The Council on American-Islamic Relations in Oklahoma experienced a spike in donations and volunteer applications following the November presidential election — and again after President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January.
The local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union also reported an increase in membership.
And the Sierra Club has also claimed enhanced support from those fearful of the environment’s future under Trump.
Groups that strongly opposed the policies and positions of Trump and his supporters lamented the 2016 election results. But months into Trump’s presidency, many of these same groups said they have regrouped and found the Trump era to be one where their causes are being given a bigger platform.
“After the election and after the inauguration, we saw an increase in non-Muslims donating to us,” said Anna Facci, CAIR’s government affairs director in Oklahoma. “The only reason we know they were from non-Muslims is because they were accompanied by messages that said, ‘I’m not a Muslim, but I’m so sorry about what is happening.'”
Group’s like CAIR have fought against what they see as anti-Muslim policies and rhetoric from a president who said, “I think Islam hates us,” while on the campaign trail.
The national offices of Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the International Refugee Assistance Project have all reported strong growth in donations and other support since the election.
‘We love our country’
“We love our country and we are concerned about women’s rights, and many other rights,” said Bette Maffucci, 83, a Norman resident who attended a Women’s March in Oklahoma City the day after Trump’s inauguration.
Rallies and protests like the Women’s March and last week’s March for Science have been highlighted as examples of an organized and growing resistance effort to Trump’s presidency.
But it was Trump who won the election after a campaign where he spoke harshly against illegal immigration, Islamic extremism and, at times, spoke derogatorily about women.
His brash style won him waves of support in many of the nation’s rural communities and he took Oklahoma in a landslide.
But local groups that advocate for progressive policies point to rallies, donations and volunteerism as proof that there are pockets of opposition, even if the red-dominated election map of Oklahoma doesn’t show it.
“One of the unintended but favorable consequences of the early days of the Trump administration is it’s ushered in a … golden era of organization,” said Ryan Kiesel, executive director of the local ACLU chapter.
Keisel said the ACLU’s national membership has quadrupled and the Oklahoma chapter expects to add staff this year.
“If there is any resolve at all, the resolve is that we have all been preparing our entire lives for this moment,” Kiesel said. “Very quickly my feelings about the election turned to the real opportunity that we had as an organization to stand up to this administration.”
CAIR Oklahoma has also boosted its operations with the launch of a new government affairs division, which has led to more advocacy at the state Capitol, Facci said.
“I don’t think I would use the word emboldened to describe how we feel postelection, but we are very confident in the actions we are taking,” Facci said. “But I don’t feel pessimistic. I feel more determined.”