Being active in the community and amongst the people has always been my energy driver. I could be emotionally down about something I care about, and the moment an opportunity arrives that allows me to give back, march for a cause, or mentor someone that needs guidance, I feel a resurgence of life and motivation. The challenge, however, is that our local communities have been imposed with new rules when it comes to socializing, making it more difficult to participate in conventional activism.
If you’re like me, you’ve come to grips with the fact that significant adjustments have to be made when it comes to how we spend our time working within our communities. But what are they? How can you safely engage in activism during this nationwide pandemic? The desire to help others and fight for causes we believe in isn’t something that you want to tuck away for later. If you have that fire, keep it lit. I’m talking through some tips and opportunities that can allow you to maintain your activism energy by shifting the access and touchpoints of your efforts.
Also, if you’re new to the practice of activism and find yourself frustrated by not having normal access to supporting a cause, know that you’re not alone. The first step is knowing what type of activism fuels you and brings you a greater sense of purpose. Once you unearth it, you can utilize my tips to channel your energy to offer full support in the new world of social distancing.
COMMUNITY FROM A DISTANCE
Isolation. Quarantine. Community Containment. These are words that six months ago, were nowhere near our normal discourse. But here we are, and as a result, we’ve been forced to become more self dependent on a day-to-day basis. It’s easy to lose focus on community needs when you’ve become so ingrained in taking care of yourself and your loved ones, but not everyone has the ability (financial or otherwise) to do so.
Local food banks and donation centers remain open and supporting them, whether it be through donations or safely volunteering on site, is vital in making sure people who don’t have access to basic meals and first aid medical supplies stay nourished and healthy. Meal programs for the elderly and children from low income families are looking for drivers and assistants. Giving blood is vital at this time. Even the simple act of checking up on neighbors that need support goes a long way.
All of these actions can ensure that you keep your desire to help others active, while also allowing for proper social distancing. They also ensure that you break out of any normalized routine that only puts you at the center of your daily management efforts. Helping others, even in times like this, can help yourself.
KEEP ACTIVISM ALIVE
Campaigning for causes you believe in, however, faces a real-deal challenge in today’s social climate. Meetings and group events have diminished, hampering the flow of communication and, as a result, can drop someone’s interest in participating in activism. For anyone who’s desire is to be a part of something bigger is tough to turn off, that can be incredibly disheartening.
One thing you can do is to engage with people about your beliefs, whether it be for social justice or any stance that supports those that can’t fight for themselves, online or through other forms of communication such as flyers or campaign ideas. Remember AIDS ribbons? We may not be able to see each other like we used to, but any small yet significant symbol can speak volumes for a cause as a social awareness campaign. Maybe it’s an emoji symbol used on profile names or in messaging. Perhaps it’s a symbolic character on a mask, shared in an Instagram story or on YouTube. Not giving way ideas here, but creatively speaking, symbolism doesn’t lose its power during times of crisis. If anything, people will actively search out for them.
THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
We all know how social media can turn opinions and videos into viral sensations. People are looking for content that draws their interest, with an eagerness to share what they’ve discovered. Those desires to listen, watch, and share have certainly not gone away during the pandemic. People are spending more time on social media, engaging with content, sharing information, and above all, learning about the world around them. There’s an opportunity right now to share your activism on social media and have it heard and seen by more people.
What can you do? For starters, create a Facebook page or Instagram handle dedicated to what you believe in. Maybe you turn this page into a local community hub for information. Perhaps there’s a larger, global fight you want to be a part of, and Facebook groups already exits. Running a local chapter to support your cause may be the way to go.
If you’re more on the creative side, create short videos that function as a live blog. There’s no need for a fancy setup. Your computer and your phones are video recording machines. Speak your mind, and press record! Maybe your video carries a simple approach, where you simply share information and rally up support. You may be surprised how many people think like you but may not have had a focused platform that allows them to speak their minds. Be the person that lights their activism fire.
EVEN IN TOUGH TIMES, ACTIVISM IS ALIVE AND WELL
The shift in the way we live our lives now hasn’t made activism go away; it’s simply been altered in the way we perform our activism duties. Think positive, and remember that in tough times, those that need community support need it now more than ever. The fire inside of you that wants to do community outreach and support for those fighting injustice, don’t let that subside. Keep it alive, and let’s continue to make the world a better place.
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