Activism: Choose Your Own Adventure
Many people are more ready, than ever, to take conscious action. And that excites me!
My particular service is spiritual activism. Sometimes, it doesn’t feel like it is enough.
I am constantly humbled by the level of activism that I have witnessed in history and within my own lifetime. It can make my offerings feel small, in a giant world. But, that is simply ego, attempting to stifle my voice and efforts. And frankly, the world doesn’t have time to wait for my ego to feel good about itself. It needs me to take action now.
And so, I take action, in small ways, on a regular basis. And, I have for some time. But, it’s also time to step it up.
So, it is in that spirit, that I invite you to join me in stepping up to whatever YOUR next level is.
If you are already deep into social and political activism (thank you!), there are many people that will be looking to you for guidance. I invite you to use your years of service as a solid platform from which to lead, if that resonates for you, as more leaders will now be necessary.
If you are new to activism, take heart in knowing that while it can feel overwhelming, small and steady acts are important and powerful.
Below is my offering on an approach to take action without overwhelm.
Or if you want to be told exactly what to do, I highly recommend THIS.
There are many things that could use support, at this time. So, rather than get overwhelmed with the sheer number of issues and organizations, that could benefit from your attention, choose one topic to focus on, for now.
I don’t want to limit you, but many people feel so overwhelmed by the choices, that they are paralyzed into inaction. So, I recommend you choose a focus, even if you change it up every few months.
What lights you up the most? Is there something with which you personally connect? If you feel a genuine connection, you will be more likely to sustain your activities. I, for example, have been focusing my attention and efforts on civil rights. Perhaps the part of me that was going to study law still has some things to say on that matter.
This is a fabulous list. Take a look and make a choice!
We don’t all have the same job, right now. Each of us has our very own gifts, and specific angles from which we can be in service. There are three angles that I feel are helpful, to better identify how you will serve.
For those that have a lot of time to contribute, this is your super power. Time can be used in any number of ways, from volunteering at your chosen organization, to calling your representatives about your chosen topic.
Got Cash? Great! Organizations need your dollars to do their job. And while that is obvious, sometimes people feel like financial contributions are not activism. If you feel guilty that all you are doing is making financial contributions, I invite you to re-frame that to, “I am grateful that I can support others, in their service, by funding this organization.”
And of course, we vote with our dollars everyday, so if money is your angle of activism, you can also be mindful of how your spending dollars affect the bigger picture.
Are people your thing? Do you have a large community of people with whom you are connected? Do you have a personal or professional platform that you can use? Then, this might be your best angle for service.
Consider fund raising for your chosen organization. Use skills you already have, such as writing or podcasts, to uplift and inspire people towards taking a specific action. Or organize specific activities that you invite your community to participate in.
Finally, choose your task(s).
Once you have aligned with your topic or organization, and you have identified what your most effective angle could be, be clear and specific about what actions you will take and when you will take them.
Most of us will get complacent if we just say that we are going to “support the ACLU.” But, just like any goal, if we make a list of what specific actions we will take, and in what timeline, we will be more likely to hold ourselves accountable.
If you don’t know what specific tasks to take, it means that your first task is to connect with a community of people who will tell you what tasks to take. It is easier than ever to do this with social media. So, look for your local chapter of your chosen topic or organization, online.
A task list might look like this:
- Set up fundraising page through organization website (Sunday)
- Create Facebook event page to invite friends to participate in fundraiser (Wednesday evening)
- Post on social media to bring attention to fundraising efforts (daily)
- Write personal email to close friends and family (next weekend)
You get the idea. Pretty straightforward. And I know it may seem obvious. But, sometimes the simplest things get overlooked. And a specific, detailed list encourages action.
When it comes to activism of any kind, I think it is important to identify your natural personality.
Are you a leader or do you like to be led?
Are you an introvert or extrovert?
Are you detail oriented?
Do you get distracted easily?
Set yourself up for success. Choose tasks that align with who you are IN THIS MOMENT.
If you get out of your comfort zone, that’s great too. But, right now, if each person just did one small thing in their comfort zone, we would benefit greatly.
Again, if you want to be told exactly what to do, I highly recommend THIS.
We need you. All of you. Do what you can.