Black Lives Matter and The Great Climate March all got huge boosts thanks to social media.
But these movements wouldn't be successful without the real-world actions that follow all of this online organizing. Can you imagine a Great Climate March without the march?
Online activism does a lot to raise awareness and change minds. But it's only the first step.
These movements need you to take the next step: go offline and make a real difference!
Attend An Event
You see a post on your timeline about a demonstration in your neighborhood, or an info session about a cause you care about deeply. You really want to attend the event!
Before you go :
Do some research about the organizers, hosts, speakers, etc. Do they have credible experience with the cause or movement? What can you learn from attending?
Protests can get pretty intense, so make sure both you and the organizers have a safety plan in mind.
The event might also have some participation guidelines (no photos, peaceful behavior, etc.) so make sure you're familiar with them.
Bring a like-minded friend or group of friends with you if you don't feel comfortable going alone.
Spread The Word
If you feel like you have enough understanding about the issue, engage with friends and family to see if they're interested in discussing it.
When having a political discussion:
Think about the person or people you want to approach about the topic. When/where/why do you want to talk to them? What message do you want to send?
Gently bring up the topic to see where they stand.
You don't need to win them over! It can be useful to know each others' perspectives and learn more about the topic without having to change everyone's mind.
You might have to de-escalate the conversation if it gets heated.
Join A Group
Look around you! There might be all kinds of groups and organizations in your city that align with the causes you want to help.
Just make sure to ask the group what they need to see if your skills and talents will come in handy.
Find your role:
If you're good at art/design: offer to make posters, social media infographics, protest signs, or anything that might help the group communicate its message.
If you're good at photography: ask if they need someone to take pictures at events or for promotional opportunities.
If you're good at writing: help write their social media posts, email newsletters, blog posts, etc.
If you're good at talking/debating: see if they need someone to knock on doors, talk to people in the street, host events, or give speeches.
Shaya wants to volunteer for a women's shelter but she's not sure how she can contribute. She works at a clothing store. What roles could she fulfill?
You don't have to do huge things to make a big difference! Small scale actions in your community can lead to bigger changes in the future.