What is Activism?
To act on behalf of solving social and political issues. It is to be at the forefront of a movement, oftentimes compromising your own energy in order to seek justice and evoke change.
To speak and learn about social and political issues. It is to bring attention to an injustice, subsequently aiding the activist in their fight against that same injustice.
While there is not a “right” way to live your life, taking a neutral position or being inactive on human and environmental rights is choosing to take the opposing side.
The world order we currently live under is a harm to every human on the planet, continuing on the same path will only lead to destruction in some way or another.
We must not only hold ourselves accountable, but allow those same standards to be held to everyone, from our peers to our leaders.
There are endless causes you may choose to fight for but they all have one thing in common, we are all searching for justice.
To be an Activist is to speak, to be an Advocate is to listen. Although different, both are necessary in order to create systemic change. Without one, the other cannot function.
Educating yourself so that you can educate those around you.
Read, watch documentaries, check out youtube videos of speeches, listen to podcasts while you travel to work, school or vacation — whatever you can do to learn and absorb the most knowledge that you can about your cause will only aid you in your journey to make yourself a better activist. You accomplish this by giving yourself the tools you need to educate, teach and ignite change.
Engage the power of creating a platform that can reach millions.
Social media has completely revolutionized the way we communicate and can be a powerful tool for activists, if used correctly. From the age of Facebook and Youtube, to Instagram, Twitter and TikTok, each can be used as a source of connection to the other side of the world. Take advantage of the age of technology we are in, and also use it as a tool to continue learning.
Become a contributing part of the community you want to fight for.
Volunteering offers a chance for you to grow a more in depth relationship with your community, and activism has a better chance of longevity when you have their support. It can also provide opportunities to network with other organizations, gain first hand knowledge and experience to help grow your own passion. By volunteering for your cause (or any cause) you will spend time building your community up while making connections with people who share your interests.
Steps to Becoming an Activist
Find like-minded people to help you ignite your flame.
When you surround yourself with people who share your dedication and goals, it pushes each one of you that much further. The support of people who share your tenacity is imperative to create sustainable change in both yourself and the world around you. Seek out mentorships and collaborations to build your circle. Speak about your activism work in your daily life, you could always be crossing paths with someone who wants to help your cause. You can use social media and volunteering to search for and connect you to those with similar interests, and then you can use that as a source to grow your own knowledge and spread your light further.
There is no right way to be involved in activism.
Our society has created this version of activism that is thought of as protesting and speeches. While yes, that is one form of activism, it is not the only way to practice it. Today, people across the globe are activists through music, art, yoga, meditation, cooking, painting, and so much more. The only guideline to be an activist is to have a desire to make the world a better place.
Never stop, even if you are met with “failure”.
No matter the issues you wish to pursue, it will never be a race to the finish line. Whether you are tackling your local government or taking on big name oil companies, you must remember we are in a marathon to see lasting change. It may not always turn out the way you envision, but with everything you are thrown you must use it to learn; there is no “failure,” only an experience to grow from.
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Always keep yourself grounded.
When taking a stand for something you believe in, you must always aim to humble yourself. Oftentimes there is a negative connotation with bringing humility to oneself, but in order to seek change we have to bring attention to the larger picture at hand, not ourselves. Volunteering can also help to create a sense of self that will aid in your confidence to continue to persevere.
Live by example, lead by action.
Conscious activism is defined as activism by doing; it is important to “walk the walk if you talk the talk”. In a capitalist country, that applies to where you shop and spend your money. Make sure the places you support also support the ideals you do. This also applies with the conversations you have. Try to spark the tough conversations with your friends, family, and especially people you normally would not interact with. Even constantly having conversations can help you to grow new perspectives and understand more people’s point of view.
Always reflect on how you can continue to grow.
Understand that you will never in your life know everything there is to know, and because of that you will also never stop learning. So don’t turn away any opportunity to gain intelligence and try to experience as much as you can, both regarding your cause and just in life. If you do not comprehend a situation, try to take a step back from it and see a different perspective. When you zoom into the pixels of any picture, it is impossible to tell what the image is from dots of color. It’s not until you zoom out that the image forms into something that you can discern.
The power your voice has as a member of the youth population and a student.
You will find support in people and places you never thought you could.
Appreciate the moment, but always be thinking ahead to the next step.
Victory is not achieved with one set of actions.
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You will recognize the beauty and complexity within yourself.
How welcoming the community is, always open to listening to others opinions and experiences.
Fighting for a cause does not mean you are not falling victim to discriminatory activism.
Challenging the social norm is a full time lifestyle.
Finding Your Activism Passion and Purpose
A need in the
world or a
want to see
What you're good at or where your skills shine
What you love
to do or what brings you joy
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