Why People Need To Stop Saying ‘Just Move’ When You Live In A Hateful State

When my now-husband and I moved to Florida in 2016 from the Northeast, we weren’t thinking ahead. We were semi-recent college grads and made the move to the state for something different. In our early 20s, we saw it as an opportunity for more affordable rent, enjoy the sunshine, and go to the beach every day (spoiler: never happened).

Fast forward eight years, we have fully established our homes and expanded our family in a state that has targeted the LGBTQ+ community and women’s rights, banned books in schools, and made permitless carry legal. Basically, we’ve grown roots in a state that no longer represents our family or our values.

Whenever my husband or I bring up our grievances about the state, we’re almost always met with the same response: Why don’t you just move? Even when asked in a well-intentioned way (which, let’s face it, is the minority of the time), this question frustrates me to no end. We have lived in this state for years, establishing a home, jobs, and a family here. Our healthcare is based in Florida, our work, our daughter’s daycare. We have a lease, we have bills, we have lives here. To say to someone that it’s as easy as just “moving” is shortsighted and completely missing the point.

Far more frustrating to me, though, is that this is the response I’m seeing to those who are living with the effects of these hateful laws daily. As a cisgender white woman, I fully acknowledge my privilege of being spared from the forceful impact of much of Florida legislation. Because just as I’m being told to move, so are those who are being told by these laws that their identity, their lives, their health, their story — all of it doesn’t “fit” within where the state wants to position itself. They’re being told to move away despite being the ones who are made to feel like they don’t belong within the state.

But here’s the thing. If my family and everyone else being told to move actually did, there would be no one here left to make a change. And ultimately, that’s what needs to happen. And here are some of the ways I (and countless others) are doing just that.

Staying Informed

In another sign of my undeniable privilege, most of my attention to politics and social issues had been on the national level up until the last few years. While that’s still important, staying informed on a more local level is also vital. While it’s important to know who is representing you not only on a state level, it’s also vital to be aware of who serves on your school board and county commission, and judges.

Speaking with your representatives is also important. You can search the House or Senate websites for your representative simply by putting in your zip code. On a state level, search for your representatives through your state’s website.

Vote 411 from the League of Women Voters is a great resource for seeing who is on your ballot, checking your voter registration, and more.

Staying informed on state ballot initiatives can also be vitally important. In Florida, Floridians Protecting Freedom is working to protect Floridians’ access to reproductive health care by putting the decision on the ballot so that citizen’s voices can be heard. Similar ballot measures have already passed in other states where politicians have tried to take away the rights of women.

Joining or Donating to Organizations

Work with organizations you believe in, putting your time or money towards making a change. When I feel particularly voiceless in my state, these are just a few of the organizations that I have looked to.

LGBTQ+ Rights

Reproductive Rights

Common Sense Gun Legislation

Fighting Racism and Discrimination

Living in a state like Florida right now is scary for a lot of people. Laws have been made that ban gender-affirming care for minors, limit race education in schools, and ban abortion after six weeks (important note that this law will go into effect within 30 days after an April 1 ruling). But moving isn’t the easy solution that critics and, let’s face it, Internet trolls seem to believe it is. So, in the meantime, this angry mom is just going to fight like hell to change things.

Morgan Flaherty is a contributing writer for Scary Mommy, where she has covered lifestyle pieces about topics such as beauty, travel, and parenting. When she’s not writing, Morgan is probably playing with new skincare and makeup, listening to a true crime podcast, or lamenting about how her baby daughter is growing up too fast.

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