I’ve been an active organizer for well over five years; In fact, I was organizing without even knowing I was organizing, and engaging in political space-changers before I was able to theorize my comprehensible political stance.
I began organizing where most people do: University. It was a time of budget applications, grant-approvals, event planning and essay deadlines. Since graduating, I’ve seen the activist within me change shape: I’ve accepted life’s nuisances, abandoned my politics come back to them, reshaped them, identified with them and disidentified with them. No matter where you are in your process as a person, an activist, an artist, a student – chances are you have passion for at least something!
Turn that passion into something great, with these fives ways to engage your inner activist.
1. Hone in on Your Specialty
My specialty was always raising awareness about sex positivity: I’m lucky enough to know that now. But before, I surely didn’t. It took me years and years of excavating my soul and every school book before I was able to find that that one thing that stirred a revolutionary fire within me. Search for it, find it and hone in on it once you do. Don’t let go.
2. Connect with Others
Once you’ve found that specialty, and that fiery pit within you has taken hold, find others who share your passion. Community events, happenings on campus (campuses are always a hotbed of activism), marches, protests, whatever your fancy may be – there are sure to be events organized around the issues that have your heart. Get out to those events, meet and greet with people who seem like you might get a long and start meeting up outside of these events to get to the nitty-gritty of your particular interests to see if your views are inline.
3. Get Creative
Now that you’ve found your new crew, start organizing your ideas together. Create events, write stories and books, throw marches, host parties and screen movies – start working with your new partners-in-crime to creatively engage yourselves and others in your area of interest.
4. Connect Others with Others
Get a dialogue going. Sometimes the most important aspect can be increasing the discussion and creating awareness of certain issues that may be lagging in the mainstream. Along with hosting events, host discussion circles that are open to you, your new friends, your community members and anyone who thinks they may be interested in joining your cause. Expanding your network is a huge part of bringing your cause to light. It’s always important to discuss issues and actions while critically investigating those issues and your own actions to be sure that you’re not further harming the cause or others in your quest for freedom and justice. Praxis makes perfect.
5. Hustle Hard
Work at it. Harder than you ever have before. In my university years, I barely slept. This wasn’t because I was pulling all-nighters in the library like my fellow students; Instead I was emailing different organizations, researching new issues, planning events and writing budget proposals. I lived on coffee and passion for three years straight (and I regret none of it). Hustling hard is just part of the activist life – don’t burn out, and certainly take time for self-care, but know that the road ahead is long and we’ve found issues that live within us and all around us. It’s our duty to fight for them and with them, whatever they are.
“Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet.” – Alice Walker