So You Think You’re an Activist?

People are getting angry and honestly, they should be. There has been a lot to be mad about within these two years. Over 1 million people got angry enough to march in this year’s Women’s March. Nationwide, protests and rallies have been held to spread disgruntled beliefs on how America is mishandling crucial issues such as female reproductive rights, immigration and deportation, maltreatment of African Americans and gun regulation. Social media has been bombarded with these contentions recently after the deadly attack in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, with the same argument of gun control repeating itself. This recent tragedy highlights a detail that everyone chooses to ignore: everyone wants to be an activist after a tragedy.

After the horrible Sandy Hook shooting, people furiously wrote on social media “Never again.” Yet, slowly, we stopped talking about it and hearing about the victims, the families and the survivors. Then a man walked into a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado and did it again. Once more, support flooded in through social media. Six years have passed and we suffered though numerous shootings each year, with this Florida high school being the most recent. Teen survivors of this shooting have taken to social media to push for more regulation and have directed comments to Americans, including the president, to start doing something. And they’re right.

Going to the Women’s March, posting a political belief on social media, offering support and simply believing that regulation and change is needed, but never saying anything publicly does not make you an activist. While an activist does hold those beliefs, does use social media as a tool and does attend protests, marches and rallies, what makes an activist is so much more than that. An activist contacts their elected officials about these issues by calling them, emailing or sending letters; an activist volunteers or works alongside politicians to understand the political process and an activist brings awareness to information and details that people may not know and should. Being an activist takes up a lot of work and even if your state, or if you are an international reader, your country has made civil rights and citizen’s safety the top priority, other states and other countries may not have that gift. No one can be a perfect activist, due to various issues and limited time, but you can strive to be. If you truly want this to never happen again, you have to recognize that posting “thoughts and prayers” on Twitter will never be enough. Use your inalienable rights and maybe, it will never happen to anyone again.

Photo: Markus Spiske



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