By Megan Deem
1. Start Now
These days, there’s an overwhelming passion and sense of needing to do something to make a difference in the world. More and more people are fed up with feeling victimized and want to stand up and fight for what they believe in. Women and POC are still fighting for equal rights. We have an environmental crisis, political crises, gun crises. The problem for a lot of us who want to make a difference is knowing where to start. Here are four great resources to help you identify what’s most important to you and what you can do.
2. Speak Up
One of our fundamental rights is the right to vote, and that is perhaps the most powerful lever we have. Many people who are frustrated at where we are in the world are people who didn’t actually bother to vote. So we need to exercise that right, every opportunity we get. As a taxpayer and a voter, you should be registered to vote. If you’re not, go to https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote. You should also demand to be heard by your governmental representatives. Learn about your congresspeople and senators. See how they’re doing. Tell them what’s important to you and when they’re performing well and poorly. As they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease—when your elected official knows what’s most important to their constituents, they’re more likely to focus on those issues. To find your local congressperson, visit https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative. Look up contact information for your U.S. senators at https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
Still don’t like what you see? Consider running for office yourself. AOC did!
It’s no secret that charities rely on the kindness of others to keep the lights on and be able to do their important work. And it will likely make you feel good to help a cause you believe in. (Karma is a boomerang, after all.) You may already have some nonprofits that you work with regularly, but if you’re thinking of donating to a group that’s new to you, you may want to look it up on a website such as Charity Navigator, The independent organization rates more than 9,000 American charities on the basis of financial health as well as accountability and transparency.
There’s nothing like rolling up your sleeves and getting involved at the grassroots level. The human interaction makes for a far more rewarding experience. The benefits of helping others are twofold: Your organization of choice gets needed hands-on assistance (whether it’s making phone calls or walking dogs), and you feel better. (As in, demonstrably happier. According to the nonprofit HelpGuide.org, research has shown that humans are hardwired to help—so when we do, we get an immediate mood boost.) Plus volunteering is a great way to meet like-minded individuals in your community and expand your social circle. That can be extremely helpful, especially if you’re planning to…
It’s great to agitate for change from behind the scenes, but sometimes you just need to take it to the streets in order to make your point. And there’s nothing like being with hundreds, thousands, or millions of passionate like-minded people, fighting for a cause so near and dear to you. While some cities, such as L.A., have online calendars that keep track of local rallies, in many cases, Twitter is your best bet for keeping abreast of what’s happening in your area, especially for spontaneous gatherings. Search your location, adding keywords such as protest or climate change, and you’ll be able to see if a group is amassing, along with when and where.
The Raw Truth
Even what seems like a small act (like watching a documentary on climate change) can go a long way toward making you an effective activist. The most important thing you can do is to do something. There are myriad opportunities—at all levels—to get involved with causes you’re passionate about. We don’t all have to be Greta Thunberg, but we can use her as an inspiration to get started now. Now, go ahead and let everyone hear YOU raw!
Have any other sites to recommend? Please share your ideas below.