Activism is one of the most important aspects of our society. Without activism, many communities wouldn’t be as socially or politically progressed as they are today. But sadly, I feel like many people in my generation are losing the concept of the importance of activism. We have grown up in the social media era, so we have been able to connect with others without direct interaction. Don’t get me wrong—I love social media, and I think it’s one of the highest contributing factors of modern social progression. It’s amazing that we have the ability to spread ideas and movements that are socially progressing our society, but I’m afraid that we have grown too comfortable in our Twitter personas. There are way too many Twitter activist who do little to nothing to actually make a difference in our world. We need to fix this. There is so much more we can do other than just tweeting about issues that are important to us. As teens, we have so many opportunities to partake in social change, but we just don’t know it. We often feel like we can’t do anything when we care about an important issue. Trust me, I know the feeling. Too many times have I felt useless as a feminist and a self-proclaimed progressive in situations where I’ve wanted to make a noticeable and significant difference. So I decided to compose a list of four things that you and I can both do to leave a positive impact on our societies.
1. Advocation & Education
This may not seem like the most proactive example, but it is vital nonetheless. Vocalizing your views and beliefs is probably the best first step in activism. Along with the advocation, though, comes education. Helping others understand important concepts which you are passionate about can certainly make a difference. I know it can seem frustrating at times, but it’s an easy way to be active! Another mode of educating could be chartering a social change or feminism club at your school. It would be a productive way to raise awareness about issues you care about while meeting like minded people at the same time.
Petitions seem old-fashioned, I know, but they are awesome ways to showcase support behind an idea or cause. Whether it be online or in person, use petitions to spread the word about what you care about and get others to rally behind you. A very easy and accessible petition website is change.org. There are many worthwhile movements that start on that site, and yours can too.
Raising money for a cause you care about can always make a difference. There are so many established fundraising campaigns and charities for a plethora of causes. For example, there is the American Humane Association, the Cancer Research Institute, and the Global Hunger Project (just to name a few). You can always take part in those. Or you can start your own fundraising initiative. Start a bake sale at your school, gather donations, or find a different way to generate money for your cause. There are so many options, and donations are always effective.
Protesting is the most direct form of activism. The most recent and notable protests occurred in Ferguson, Missouri after Michael Brown was unjustly shot and killed by a police officer. Through the protests, the Black Lives Matter movement was formed which has so far left a significant impact on race relations in America. Without civil disobedience, we’re unable stand up and fight for what’s important to us. As Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.” Don’t become a slave to the system—take action and fight for what you believe in. Find protest in your area here
As you can see, there are many ways which you and I can take part in social change. We no longer have to feel helpless! So I promise myself that I will do more, because I have the ability to do more. And you should promise yourself the same. We owe it to ourselves and the world to be more active in activism. Because as Alice Walker once said, “Activism is my rent for living on this planet.”