We’ve all seen posts on social media that include the phrase: “share this article/picture/story/picture etc. about this issue.” I’m not saying that these types of campaigns are bad, in fact that they are often very helpful for raising awareness of lesser-known issues.
However, they often fall into the trap of fake activism, also known as “slacktivism.” Slacktivism is a kind of passive “activism” that is based more in the ego gratification of the person doing it and less on actually making a difference for the cause they wish to help. Spreading awareness is helpful and important, but it doesn’t actually do anything to help the causes we champion. Social media makes activism easier than ever and more accessible to everyone, so society must be more conscious than ever about what it is fighting for.
How do we make ourselves into productive activists? First, educate yourself about the causes that you are passionate about and learn how, why and where it is happening. Figure out what is already being done to make significant change. Learn what the cause you are fighting for is; if it is a community of people, find what they need, not what you think they need.
Second, figure out what actions you can realistically take in your life to help your cause. For example, if you want to support the LGBTQ+ community, an action you can take is choosing to stop eating at Chick-Fil-A. Making sure that your actions align with the causes that you are fighting for is a great first step.
Taking action helps to not only solidify your commitment to the cause, but action also creates reaction and helps to make significant change.
Third, share what you are fighting for. Talk to the people in your life about things that matter to you. Now, this is where things get tricky: how do we spread awareness without falling into slacktivism? I wish I could give a perfect answer, but I can’t. But here is some advice: make sure you read and fact check things before you share them on the internet.
Finally, remember to be safe in your activism. Being an activist is hard, tiring, and some days feels like a pointless fight. As an activist you need to make sure that you don’t place yourself in direct danger in the name of activism. But it is also important to take care of yourself as well as the causes that you are fighting for. Being an activist takes work and time, and sometimes it feels like there is no way to do it “right.” But it is important.
In the modern age, being an activist for the causes that you care for has never been more accessible.
Activism changes the world; we need to prepare ourselves on how to be the best activists we can be. By doing so, it helps to make those changes achievable, safe and most