Imagine a world where Martin Luther King never had a dream.
It seems almost absurd to envision the world today without the influence of Dr. King, but briefly pause to realize just how different the world would be without the movements that he led. Without the protests and boycotts he organized. Without the sacrifices that he made. The world would be a radically different landscape, and not for the better. What did he do that was so different?
Martin Luther King took action.
Taking action is one of the most powerful weapons in an activist’s proverbial arsenal. Emphatic, nonviolent methods of protest have changed the course of history time and time again. Young adults have the capability to take action as much as an adult can, even if they may start on a smaller scale. With the right foundation and expectations, any young activist can get to work fighting injustice. So, what are we waiting for?
The Right Foundation
Contrary to popular belief, activism encompasses much more than just protesting or writing a petition. Before any wholesale change can occur, other decisive factors should be considered. By staying well-informed, widening your perspective, and looking to role models, you will have taken crucial steps towards becoming a socially conscious activist. But these guidelines are pointless unless the choice is made to follow the most important principle of activism: taking action. Think of these other tenets as representing the foundation of a house, with the rest of the house embodying the concept of taking action. Just as how a house cannot exist without its foundation, so too it is unlikely that you can effectively fight injustice without applying these principles first.
But after implementing these practices, a whole new array of options is suddenly at your disposal. By staying informed, you can recognize when injustice occurs and work quickly to combat it. By holding a broader outlook on life, you can understand the rationale behind both the proponents and the opposition to your cause. And last but not least, looking to role models offers textbook examples of the heights you can reach if you wish to bring about change.
The Right Expectations
Except when it comes to change, most people do not want to bring about much of anything. It can be difficult to find the motivation to take that all too important first step towards change, especially when many individuals already hold a skeptical view on the merits of activism. Or on the other side of the spectrum, there is sometimes a disproportionate expectation that as a young activist, you must make your mark on society immediately.
While some may follow this approach of, “Diving into the deep end,” it is more conducive to start slowly and get a feel for how the various intricacies of activism actually work. Not to say that it remains impossible for a young activist to burst onto the scene and take the world by storm, but it is simply more practical to adopt a viewpoint that reflects the common majority. Instead of becoming overwhelmed by unrealistic expectations, stay grounded by recognizing that large changes take time to materialize.
Ways to Take Action
Writing petitions. Raising money. Spreading awareness. Even organizing or participating in a protest. The way you take action is limited only by your imagination and basic common laws that we all follow. Get creative. But if you want to take action over an issue and still don’t know exactly how you are going to, don’t stress out. In the next few articles, we will be going over in more detail the best ways that you can take action.
The world is out there, waiting to be changed by the next group of ambitious young adults.
Will you be one of them?
Written By: Sam Gorman, founder of Youngchange-Bestchange
What are your ideas on how to take action? Let us know in the comments below.
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