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We held the 3rd Annual Students for Zero Waste Conference (SZW) four days after the 2016 election of Donald Trump. Our team considered canceling the event after we received the results. We were unsure if we could rally the energy needed to pull off the conference and honestly, we were scared of what the next four years would bring. But we did not cancel—we held the event and created space to grieve, process, and organize. Students attending the conference stepped up to facilitate impromptu sessions for their peers. We were humbled, but not surprised by the love and care that went into cultivating that shared space. These last four years have been challenging and so many of our friends, siblings, neighbors, and comrades have been lost to an administration and political system that values property over people and profit over lives. The 2016 Students for Zero Waste Conference gave us the hope, energy, and community we need to move toward the vision of a more just and sustainable future. 

Today the 2016 SZW conference seems like a lifetime ago, but we wanted to take a moment and let you know, our network and our community, that we are here for you. We want to support and thank our partners who have been working tirelessly to get thousands of people registered and to the polls, we want to thank our partners who have pressured candidates to make commitments to more progressive policy, we want to thank those who have simultaneously done direct action and on the ground support for the Movement 4 Black Lives while also organizing COVID relief, and we want to thank those who have provided food, shelter, protection, medical supplies, childcare, transportation, and more. Today we are reminded that we need everyone to change everything! 

We know that we will likely not know the results of the election for days, if not weeks after November 3rd. And we anticipate that we may need to use the power of the people to ensure that every vote is counted and the results are as accurate as possible. So we encourage you all to make plans. Make a plan to get safely to and from the polls (if you haven’t already). Make a plan to check-in on actions happening in your area. And make a plan for self and community care. 

As a way to share space with our network, we are hosting a digital Decompression Space on Thursday, November 5 at 5:30pm EST. We will be joined by our trusted partners from the Power Shift Network and the Break Free From Plastic Movement. This is an opportunity to focus on breathing, share what is on our minds, and think about what comes next. Join us if you’d like to share space with us on that day. And whatever your plans are, please stay resilient.

In solidarity,

The PLAN Team