“I don’t get involved in politics.”
Politics is how you see the world and how you wish the world to be.
If you’re not getting involved, that means you are profiting from the current status quo and you’re comfortable with that despite the oppression and suffering of others. We all bear some responsibility (no matter how big or small) for the state of the world.
I understand that sometimes the suffering and injustice in the world can be overwhelming, and we feel helpless in front of impossible problems: climate change, poverty, war, apartheid, police brutality, racism, misogyny, homophobia, violence, trafficking, murder, genocide, oppression, and all the other doom in the world. It can be paralyzing. We empathize with people who are suffering and feel helpless to alleviate this suffering.
“What can I do? I don’t have the power to change anything.“
We don’t have to carry the whole weight of the world’s problems on our shoulders. We are responsible for learning as much as we can about what’s going on, who it’s impacting, and how we can help.
Here are a few actions you can take, in whichever way or capacity makes sense for you.
Learn: No one can know the story of all the people in the world, but you can learn more about events you hear about on social media and the news, preferably from those who live in that part of the world and can share their personal experience first hand. Before approaching someone who is witnessing an injustice in their community, it’s important to do your own research and put in some effort into learning about what’s going on, so that the burden of education is not placed fully on another person .
Spread awareness: Once you’ve learned more about an injustice, you can discuss it with friends and family. Yes, sharing posts on social media alone can be defined as “slacktivism” but this is how many of us consume information today. Social media movements, have turned into protests, that have resulted in tangible change. The key is to combine spreading awareness with other change tactics.
Protest: Protests result in tangible change. Because of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests in the US and around the world, and the hard work of activists long before the protests began, there have been arrests made, laws changed, and promises made. The domino effect of the protests will have an impact on many facets of life. The public has the ultimate power and governments were created to serve the people, even though they sometimes forget that.
Vote, vote, vote: Voting is not only a right, it’s a privilege that many people around the world don’t have. Voting in local and municipal elections is just as important as nation-wide elections. Hold your representatives accountable for their promises, because the decisions they make in government will have an impact on your life in one way or another.
Donate: If you are able to, donate to a reputable institution or group that is working for positive change in the face of an injustice. Do some research into the non-profit organization, community group or GoFundMe and if it seems legitimate donate to the cause, however much you can – a little can go a long way.
Find Community: Rallying around a cause brings people together in a powerful way. Finding a community, whether it’s online or in your neighborhood can give you the hope and stamina needed to keep going and not give up. It helps to know that we are not alone in the fight.
Practice Self Care: Burnout is real. Contributing to positive sustainable change in the world is a marathon, not a race. It’s important to prioritize your mental and physical health above all else to keep going. Keep in mind, you can’t help anyone if you’re burnt out and exhausted.
The enemy of progress is apathy, so do something, no matter how small, it makes a difference.