Hey there! How are you? I know, I’m trying to figure out where to start the conversation, since the last time we spoke, the world has gotten off the couch and moved into the streets. Most of us are overwhelmed by what we are seeing, while others are learning American history with each passing day. Unfortunately, people are also discovering that social media, while fun and entertaining, can be a trigger for a great deal of our mental stressors. Even more distressing is when it is discovered that people you’ve known for many years have very differing views from your own.
It can really be distressing when friends you enjoy interacting with on a daily basis begin posting articles that are several years old, aren’t factual or are from less than credible sources. Instead of sitting behind the keys, tapping through your anger, there are other ways to handle the change not only in your attitude towards the human race, but also in the changes occurring throughout the world. Notice I didn’t say America? The changes occurring are global.
Here is a point I want to make before we go any further. You are a global citizen. There are ways you can get involved with making changes and engaging in activism in real life as well as on social media without losing your mind or losing your friends. The big question becomes, instead of contributing to the arguments taking place online, let’s take a step back and shift the focus to contributing to moving you and the cause in which you champion forward in real life.
I know right? Wouldn’t it be cool to find a way to help the causes you believe in, while sharing the news of progress instead of just sharing postings? This gives you real time action on what you as a global citizen are doing to help. Here are five ways you can engage in social activism.
1. Write a letter to an organization
Reaching out to organizations that citizens feel have done something unfair or biased is a great way to get involved with social activism. This is a simple step which is do-able and can make a difference. Companies will respond especially, if the hard copy, mailed letter you write is shared on social media. In constructing a well-written message with evidence and a clear declaration of processes that needs to change, citizens can use their voices to learn useful skills of persuasion and at the same time, work towards making a difference.
2. Engage in community service
In addition to organizing and advocating on a large scale, citizens are encouraged to participate in local community service issues they care about. For example if you are concerned about the growing homeless issue, volunteer at a homeless shelter, clean out your closet and donate to half-way homes, or local groups. Working on the front lines and seeing the faces of real life people in need, deepens the understanding and builds empathy not only for the volunteer, but those who follow you on social media are also learning as you go.
3. Raise money
Raising money is a tangible means for citizens to donate to community or national efforts to address social change. You can raise money in all sorts of ways by organizing a neighborhood yard sale around a local issue to fundraising on a larger scale for a national matter like disparities in the criminal justice system. Raising money keeps the hands and mind engaged, allowing citizens to truly become an active member of a bigger picture and supports the cause.
4. Advocate for legislation
Change arrives in a variety of transportation and one of these vehicles are through legislative change. The primary advocates for the DREAM Act have been young citizens known as the DREAMers, who have a personal investment in the issue. On social media, reading an researching can provide opportunities for your friends and followers to learn about the history and impact of legislative change like the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As an active citizen it can be a daily goal to work towards pushing for legislation by working with other groups with similar goals, building coalitions and writing letters to their legislators to advocate for specific local, state and federal laws.
As citizens learn about an issue in which they are passionate, the healthy instinct is to share the information with others. It can be a life-changing experience for you and your followers to show others how to find credible sources, historical websites where the information posted had been researched and vetted or how to spot news that not truthful.
We all want to be better. We all have a different experience. I can tell you my story and show my journey, or we can grow together and learn how to help both of our perspectives.
Together, we can be a better citizen.