Zara Rahim

Getting stuff done

Meet Zara Rahim, cultural and political communications expert who's worked with The White House, Vogue, and Netflix.

Welcome to Getting Stuff Done: Election Edition. We met with some experts who told us all about how to get sh*t done. Because things are pretty crazy right now, and we have the power to make change.

How to stay politically active:

It’s important that we’re participating not just in presidential elections, but in electing federal judges, local circuit court judges, school board members, city council members, registrars, and anyone who gets their job through a ballot. We also have a responsibility in supporting our communities locally, whether that’s understanding what issues your community needs the most support on, donating to mutual aid funds, participating in community events, or just supporting our neighbors by getting to know them. Being an active member of your community is an important part of how we show up outside of elections, but voting is certainly one of the most important things you can do to protect your neighbors.

How to understand your ballot:

You almost have to treat your ballot like homework. I encourage anybody, before they go to vote, to take the 24 hours before to look over a sample ballot. If there’s anything that feels confusing or unclear, or if there are any candidates whose policies you’re not familiar with, get to know them. A lot of organizers put time into making ballots easier to understand, so find the time to look at those resources and have a better understanding before you go into the voting booth. Also, if you don’t understand or aren’t familiar with an item or candidate on your ballot, it’s totally acceptable to leave something blank. Voting shouldn’t feel stressful–you should know what you're voting for and do it with confidence. 

How to support your community beyond voting:

I think that learning about all of the organizers that have been doing the work for social initiatives without the necessary resources they need has created an urgency for people like me to show up, support them, and find out how I can help them further. Local organizers deserve the same attention and urgency that politicians get. Supporting your community is really as simple as seeking those groups out, finding when they organize, what events they do, and what resources they’re lacking. Plus, you might have a skill or know somebody in your network that can provide them with a connection that they are desperately needing.

How to keep young people engaged in politics:

I like to flip the question, and think more about how we can show up for young people. I listen to them in their desires for a more progressive world and community, and imagine a new way we can move through society and turn our anger into action. I’ve never felt more encouraged by a generation.

How to unwind:

I wish that I could say that it was a lot of meditating and yoga, but that’s not my definition of self care! Self care, for me, is just existing in the most simple way I can and doing it in a way that brings me joy.

How to stay sustainable:

Most of the items in my home are antique or vintage. I find such joy in things that have a story. I like looking at things and wondering where they came from, and the type of place they may have been previously. I also love antiquing and vintage shopping, and have found that’s been the best way to practice sustainability.