1. Be aware of causes
What injustice do you see in the world? What are you passionate about?
2. Read up!
Why is this such an important issue? What have other people done in the past?
3. Seek out other people’s opinions of the issues
It’s important to understand all sides of the issue. This makes your arguments stronger, but the truth is there is no easy answer to many social issues. The world is not black and white: it has grey areas.
4. Talk about your beliefs
Most people aren’t intentionally hateful, they’re just not aware of the issue.
5. Join a group
Chances are, there are already groups of people near you and online who also feel passionately about the issue. Get to know them!
6. Be true to yourself
7. Stand up for what you believe in
If you’re around a group of people and someone says something bigoted, don’t let it slide. Speak up. You are knowledgeable about this issue by now and you deserve to be heard.
8. Don’t speak over other’s experiences
At the same time, people may have different feelings and often their experiences are valid too. This especially comes up in discussions of race and sexuality: just because you find something inoffensive does not mean that every other member of that marginalized group doesn’t either, and vice versa.
9. Organize events
Fundraisers! Awareness events! You can partner with a larger organization that will have guidelines for an event (charity:WATER, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society: Light the Night, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, Relay for Life etc.) or you can get a group of fellow activists together and start something (information panels, protests, marches, etc.)
10. Don’t be too hard on yourself!
There’s something called “activist burnout.” Activism takes a long time and it can sometimes seem as though a lot of work is turning out very little reward. The world isn’t going to change overnight, but be proud of the strides you are taking. Go easy on yourself. When you are calm and organized you become a better leader and activist.
(Top Image used under Creative Commons License. Photo Credit: Elvert Barnes.)