Activists and Activist movements can bring about significant change. Activism creates public awareness, influences public opinion, policy makers, and ultimately social change. It can be a long hard road.
A Deeper Look:
Negative narratives about immigrants, minorities, women and other vulnerable groups were going on before, during, and after the 2016 election. But beginning with the day after the inauguration in 2017, kicked off by The Women’s March, a huge number of people spontaneously took to the streets, marching on Washington and every major city and town, carrying signs, holding vigils, and confronting elected officials. It’s appalling to see the continued negative actions, words, and policies coming from the White House – the response to disaster in Puerto Rico, separating children from their families, holding families in cages, changes in healthcare, and so much more.
Steps We Can Take:
Here are some things you can do, and you can invite your family, friends, and others in your sphere of influence to do them too.
- Research, read, and gather information. Educate yourself about the important events happening in the world around you.
- Volunteer to work on a campaign that you care about, whether for a candidate or a specific issue. Put a sign in your yard or window, donate money, make phone calls, text, write letters or postcards to your representatives and/or your neighbors and friends.
- Publish articles or letters to the editors of local and national newspapers or other publications or post on social media.
- Use your social media to learn and to inform. FACTS ONLY, please. Check sources. Help spread useful information for people to consider.
- Contact organizations and see how you can help – there are many jobs and tasks that are needed and would be most appreciated. This website is full of organization links with lots of requests on them for general donations, specific items needed, or various opportunities to help.
Protect and Elect was formed by a group of local citizens in 2017 for the purpose of educating themselves in the political arena and fundraising for promising candidates at municipal, state, and federal levels. Their group is an example of citizens being empowered to activism. The mission of Protect and Elect is to help elect candidates who represent and will protect democratic values and are committed to making our country more equitable and inclusive. We spoke with Marilyn Frank, a Clinical Social Worker and founding member of the group on the podcast entitled Does This Look Winnable?
Our neighbor, across the river in Camden NJ, Sister Nurah Muhammad has received multiple awards for her community activism, or as she refers to it: Actionism. She believes in ‘Being the Movement’ and works in her community to lift others up, to engage and enrich them. Her biggest focus is on the suffering of the youth in her community who face a society that devalues them. She sees feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem impacting the adolescent population and does what she can to empower them through programs such as the Camden Youth Leadership and Readiness Program. She is also a part of Camden’s youth Violence Prevention Plan and is a volunteer chaplain with the NJ Juvenile Justice Commission. Nurah offers a model of passionate work in an area of need. She hosts the Nurah Speaks podcast and has a rich website at nurahmuhammad.com. Listen in to our conversation with her: Actionism: Sister Nurah Muhammad
One of our early guests, Rosalind Holtzman, is one of the many people we know who have been mobilized to action because of the offensive policies and practices of the administration right after the 2016 election. She spoke to us about how she decided to get involved and become an activist. Listen in: Discovered My Inner Street Preacher
Another early guest, Betsy Teutsch, described her own impressive efforts at activism. After extensive research, she published 100 Under $100: One Hundred Ways to Empower Global Women. This book includes beautiful pictures and more than 100 ways to help empower women around the world, all for less (sometimes way less) than $100. Listen to our interview with Betsy: Delivering a Baby in the Dark
We interviewed Shannon Bearman, an ‘accidental’ political activist who found herself running for public office after having volunteered as a local Committee Member in a suburban ward. Listen to our conversation with her: An Accidental Activist