A Beginners Guide to Activism
If you have been watching the news lately, you will be aware that there is a number of issues worth fighting for. Protesting is a basic human right; never forget that. The current political climate is incredibly polarizing, and, as such, a lot of people are looking to get involved, many for the very first time. Trying to decide where to start can be overwhelming and, frankly, confusing. There are many different routes into activism with different levels of commitment depending on what you can afford to give in terms of time, energy, and money.
If you are unsure about where to start, consider the following:
Find the Issues You’re Passionate About
This is the preliminary step. What matters to you? When you consider the state of the world, what are the things that get you riled up? It could be animal rights, civil rights, environmental issues, global injustice, education, or a vast number of others. You do not have to simply choose one but trying to narrow down the issues that deeply matter to you on a personal level can help you to get started.
Once you know what issues you want to focus on, begin to follow them in the news and on social media. Search using keywords that relate to your issues to tailor your results better. Look up activist groups or publications and subscribe to them to help you connect better. Try to look at the effects of these issues in your local area if applicable. Often these groups will list ways that you can make a difference in their bio or website.
When you have a better base of knowledge, there are several practical things you can do to further the cause. Firstly, voice your opinions and share petitions, fundraisers, and articles on your social media. You could even consider starting a blog, or social media account solely dedicated to your cause. Doing this can help educate your friends, family, and followers.
If you have already researched groups or organizations, then it should be easier for you to begin to donate your time and money. Consider setting aside some time regularly to help the organization of your choice. If you feel that you are too busy to donate your time or be effective in doing so, consider donating some money instead. If this is also out of your purview, then why not set up a fundraising page. For example, Givebutter is a great platform that consolidates a plethora of fundraising tools for your ease, and it is totally free to sign up to.
While donating money can make a huge difference to the causes, remember that the opposite is also true. Whatever your focus is on actively choosing not to buy products or services from companies whose unethical practices negatively impact the cause is also a powerful tool. Furthering this idea, are there any lifestyle changes that you can personally make to contribute. For example, if you are really passionate about animal rights, why not consider switching to a vegetarian diet or trying to have a few meat-free days a week. If you care more about environmental issues, then try to limit your use of single-use plastic by bringing your own carrier bags to the shop and using reusable bottles or coffee cups. These changes in no way have to huge overhauls to your daily life, but smaller changes can make a difference over time.
Consider joining activism groups or become a member of a non-profit. These groups are dedicated to bringing around real change, and by joining them, you can find out more about how you can help too. They may organize protests or community events which you can go to, to show your support. Going to these events is one of the easiest and arguably best ways to get involved in activism, especially within your local community. Check the events page on Facebook or search on other social media; usually, any activism groups you belong to will let you know if there is anything going on that you may want to be a part of. Going to protests allows you to see how many other people care about these issues too, and often you get to meet many other like-minded people. You also get to support your local community and become a more engaged citizen.
The first step to activism is education. There are many different issues that affect the world today, and becoming more knowledgeable is the best thing that you can do to ensure that you do not fall into the pitfalls of fake news or biased reports. Sometimes it can feel like navigating a minefield but remember to persevere. Some people think that you must eat, sleep, and breathe activism to be a good activist, but that simply isn’t feasible for some people. Try to do what you can, when you can – it’s that easy.