So you’re kinda sorta new to activism. Hi!
You loved the march. Hell, maybe you were even there – your very first protest. It was my first protest, too. Pretty cool, huh?
Now, some real talk: You’re also probably white as all get out (samesies), since marginalized folks have been fighting for their rights for pretty much all of human existence.
So what now? How can you “stay woke,” as the kids say? Here are some excellent suggestions that are EASY, that you can do from the comfort of your home. Because bravery, much like a muscle, can start small and build up to greatness.
- Donate to places like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. Find places that fight for human rights (even if you personally already enjoy those rights!) and give your money to them if you can. I donate just $5/month to both of those places. It’s one cup of Starbucks per organization, per month. I’ll make that sacrifice.
- When you hear of a bill or a law or other political action you think is wrong, *call your representatives!* District, State Rep, Senator. Calls matter. They will want your zip code and you can talk to someone and say “please let XYZ know I’m a constituent who disagrees with this legislation, and asks XYZ to fight for our community against this bad law/regulation/whatever.” It takes two minutes to pick up the phone. Not sure who they are? I got you:
- Subscribe if you can to journalism with proven track records of vetting and fact checking. No news outlet is perfect; I’m sure you’ve seen retractions and corrections in your local papers and also in national ones. That doesn’t mean they’re worthless. Giving a good news outlet your money means they can hire hardworking journalists to get out there and do the groundwork for reporting the facts. Are you an Amazon Prime subscriber? Washington Post is only $3.99/Mo with your Prime sub. The New York Times is another good source for information.
- Find marginalized voices you find interesting in TV, movies and blogs. There’s some excellent TV happening right now that you can watch for new and different voices you probably aren’t used to taking in, like Black-ish, Fresh off the Boat, Speechless, Master of None, Empire and more. Then, if you enjoy them, share them with other people who might not have those experiences.
- When you hear someone say something racist, speak up. Say you don’t agree and you find it gross they would say something like that. Social shame is a powerful tool. And as Dumbledore says, “There are all kinds of courage. It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” Be brave. Stand up for others, even if you don’t know them. You might save a life, or keep someone from becoming cynical or hateful.
- Be brave. Remember that it isn’t easy, and you will fail at being a good ally sometimes. But that doesn’t mean you should ever stop fighting. When you mess up, just apologize and get back to finding ways to help. Humility is key.
You got this. Thank you for standing up. Now it’s time to get to work. Let’s do it.