I strongly believe in helping each other and the idea of treating others as you'd want them to treat you.
Why Is Activism So Important?
There's a reason the founding fathers of the United States put freedom of speech, press, and religion in the First Amendment. The importance of our freedom of speech is without parallel in the world of today. We are ever connected via phones, social media, mass media, as well as personal online outlets.
Words can change the world just as much as actions. Speeches have started wars while crumbling men and women as much their own actions have built them up. With that said, we have Representatives in our Government for the sole purpose of listening to and representing our views. They can never know what we want for ourselves unless we speak up.
When it comes to those in power who will not hear our direct attempts at speaking to them, then we must go another route. The many are stronger than the few. Speaking up and taking matters into our own hands via peaceful actions is a good way to get others to speak up and get involved in a cause. The following is a list of five easy ways to get involved in a peaceful but productive manner.
I would like to note that this is primarily centered around political-based issues. However, this article is not limited only to certain politics. Activism is getting behind a cause that you believe in that may or may not be in the spotlight. It may seem small to others compared to other issues but that does not change the importance of the matter. Sometimes it takes one person to stand up for what they believe.
When we don't speak up we are part of the problem. Speak up and become part of the solution.
1. Educate Yourself
The number one way you can jump into activism is starting to educate yourself. Not just on the big topics of the day; but with local, national, and world events going on all around you. When you educate yourself you can better share the information, form solid opinions, and not feed into something that just isn't true. When we choose to remain ignorant on a matter we are no better than the people we oppose.
You might think that watching the news or reading a newspaper is enough to become informed in a general way. Just remember that mass media is in the money-making business. If they can, they will take information that can easily be twisted in order to make more money.
2. Effectively Utilize Social Media
Some people refer to social media activism as slacktivism as it doesn't seem to do much in the end. However, studies have shown that people are more likely to show up for a cause or even show up to support a larger event in the future.
However, there's a lot more to activism on social media sites than just liking something on Facebook, sharing a tweet, or posting a video. Activism is exactly as the name implies; it's active. While showing your support for a cause and helping the spread of information is an extremely important part of activism there has to be some extra push on an individual part.
Once you have a fair amount of knowledge about the event you find yourself drawn to, it's time to put those fingers to work. Read over related articles, share them, and share your thoughts. That means writing a well-versed and educated paragraph describing your thoughts. If someone were to comment remember to stay calm, be polite, and sometimes agree to disagree. People are much more receptive if they don't feel attacked when debating a topic.
3. Donate or Volunteer
If you find yourself with extra time on your hands or find a cause really sticks out to you, then simply donate your time or some money to the cause. Make sure to always do your research so you know what exactly it is you're giving money to if you choose to do so.
I would provide a list, however, everyone's views are not the same. A simple search and some research on different nonprofits will help show you what they do and how they do it.
4. Register to Vote
The title says it all. If you do nothing else at all, then you should vote. Don't stick with your conventional Democratic or Republican party either. Fight for what you believe. Vote for who you believe is the best choice. This is your country as much as it is for the next person who votes. We all have a say.
5. Call Your Representatives
Calling your state representatives may seem pointless at times. Why bother if you're not even being heard? Is it really worth it? The short answer is yes, it is. It's the same concept of voting but it has a much more direct impact. While one call might not be heard, an overwhelming surge of calls cannot be ignored.
As stated earlier in this list, educate yourself, engage on social media, and let your voice be heard.
This list of congressional representatives along with this list of US Senators are great resources for contacting representatives.
The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.
— Albert Einstein
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.