In this politically turbulent time, the United States (and the world in general) has been seeing more frequent and more powerful protests. Black Lives Matter, the Women’s March, the March for Science and more have been making waves due to their record number of participants, as well as the power of their messages. And the work doesn’t end at the protest! Whether you were able to participate or not, everyone can take steps online to continue the work of protesters.
One of the most direct and effective ways to spur a political change is through contacting your legislators. Social media messages, email and phone calls are all great ways to let your voice be heard. Calls are the generally agreed upon method to make the biggest impact. Many people feel comfortable sending emails from behind a screen, but not as many are confident on the phone. This means that phone calls don’t get lost in the shuffle as often, an actual person is always listening, and if enough calls come in, the elected official will usually release a statement. Thanks to new tools such as 5calls.org you can simply type in where you live and select the issues that are important to you, and they will provide you with the phone numbers for your officials and easy scripts to follow. If you are going to start making these phone calls and using your data for online resources, be sure to get a phone plan that can keep up. Don’t get overcharged for your social activism!
Spread the Word
While social media rants don’t directly cause political change, there are some benefits to sharing your beliefs. Share your story of the protests or other important events that you believe deserve action and recognition to as many people as you can. This includes social media posts, chatting with your family and friends or even sharing in another community arena. People are overwhelmed with information online, so in order to stand out, try to share your beliefs in a personal, narrative form and even offer a way that others can join you in taking a stand. For example, an angry tweet about Trump not acknowledging Pride Month will probably be glanced over by your peers, but a heartfelt message about the shunning of the LGBTQ community during this administration and a link to a non-profit that is actively working on the cause can be much more effective.
Find Other Ways to Take Action
Similar to the messages you can share with your peers to get them involved, you can also find ways to take action outside of the protests. One way is to research nonprofits that align with your beliefs. They will often have action plans for inspired citizens, including other events that you can get involved with, or projects that directly help those in need. For example, if you support the Women’s March, groups like Planned Parenthood are furthering the cause of equal rights for women and can use volunteers and support in accomplishing that goal. You can also check out local political organizations to meet other like-minded individuals, and start taking action on your own plan.
Just because a protest is over, doesn’t mean the activism should stop. While protests are great at making a big splash in the community, more action is needed to really make a difference. So contact your representatives, spread the word and seek out non-profits and other organizations that are doing the important work.