Add Activism to Your Life
Do Your Beliefs and Actions Align?
On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks taught the world a valuable lesson: we can fight for our beliefs by not tolerating everyday acts of injustice and oppression. If you look into her life, like those of other Civil Rights Leaders then and now, then you may understand the motivations and frustrations that prompted her civil disobedience. To summarize, but please research for yourself if you need to, she believed that the segregation policies, Jim Crow Laws, and dehumanization of Blacks was unjust so she put that belief into action by peacefully protesting the laws that supported that treatment.
Today, February 4, is Rosa Parks Day, an observance to honor her integrity, assertiveness, and activism throughout her lifetime. It is a good time to check in with yourself and commit to practicing the courage to stand up for what you believe in.
What Do Your Actions Say About You?
The world is unjust. This is a plain fact. Somewhere, there is some kind of marginalization, exploitation, or blatant denial of rights. And everyone is taking action. You are either actively trying to make a difference through your thoughts and actions or you are choosing to uphold the injustice through silent approval. That is the hard truth. And, the thing is, that we all have this opportunity multiple times daily to decide how to act in accordance with our own beliefs.
Being an activist is not easy at times. It can be tiring, disappointing, and open you up to criticism and insult from those who oppose your perspective. Moving past the fear of these worries will be necessary at some point to help bring about the change you desire.
This day also falls within the greater observation of Black History Month. During this month, I am committing to sharing the justice issues where I exert my professional and personal beliefs and act most frequently! I hope that you take some time to align your actions with your beliefs for the greater good of all!
4 Tips for Standing Up for Your Beliefs
Here are my top four tips for ramping your activism and standing up for what you believe in:
- Align your values and your causes. We all believe in something. Alignment with your values will keep you motivated to keep acting in tough times and also help bolster your courage to act and speak out. This will serve as the foundation for your platform as well. You know the adage: if you don’t believe in something, you will fall for anything!
- Do your research. Do it. For yourself. You should not allow others to tell what about the issues. For me, I always research policy and practices, as well as the stance of the opposing viewpoint. Old habits from debate have served me well! Things can change quickly, and honestly, I do not want to look or sound unknowledgeable.
- Engage in conversations and share info about the issues. Be careful when sharing online or in public forums, even those who are “invisible” on the net can have trolls (and they can be mean so be prepared). Also, keep an open mind and an attitude of learning!
- Step up and find ways to act. There are organizations, affinity groups, and non-profits that you can join with like-minded individuals. Often, it is easier (and safer) to act in groups and there is strength in numbers!
I hope that this day and the spirit of Rosa Parks can bolster your resolve to act and stand up for yourself or others!