Farrah Alexander has long centered her work on feminism, parenting, social justice, politics, and current events. So, when this young, socially engaged parent, saw a need, she wrote a book!
Her guide is for parents who know things should be better and want to be part of the solution. RAISING THE RESISTANCE: A Mother’s Guide to Practical Activism is Farrah’s first book, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Check out Farrah’s tips for broaching big issues with children, and learn about her debut book:
What inspired you to create this guide?
I noticed the leaders in the movement resisting injustice were women, but especially mothers. I was amazed to see so many women balancing the demands of motherhood along with activism. Mothers have been organizing and leading the largest demonstrations in our nation’s history while pushing strollers and holding babies on their hips. I write specifically for politically engaged mothers who want to either get involved or deepen their activism involvement. I want to leave them feeling empowered, not hopeless.
What are some challenges you’ve faced navigating current issues in your own home?
Children are just so precious and full of love. So it’s been challenging to address the hatred and divisiveness happening. However, I recognize my privilege and understand that I often have a choice whether or not to talk about difficult issues such as racial injustice. I think it’s important to raise anti-racist children. When they sense something big is happening, we as parents need to step up and get in front of the narrative.
Was this book empowering? Therapeutic?
It did feel empowering to write this book for other mothers to hopefully realize their power. But it’s been scary too! It’s nerve-wracking to be vulnerable and put your full, authentic self and work out there for the world to see. But I’m so glad I did.
What can activism look like for the everyday parent?
There is a huge range of ways parents can work activism into their lifestyles. Let’s take getting involved in our democracy, for example. The most accessible thing we can do is vote. It’s simple, quick, pretty easy, and yet many of us don’t do it. So, if a parent wants to make a difference but has very little time or money, they can vote! To make a bigger difference and commit more time, they can work towards voting access by combatting voter suppression and making sure their neighbors are registered. If they have the resources to make an even bigger impact, they can run for elected office themselves.
Is there such a thing as “too young” when it comes to having these discussions at home?
Well, it just depends. As a parent, you know your child best. Meet them where they are and break things down in a way that they understand. Kids understand more than we think. Even before you have discussions with your children, you can influence them by diversifying bookshelves, dividing parenting tasks equally, and not enforcing gender stereotypes. They’re learning from you all the time!
How can parents practice self-care while staying active in their activism?
Rest and delegate–two challenging tasks for a mom. We don’t really have to do it all. Shift some responsibility around and take more time to rest whether that means exercising, sleeping, reading, just do something relaxing that brings you joy. Take some time and reflect on what you really need and put a plan in place to make that happen.
What are some strategies for becoming a positive role model?
Just be kind. Meet everyone with empathy and compassion. The driving force behind activism is a love for others. The world could always use more kindness, so if I wanted others to model one behavior, it would be that.
How does creativity bring goodness to your life?
It’s a release. I’ve always loved to create and feel so satisfied once I’ve completed something I’ve made. I’ve tried so many forms– drawing, painting, sculpting, and lots of crafting. But writing something that resonates with others is my absolute favorite.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer! My grandpa once gave me an old typewriter he rescued from a dumpster. It weighed a ton, and I would hurl it on my bed and type newsletters, one by one. Writing a book has been a lifelong dream of mine, and I’m so happy for it to be THIS book. It is so needed right now.
What do people NOT know about what you do?
When people look from the outside, they often don’t see the impact. For example, some people dismiss protests without recognizing the policy changes that have occurred as a direct result of those protests. Sometimes it’s on a smaller level, and individuals benefit from an action. It’s not magic, but lives are impacted, and that matters. It keeps us going.
Where do you go when you need a break?
I’ll admit I’m a news junkie and am extremely plugged in. Lately, I’ve really enjoyed taking hikes with my family far from a wifi signal. I also love walking around my neighborhood while listening to podcasts about murder, watching “90 Day Fiancé,” bubble baths, and date nights with my husband.
Let’s be real, what’s the hardest/most frustrating thing about what you do?
Losing. Too often, failure is viewed as the end of a journey instead of one step of a journey. I’ve experienced my fair share, and I’ve tried to be transparent about that, so others don’t feel alone when it happens. When you put yourself out there and strive to achieve something, you will fail along the way. It’s not a personal shortcoming. It’s just an inevitable reality. You’ll find yourself in a series of battles, and you won’t win them all, no matter how hard you fight. It’s hard, but you have to stay in the fight.