If you’ve read my previous article, you now know what online activism is and how it spread. Today, I’d like to go back on the notion of activism and offer a sort of guide for those who would like to become activists. Here goes the Activist’s 10 Commandments.
1. EDUCATE YOURSELF
It all starts with our own education. Read, check out documentaries, listen to podcasts on your way to work — whatever you can do to learn the most that you can about your cause will only help to make you a better activist by giving you the knowledge you need to educate others and ignite change.
2. EDUCATE OTHERS WITH KINDNESS
Once you have the knowledge, share it. Share it with your friends and family, help them to get an interest in social matters. It’s likely they’ll know what you talk about. Maybe they didn’t consider it before and you can open their eyes on certain subjects. The best way to create an awareness and stand up is to share our knowledge.
3. IF YOU HAVE MONEY, GIVE IT
This isn’t for everyone. The fastest way to help someone is to give some money. You can help victims of abuse find a safe place to live, you can help feed poor children… So if you can donate, do it. And if you do, make sure to donate directly to the organization. You’ll know where your money goes.
4. IF YOU DON’T HAVE ANXIETY, GO TO PROTESTS
Another concrete way to participate to our society’s change is by going to protests. But let’s be honnest, you really don’t have to be scared of the crowd. If you go there, be careful with the police. And if you can’t go, it’s okay, you can participate in your own way.
5. IF YOU SEE A PETITION, SIGN IT
The easiest way to participate is to sign petitions. So the next time you see one on your Twitter, Instagram or Facebook feed, take 30 seconds to sign it. It may seem silly but one signature, then another, and another, and another turn into 20 000 signatures and it can really help to change things.
6. IF YOU HAVE TIME, VOLONTEER
Volunteering offers wonderful opportunities to network and gain knowledge and experience. By helping an organization whose work you admire, you’ll learn more about your chosen cause and make valuable connections with those interested in the same things that you are.
7. VOTE !!!
The state of human rights is largely determined by who is in power. If you are a citizen of a country that votes for its government, you need to vote. That’s the least you could do. You need to have an interest in politics.
8. PRACTICE THE ACTIVISM YOU SUPPORT
It may be obvious but it’s always good to remind it : if you support Black Lives Matter, don’t be a racist. Help those who suffer from it. If you hate fast-fashion, don’t buy a new dress at Zara. Of course, if you can’t buy ethical fashion because it’s too expensive, continue to buy fast-fashion and don’t feel guilty about it. You get it, practice the activism you support. You have to believe in what you’re fighting for.
9. DON’T PERFORM
There’s a term I didn’t explain in my latest article that is called “performative activism”. It’s an activism – mostly on social media – that is used to get a good image. An easy example : posting a black photo on Instagram to support #BlackLivesMatter but never talking about it IRL or sharing informations about racism. So please be careful about your intentions ! 🙂
10. DO EVERYTHING WITH YOUR HEART
This is the peak of the commandments. Even though injustice is activism’ motor, empathy is its fuel. Do things because they correspond to your values and because you want to do the work, not because you want to prove something.
I hope these 10 commandments will help you in your activist quest. Or that at least you’ll learn something. I’d like to end this article by reminding you that it all starts with kindness. It starts with the will to be interested in what happens in the world. It’s also important to remind yourself that you can be an activist and also enjoy your life. Feeling guilty won’t change a thing and is counter productive.
Written by Elena Gaudé.