“Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet”~ Alice Walker
What does it mean to be an activist? Is it just a trendy term, an adjective best used to describe oneself at various community events, or a buzzword to use in social justice circles, or on social media profiles? Why does it seem like so many folks call themselves Activists, but you rarely see them actually doing anything significant that’s enacting actual change?
In my world view, to be a true Activist means to truly care about your community. It means you feel an innate sense of responsibility to take action with the goal of effecting social change using the knowledge, skills, tools, resources and any other effective means that you have at your disposal. And while this can occur in a myriad of ways and in a variety of forms, it does actually require Real Action, not just talk.
Now don’t get me wrong, progress begins with dialogues; like minded folks coming together to decide a plan of action, with a mutual understanding that it’s imperative to pool resources and share knowledge and respect and acknowledge that one person does not know All and can not do All.
As an Activist, you should be focused on the most efficient and effective ways ‘to change the world’ through social, political, economic or environmental means. This can be led by individuals but we’ve seen this more often done collectively through social movements like the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Suffrage Movement, and the Occupy Wallstreet Movement, to name a few. Regardless of whether a movement began with a single individual, it was when folks came together and collectively made it happen that movements flourished and progress was ultimately made!
I’m referring to the type of campaigning activism that includes protests, strikes, demonstrations etc. The key to this type of activism is that it is demand-driven with the aim being an ultimate change in policy, practice or operations on the local and/or federal level. This sort of action must be strategic and often takes the form of short-term actions, but can also be long-term sustained campaigns if and when you see folks from different organizations being able to understand the value in collaborating and working together.
The type of activism that I believe in seeks to fundamentally change this corrupt, dominant system to a new way of living and I’m not particularly concerned with superficial reforms and piecemeal changes that in the long term serve no benefit to us the People. I’m looking for folks who are ready for the Revolution, who understand the political nature of this ‘Social Justice World’, but at the same time is tired of the politics and wants to find an effective way around and through the BS to get to the pathway to Change. And I invite anyone who feels the same to join me.