Activism is often a calling; people are compelled to help when they see something wrong in the world. That is also the beauty of activism – that you can do something to bring about real change. There are countless ways in which you can help, from petitioning to protesting to even personally advocating and helping victims of injustice.
If you are looking for ways to get involved, then keep reading.
Give Your Time
Showing up to rallies and protests is important, but that is not the only way to use your time to show support. There are many groups that could use some more help or who are looking for volunteers. You do not have to give all your free time, but allocating some time regularly to go and help can be extremely beneficial to these organizations.
Often direct service organizations are overwhelmed by people who need help, and they can always use extra bodies. You can find these in your local area and make a change in your local community. You can also donate supplies to them; if you have anything that you don’t use anymore that they could use, take it down there.
Marching is not the only way that you can demonstrate your beliefs. You can speak out in a number of other ways too. Social media is an incredible tool for activists. You can share important links and resources to your social media accounts. This is often the first step to educating others and helping them to join the cause.
Conversations can lead to change, so have them. Challenge the views of those you know as long as you feel comfortable doing so. Silence can be seen as complicity. Use your voice and your platform, sign petitions; if you see an advert that perpetuates stereotypes or relies on outdated views, then make a complaint.
Boycotting businesses that you feel are morally corrupt can make a difference. Try to support smaller businesses whose ethics match your own. The way you choose to spend your money can be unknowingly contributing to the problem. That being said, it is a murky area as some people do not have the money to shop as ethically as they would like; however, you do not need to take an all or nothing approach.
Donate directly to the non-profits and charities that help the causes that matter to you. If you want to make a bigger donation, then consider fundraisers. They can be incredibly effective and allow you to give substantial contributions. Although they can be difficult to organize, if you don’t know where to start, consider this fundraising site: Givebutter. It is totally free to sign up, and you gain access to a huge number of fundraising tools that can help you on your fundraising journey.
Use the System
Marching does send a strong message to the powers that be about your political agenda and the issues that you care about. However, it is not always enough to bring about real change. Engage with the system itself. There are constantly templates shared online that you can use to communicate with your elected officials and the people who head up legislation efforts. Use them. Calling or emailing your representatives can bring about real, actionable change. Use online resources to figure out a plan of action.
Get involved with the elections both locally and nationally. Pick the positions and candidates that best represent your views and speak up and out for them. Encourage your friends and family to be involved and engaged too. Although it is not always a perfect solution, your vote does count—vote and demand accountability at the highest levels. Your elected officials are public servants; it is literally their job to serve the public.
Marches & Protests
Even if you cannot always physically be there, you can still support the aims of the organizers. Spread the word and let others know. Use hashtags and other social media tools to show support for the agenda. Advertise for them by putting up flyers or handing out leaflets. Donate to march fundraisers or volunteer at the march.
If you can go, then go; there is strength in numbers. Create boards, placards and banners to show your position. However, marches and protests can be risky, so make sure that you take your own safety seriously. There is a number of resources and checklists online that you can use to ensure that you are prepared.
Standing firm and preserving is the key to encouraging actionable change. Contribute what you can when you can. Activism has been a driving force behind many different civil rights advancements; it can be incredibly effective. Sometimes it can feel like you are only one person and you can’t do much, but everyone can do something to ensure progress is not halted.