Activism is easier than you think

18 05 2009

Renee wrote a post recently about activism and what fighting for social justice is all about.  Many people equate activism with attending protests or rallies, going to conferences, or large gestures as such.  However, the small steps we take and the small things we do add up and can amount to significant change as well.  The personal is political and what we do in our daily lives does have an impact.

This is what micro activism is – the decisions we make and the actions we take in our daily lives that may not necessarily be grand gestures but certainly make a statement about our personal beliefs/values, and reflects our opposition to social institutions and systems that are oppressive and damaging.  It includes blogging, being conscious about where we shop, mentoring someone younger than us, calling someone out on disrespectful and offensive jokes or comments, etc.

Like Renee says, micro activism isn’t about what everyone around you is doing.  It’s about what you are doing, or what you can do:

Small everyday acts disturb the norm…Each person we touch is an opportunity to make change.   One need not lobby on Capitol Hill to take on the label of activist, you simply need to live your stated beliefs to the best of your abilities.

Keeping all of this in mind, I recently bought and read 50 ways to improve women’s lives: the essential women’s guide to achieving equality, health, and success.

50 waysIt was put together by the National Council of Women’s Organizations and features fifty short, easy to read essays by different feminist activists on various issues to care about and take action on along with easy ways to get involved.  Contributors include Helen Blank, the director of leadership and public policy at the National Women’s Law Center; Dianne Feinstein, California’s senior senator, the first female president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the first female mayor of San Francisco, and the first woman elected senator of California; Gloria Feldt, the president of Planned Parenthood; Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization of Women, and Madeleine Albright, the first female Secretary of State.

This book is very informative and inspiring.  It’s broken up into seven comprehensive sections: Do It for Your Health; Practice Real Family Values; Grow Your Money, Grow Your Mind; Lead the Way; Forge a Path for the Next Generation; Build the Community You Want to Live In; and Reach for the World.  The essays/primers on important issues and guides to activism cover a diverse range of topics including supporting prenatal care across the globe, creating community media, promoting financial literacy, combating human trafficking, ending sexual harassment, and teaching honest sex ed.

This is a book that I highly recommend to everyone.  Many people often wonder, but what could I possibly do?!  Well, this book certainly has some answers to guide you along.


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