Why is this important? Because whatever you are doing, you don’t want to be passive, but rather actively involved. You are probaby reading this because you have at least a marginal interest in what happens in your community/the world. Well, here are some really easy suggestions to help you get and stay active.
First, let’s get into some technicalities:
An activist is a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change: “a committed animal rights activist”
Activism consists of efforts to promote, impede, or direct social, political, economic, or environmental change, or stasis with the desire to make improvements in society and correct social injustice.
DAMN- say that 3 times real fast.
So, Shameeka, what about you? Are you active in activism?
It’s funny you ask. I have taken the last year and a half to work on myself. I have been doing some things for the Monument Quilt, and played a small, unplanned, part in the Baltimore uprising. Since then, I have been behind the scenes and, again, focused on the internal work of evolving so that I can better serve the world. One of those avenues is through writing and sharing my experiences. Which led me to this topic, since many people ask me about getting active and avoiding burnout.
Here are my suggestions for being an activist who is active:
Believe in the Cause
If you don’t believe in what you are doing, you won’t follow through with it. This will make you look flightly to the organizers, and it will make the orgazniation look disorganized to outsiders. You will have time to figure out your niche once you get your feeet wet, sotake your time and research the organization/cause.
If you aren’t having fun, then what are you doing this for? It is a complete waste of time, life energy, and potential to spend it doing what you don’t love. If you are not having fun, your potential will not be maximized and you will end up being negative and not a nice person.
It also helps if you don’t take the results personally. Often times, when we want to help a movement, we get caught up in what the results are. I have given up on a business at the moment it was going to break to success, and only realized it years later. When you are enjoying the work, then you are living in the moment, so that you are not overly concerned with the end result. If you spend your time focused on the effort and the energy you are putting in, then you will reap more benefits.
In dealing with those who are undergoing great suffering, if you feel “burnout” settling in,if you feel demoralized and exhausted, then it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself. The point is to have a long term perspective.” ~Dalai Lama
This is the most important thing to remember! If we are not engaging in self-care,then we are not helping anyone; we are harming them. Create a self-care practice and strick with it.Allow it to evolve, but make sure that you are taking care of you first. You deserve it!
So, what next?
Well, if you are not sure what to do, you could always become involved with the Monument Quilt (shameless plug, HERE). “The Monument Quilt is a crowd-sourced collection of thousands of stories from survivors of rape and abuse. By stitching our stories together, we are creating and demanding public space to heal.” There is more than one way to get involved in the Monument Quilt; you can create a quilt square, facilitate a workshop, volunteer at the studio, at a display, on a committee, or just donate. I recommend this project if are looking to get involved in healing, have an interest in intersectionality, and upsetting rape culture.
You don’t have to become involved in the Monument Quilt- there are literally THOUSANDS of programs and projects you can join, or you can start your own, like Ama Chandra recently did.
How do you engage in activism? What suggestions doyou have for those who want to become more involved? Share your thoughts below!