtesy of Celine Ryan

In September 2013, Celine Ryan woke up from a colonoscopy to some traumatic news. Her gastroenterologist showed her a picture of the cancerous mass they found during the procedure.

Ryan and her husband, Patrick, had scheduled a colonoscopy after discovering some unusual bleeding, so the suspicion she could have cancer was already there. Neither of them, however, were quite prepared for the results to be positive -- or for the treatment to begin so soon. Just two days after learning the news, Ryan had surgery to remove the tumor, part of her bladder, and 17 cancerous lymph nodes. Chemotherapy and radiation soon followed.

Ryan's treatment was rigorous – but in December 2014, she got the devastating news that the cancer, once confined to her colon, had spread to her lungs. Her prognosis, they said, was likely terminal.

But rather than give up hope, Ryan sought support from online research, fellow cancer patients and survivors, and her medical team. When she brought up immunotherapy to her oncologist, he quickly agreed it was the best course of action. Ryan's cancer, like a majority of colon and pancreatic cancers, had been caused by a defect on the gene KRAS, which can result in a very aggressive cancer that is virtually "undruggable." According to the medical literature, the relatively smooth protein structure of the KRAS gene meant that designing inhibitors to bind to surface grooves and treat the cancer has been historically difficult. Through her support systems, Ryan discovered an experimental immunotherapy trial at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD., and called them immediately to see if she was eligible. After months of trying to determine whether she was a suitable candidate for the experimental treatment, Ryan was finally accepted.

The treatment, known as tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte therapy, or TIL, is a testament to how far modern science has evolved. With this therapy, doctors remove a tumor and harvest special immune cells that are found naturally in the tumor. Doctors then grow the cells in a lab over the next several weeks with a protein that promotes rapid TIL growth – and once the cells number into the billions, they are infused back into the patient's body to fight the cancer. On April 1, 2015, Ryan had her tumor removed at the NIH. Two months later, she went inpatient for four weeks to have the team "wash out" her immune system with chemotherapy and infuse the cells – all 148 billion of them – back into her body.

Six weeks after the infusion, Ryan and Patrick went back for a follow-up appointment – and the news they got was stunning: Not only had no new tumors developed, but the six existing tumors in her lungs had shrunk significantly. Less than a year after her cell infusion, in April 2016, the doctors told Ryan news that would have been impossible just a decade earlier: Thanks to the cell infusion, Ryan was now considered NED – no evaluable disease. Her body was cancer-free.

Ryan is still NED today and continuing annual follow-up appointments at the NIH, experiencing things she never dreamed she'd be able to live to see, such as her children's high school and college graduations. She's also donating her blood and cells to the NIH to help them research other potential cancer treatments. "It was an honor to do so," Ryan said of her experience. "I'm just thrilled, and I hope my experience can help a lot more people."

Patrice Lee, PhD, VP of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Exploratory Development at Pfizer

Photo courtesy of Patrice Lee

Patrice Lee got into scientific research in an unconventional way – through the late ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau.

Lee never met Cousteau but her dreams of working with him one day led her to pursue a career in science. Initially, Lee completed an undergraduate degree in marine biology; eventually, her interests changed and she decided to get a dual doctoral degree in physiology and toxicology at Duke University. She now works at Pfizer's R&D site in Boulder, CO (formerly Array BioPharma), leading a group of scientists who determine the safety and efficacy of new oncology drugs.

"Scientists focused on drug discovery and development in the pharmaceutical industry are deeply committed to inventing new therapies to meet unmet needs," Lee says, describing her field of work. "We're driven to achieve new medicines and vaccines as quickly as possible without sacrificing safety."

Among the drugs Lee has helped develop during her career, including cancer therapies, she says around a dozen are currently in development, while nine have received FDA approval — an incredible accomplishment as many scientists spend their careers without seeing their drug make it to market. Lee's team is particularly interested in therapies for brain metastases — something that Lee says is a largely unmet need in cancer research, and something her team is working on from a variety of angles. "Now that we've had rapid success with mRNA vaccine technology, we hope to explore what the future holds when applying this technology to cancers," Lee says.

But while evaluating potential cancer therapies is a professional passion of Lee's, it's also a mission that's deeply personal. "I'm also a breast cancer survivor," she says. "So I've been on the other side of things and have participated in a clinical trial."

However, seeing how melanoma therapies that she helped develop have affected other real-life cancer patients, she says, has been a highlight of her career. "We had one therapy that was approved for patients with BRAF-mutant metastatic melanoma," Lee recalls. "Our team in Boulder was graced by a visit from a patient that had benefited from these drugs that we developed. It was a very special moment for the entire team."

None of these therapies would be available, Lee says without rigorous science behind it: "Facts come from good science. Facts will drive the development of new drugs, and that's what will help patients."

Chiuying "Cynthia" Kuk (they/them) MS, 34, third-year medical student at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Kuk

Cynthia Kuk was just 10 years old when they had a conversation that would change their life forever.

"My mother, who worked as a translator for the government at the time, had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and after her chemotherapy treatments she would get really sick," Kuk, who uses they/them pronouns, recalls. "When I asked my dad why mom was puking so much, he said it was because of the medicine she was taking that would help her get better."

Kuk's response was immediate: "That's so stupid! Why would a medicine make you feel worse instead of better? When I'm older, I want to create medicine that won't make people sick like that."

Nine years later, Kuk traveled from their native Hong Kong to the United States to do exactly that. Kuk enrolled in a small, liberal arts college for their Bachelor's degree, and then four years later started a PhD program in cancer research. Although Kuk's mother was in remission from her cancer at the time, Kuk's goal was the same as it had been as a 10-year-old watching her suffer through chemotherapy: to design a better cancer treatment, and change the landscape of cancer research forever.

Since then, Kuk's mission has changed slightly.

"My mom's cancer relapsed in 2008, and she ended up passing away about five years after that," Kuk says. "After my mom died, I started having this sense of urgency. Cancer research is such that you work for twenty years, and at the end of it you might have a fancy medication that could help people, but I wanted to help people now." With their mother still at the forefront of their mind, Kuk decided to quit their PhD program and enter medical school.

Now, Kuk plans to pursue a career in emergency medicine – not only because they are drawn to the excitement of the emergency room, but because the ER is a place where the most marginalized people tend to seek care.

"I have a special interest in the LGBTQ+ population, as I identify as queer and nonbinary," says Kuk. "A lot of people in this community and other marginalized communities access care through the ER and also tend to avoid medical care since there is a history of mistreatment and judgement from healthcare workers. How you carry yourself as a doctor, your compassion, that can make a huge difference in someone's care."

In addition to making a difference in the lives of LGBTQ+ patients, Kuk wants to make a difference in the lives of patients with cancer as well, like their mother had.

"We've diagnosed patients in the Emergency Department with cancer before," Kuk says. "I can't make cancer good news but how you deliver bad news and the compassion you show could make a world of difference to that patient and their family."

During their training, Kuk advocates for patients by delivering compassionate and inclusive care, whether they happen to have cancer or not. In addition to emphasizing their patient's pronouns and chosen names, they ask for inclusive social and sexual histories as well as using gender neutral language. In doing this, they hope to make medicine as a whole more accessible for people who have been historically pushed aside.

"I'm just one person, and I can't force everyone to respect you, if you're marginalized," Kuk says. "But I do want to push for a culture where people appreciate others who are different from them."