Ten Steps to Start Being an Activist

  1. Start Small- Many people lapse into apathy because they feel that there is nothing that they, as an individual, can do to help others effectively. Yet every little action helps.
  2. Volunteer!-  If you have time, find a local non-profit or grassroots organization that you want to help. Pick an issue near to your heart. Realistically convey both your skills and amount of time to that organization.
  3. Step Up!- When you see a local group or organization calling for help, just do it! Pick one thing you can reasonably do during a time frame (this week, this month, this year etc.) and do it.
  4. Find a role model- If you are unsure of what to do, find someone who seems to be active in the things you wish to do in the community and ask for their guidance. Often they will be more than willing to help you! You may find that they also did not know what to do when they started.
  5. Stand up!- When you see injustice say something. This can be scary, especially when friends, family or work colleagues are involved. Assess your comfort level with doing this, but do not be afraid to push outside of your comfort zone. Truly changing people’s minds starts with stating your truth.
  6. Find a buddy (or two)- It can be scary to step out to do social justice work if you have never done it before, or haven’t in a long time. Find someone who is equally interested who wants to do it with you. A friend will understand your limitations, but also help you feel comfortable in new situations.
  7. Research- If you are interested in a topic, there is a good chance there is a local organization working on it. See what they are doing, when they are meeting and if they run any pages or groups on social media.
  8. Incorporate social justice into your everyday life and work- Work for policies and changes in your day-to-day life that can help progress social justice. Could your work do better at accommodating people with disabilities? Do field trips at your kids school embrace a variety of cultural experiences? Use your power in those familiar locations to promote social change.
  9. Use your own gifts and resources- Are you an artist, a writer, a teacher or own your own business? Do you have skills and resources you can use to effectuate social change? You do not have to change who you are to be an activist, you can promote social change in the same ways that you impact other areas of the world, by using your unique strengths.

Accept that you do not have to be the best activist-  You don’t have to know everything, you don’t have to do everything. You may make mistakes or run into confrontation. You may have to take a break because of family or work related stresses. That is okay. There is no day that will not work for picking up your banner and starting again. You can make a mistake and still carry on. The world needs people who show up. Be one of those people.