Social based activism is becoming a part of our daily dialogue and its incredible. Since the inauguration of Trump, record numbers of people have turned out to protest against his misogyny, racism, ableism, transphobia, homophobia and now his ban on Muslim asylum seekers entering the US. Every day more and more people are subscribing to this social movement and getting deeper into this form of activism and it makes my heart warm. (whether that's scientifically possible or not) But let me tell you, at one point I wasn't as embroiled in this activism as I am now.
I've grown up in a tiny village surrounded by fields and cows. My childhood, however amazing, was lacking in the culture department. Because of this I was very ignorant to the issues facing the rest of the world, because I existed in this tiny bubble of naivety. As I got older and I found out more about feminism, sexuality, race issues and general social activism I found myself immersed in this new world. I went from knowing nothing, to being quite frankly, overwhelmed by the amount of things wrong with this world. The power of social media was and still is to this day, outstanding. Everything I learnt, I learnt from the internet. As infuriating as I find the world most days (especially recently) I take great comfort in social and political activism. Thanks to living in such a thriving democracy, we are able to critique the government and undercut every bad decision they make. The power of people coming together in search of equality and justice for those who have been silenced is phenomenal.
But what can you do? I know that you may be thinking that these social revolutions and political marches have nothing to do with you and that you're just a young student. But I promise you that there is so much you can do to help. First of all, do not underestimate the importance of social media. Follow accounts on twitter that speak up on these important issues. Even if you can't make it to these protests or marches, you can share things on social media advocating the importance of them. The next thing you can do is create discussions in your day to day life and spark the interests of those around you. Whether that's at university, work or home, use your voice to educate those around you on these issues. Speak up and share your opinions and listen to others. To be a good activist, your opinion should be constantly evolving. Find a news source that you trust and keep up to date with it. Keep educated on what's going on around you and make sure the facts you are sharing are credible. Another thing you can do is open your eyes to the struggles of others, by this I mean watch interviews and chat shows discussing issues that don't necessarily effect you. If you're white, open your eyes to issues faced by people of colour. If you're a man, do the same thing with women's issues. Surround yourself with the narratives of others and stand up for their rights. I understand that so many of these issues might not affect you personally, but use your compassion and human decency to fight for those whose voices have been taken away.
And finally, just don't be silent. If you are silent then you are just as bad as the oppressive people we are fighting against. Use whatever voice or influence you have to make a real change.