In the wake of the election of a certain orange-faced monster who shall not be named, social and political activism has drastically increased. There is no longer any room for apathy or zero accountability--basic human rights are being violated and everyone needs to be a part of the resistance. But that doesn’t mean you need to quit your day job and become a full-time activist to make a difference. There are numerous ways for people with hectic schedules to get involved--no hours of campaigning or Political Science degree required. Check out some of these simple and sweet ways you can help make our world a better place.
1. Read up
The first step to fighting social injustices is learning what those social injustices are--and, no, that doesn’t mean getting all of your information from your obscure relative’s Facebook post. Roll up your sleeves and do some honest, good ol’-fashioned research on the issues that matter to you the most: read some scholarly articles, go to the Resources page on organizations’ websites, or check out some social media accounts specifically tailored to social justice issues. There’s no shortage of information out there--but “fake news” prevails, so be sure to dig deep and find those primary sources! You don’t have to sink hours of your day into this stuff, either: if you take just 15-30 minutes out of every day to brush up on the news or check out a few new articles, you’ll be a social justice expert in no time.
So many aspiring activists imagine themselves braving the front lines of a rally, facing off against their oppressor and fighting the good fight. There’s no denying we need those kinds of activists out there, but we also need a hell of a lot more people behind the scenes. Donating can be one of the more frustrating forms of activism, since you typically don’t get to see the immediate impact of your contribution. But trust me--it matters more than you can imagine: none of those rallies, campaigns, or organizations would ever get off the ground without donations from everyday people. And it doesn’t take more than a few clicks, which is another huge bonus for all you busy bees out there.
3. Talk the talk
It’s time to take the political debates out of the Facebook feed and into real life. When people are online, they tend to say things they normally wouldn’t say in person, and all of a sudden that debate about climate change has turned into an epic name calling battle--no thanks! Instead, casually bring up some of the ways you are trying to be more eco-friendly to your co-worker or neighbor. This might turn into an exchange of tips, or you might have the chance to test that knowledge of yours and turn a denier into a believer. Either way, keeping the conversation going on important issues like climate change or racial injustice or the gender wage gap is an essential part of change and progress. These issues can’t be fixed if no one knows about them. And guess what? It only takes a few minutes out of your day to weave some of your political know-how into a conversation you were probably going to have anyway. Yas!
4. Make calls or send emails
You may feel like your one voice can’t make much noise, but it certainly makes more noise than twiddling your thumbs in silence. Make sure your elected officials hear your voice by telling them what you want with regards to certain issues or legislation. Your vote put them in office, after all--if they want to keep it for the next election, they had better listen to what you want from them and their policies. Make calls to their office on your way home from work (or send an email during your lunch break) and let them know that you will not vote for them again unless they make strides to stop unjust laws or regulations. The power belongs to the people, so take that power back.
5. Use social media for good
Social media is the best new landscape for activism and social awareness. Activists and organizations alike use their social media pages to post about the latest news, talk openly about the issues, and keep their followers updated on upcoming events or new ways to get involved. Join in on the conversation! Look at how these groups and organizers use social media as a tool to instigate change and awareness, and do the same on your own profiles. It doesn’t take much to re-post an article that might help educate someone in your network or to share an event that deserves more support from people in your community. Tiny contributions like this are the keys to big social change.