Rebel Well: for those who experience religious intolerance or who are undocumented citizens

This piece is part of Rebel Well: a Starter Survival Guide to a Trumped America for Teens and Emerging Adults.


You may have heard threats that the incoming presidential administration intends to compel all Muslims to register, or deport Muslim immigrants and refugees, while many members of the Jewish community are facing anti-semitic harassment. These threats come from a place of hatred, and the civil rights community is already working on strategies to address them should they become a reality.

Set up a plan for what to do if you need to go underground — hopefully you won’t ever need it, but it will help you locate resources and genuine supporters in the community even if you only wind up using them for emotional or other less dire support. Start looking now for interfaith groups, which often have a strong social justice bent, and get involved with their work, building support along the way.

Find your people: Whether you live in a big city or a small town, find your people, starting with the local synagogue, mosque, temple, or meeting. If there isn’t a youth or young adult group, start one. If there is, join it. If it’s bad, make it better. Your house of worship may also offer smaller, more dedicated groups for people of all ages talking about various issues that can provide you with more intimacy. Develop networks in your community so you have backup if you have problems at home or at school. If you have a small or unsupportive faith community, online groups can provide a space for talking about issues of importance and seeking help.

National advocacy groups like the Anti-Defamation League, Council on Islamic-American Relations, Sikhs for Justice, Hindu American Foundation, Friends Committee, and more are committed to tracking and acting on hateful acts, while the Southern Poverty Law Center and American Civil Liberties Union are interested in your civil rights as a person of faith. If you want to resist/take progressive action in the company of other Jews, look up Bend the Arc. Both state and federal law include a range of faith-related provisions that specifically outlaw against discrimination in housing, employment, education, and more, and these laws are unlikely to face repeal in the near future.


With aggressive crackdowns on immigration promised by the incoming administration and some states, undocumented people risk government action and harassment from people emboldened by institutionalized racism.

If you have protected status under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: Talk to an immigration attorney or resource group RIGHT NOW about how to handle the situation. You may lose legal protections, and your presence on the DACA list could make you a target. If you have not filed for DACA, immigrant rights groups are advising against doing so now.

Develop a safety plan now: Find three local and trustworthy people to stay with, and keep their contact information with you at all times. Have a getaway bag that includes basic necessities for several days along with all of your most important documents, along with readily available cash for emergencies.

Connect with local agencies and organizations that are available to help you, also in advance — keep their numbers handy and if you have a relationship with a staffer there, list that person’s name as your advocate if you have an encounter with law enforcement. This can include churches, some of which are offering sanctuary for immigrants. In the long term, these groups can help you explore options for protecting your immigration status.

You may be entitled to special immigration protections if you are the victim of a crime. This includes cases where people are engaged in illegal practices and threatening you with deportation in an attempt to silence you.

all of rebel well: front page •  why we made this guide • for everyone • healthcare • relationships & sex • conflict resolution • for those suffering harassment online, at school or at work • for those in abusive/controlling relationships, or who are homeless, transient or in the foster system • for those who are trans or LGBQ • for those who are of color • for those who experience religious intolerance or who are undocumented citizens • for those who are disabled • for those interacting with the justice system • for those engaging in active protest • when everything seems terrible or nowhere feels safe • how to help each other & improve this godawful mess • resources and helplines