When you become cognizant of the massive structures of intersectional socioeconomic oppression within our world, it can be daunting, and make you feel as though your actions and your voice are somehow small compared to such immense issues. There much validity in feeling this way, because structures of such hatred are terrifying, and they are huge, but their massiveness in no way lessens the power of your fire for equality. Anything born of love (aka activism ) is so much bigger than hatred, and therefore, you do have power in your fight and for standing up for what is right.
So, my fellow activist, here are some ways to make a difference in your plight for equality:
If you have some spare change, donate!
Contributing anything you can, whether that be a dollar or twenty, helps organizations to aid those in need, especially if you cannot physically be there to volunteer to help their cause.
- ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union)
- Black Lives Matter (there are also specific chapters if you wish to donate to a certain city )
- Campaign Zero (Fights to End Police Brutality)
- Uniquely You Summit (organization that strives for the empowerment of black girls ages 11-18 years old)
- Flint Water Crisis
- Mexican American Legal Defense Fund
- Young Center For Immigrant Children’s Rights
- Standing Rock
- Asian Women in Business
- Domestic Violence Hotline
- RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest Network)
- Suicide Hotline
- Muslim Legal Fund of America
- Council on American-Islamic Relations
- The Human Rights Campaign (for LGBTQ+)
- The Trevor Project (LGBTQ Suicide Prevention)
- Sylvia Rivera Law Project (Provides Legal Service to Transgender, Intersex, or Gender Non-Conforming Low Income Individuals and/or P.O.C. )
- Girl Up (United Nations Girl Empowerment Organization)
- Planned Parenthood
- Clean Clothes Campaign (Works to End Slave Labor and Worker Exploitation)
- Institute For Global Labor and Human Rights
Staying in the loop on social justice topics is crucial, for gaining knowledge of oppression is the first step towards finding solutions. You can stay up to date by following organizations & people on social media that advocate for the issues you are passionate about, and often the former will offer email newsletters and/or text updates you can sign up for that will notify you for breaking news. Both of the aforementioned sources usually provide more ways to get involved in working for equality.
Share your voice, Contact Your Senators!
Writing and/or calling your state’s senators or representatives (or even those of other states as well!) to let them know what you wish to see happen in our country is so very vital, for they have the political power to aid our plight for equality. Though it may seem like a lost cause because of the political climate, sharing your voice does help, for if enough people overflow the phone lines and mail boxes, they will become cognizant of the voice of the people, and it is within their job description to represent us.
Sign Petitions and Get Involved!
One of the oldest forms of sticking it to the man, creating petitions and supporting them is one of the greatest ways to form a community effort (and we stand stronger together) towards a similar cause. Change.org showcases petitions for every cause, allows one to create and broadcast their own, and has been proven to cause ripples in Congress and create laws. It only takes about 30 seconds to sign, and your signature adds support to causes while showing those they are presented to that the people truly do care.
An great resource to find a plethora of ways to get involved in intersectional topics nationally and locally is through DoSomething.org. While providing you with numerous ways to make an impact, they even offer chances for scholarship money for your involvement. Helping others while getting a chance to fund your future– where can you go wrong?
Advocate on Social Media!
Social media activism has generated much stigma, but invalidly so, for media activism is just as valid as any other form of activism.
Popular media is and has been known to be controlled, censored, and funded by companies and politicians that have different interests than civil rights in mind. We saw this occur when Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC refused to cover to Bernie Sanders’ rally during the election (and decided to cover Donald Trump instead). There’s a reason why media outlets display commercials for our go-to fast fashion brands commercials, and not report on how our fellow human beings are being exploited for our superficial pleasure , and our favorite makeup brands, and not how animals are being tortured and killed, and how children are forced into slave labor so we can feel pretty.
Therefore, any effort to share information on the injustices occurring is a valid effort, for it spreads awareness that may not have even existed prior, and can lead to inspiring others to create solutions for equality.
Boycott AND Support Ethical Companies
Boycotting is a tricky method of protest and can indirectly cause damage those one is aiming to stand up for, if not done correctly. Boycotting companies that support oppressive politicians/organizations and/or have a record of sweatshop labor while letting them know –such as through contacting them through email or over social media– your reasons for doing so and in turn, funneling your money towards supporting ethical companies that work to promote equality aids in pushing companies to end their inhumane practices. In terms of workers’ rights, if many were to not do all actions described above, the oppressive company would have no means of knowing why the drop in sales has occurred, and would lower prices to increase revenue. This would cause the wages of those in areas outsourced to to be cut lower than the amount exploitation is already occurring at, and that would be counter intuitive to our mission for equality.
A lot of organizations also have merchandise one can purchase that helps to fund their efforts; so while you donate, you can also sport their message to help normalize equality in our society. It can also work as a conversation starter, leading to discussions about justice for all!
Advocate through your own Talents!
The best way to advocate is through what you are passionate about, for anything shines and resonates with others when passion and emotion is put behind it. If you adore an aspect of the arts, whether it be painting or photography or writing, advocating through your talent and sharing it to the world can truly make an impact, as others will see that someone cares, and will be inspired to share their own creations through your vulnerability to share yours. Maybe your talent is in science, you developing your skills to aid the world is very valid within itself! Perhaps your talents may seem like they in no way correlate to equal rights; if you carry the talent of caring for others, you will find a way to aid others. Volunteering, having difficult discussions, the items aforementioned, and a plethora of others all aid in creating a better world.
So go on, my fellow activist, you have a whole planet of other like minded activists standing in solidarity with you, and we all cannot wait to see what you will do.