An Intro To Activism
Updated: Nov 22, 2020
(Image Taken From TimeOut.com. Illustration: Quentin Monge)
A term I’m sure most of you have heard more than once in the last couple of months is activism. Maybe you yourself identify as an activists, maybe you have a list of activists that you admire from the sidelines, or maybe you have decided to stay out of the world of activism. But what is activism? If we want to be technical about it, the Cambridge Dictionary defines activism as “the use of direct and noticeable action to achieve a result, usually a political or social one.” Using this definition, and the example of our blog, I could say that posting articles and informative content on our TeensForChange blog is the direct and noticeable action, which will hopefully lead to a result of a greater sense of awareness about social issues among teens and people of all ages who read our content. But setting aside this dictionary definition, to me, activism is more than just actions.
To me, activism is about changing the way you have been taught to think, and opening up your mind to see the things that are happening in the world that maybe you were blind to before, or you have previously tried to ignore. It’s more than just actions; it’s about educating and inspiring others in your community to fight for what’s right, not for what’s easiest. This may sound like an impossible task to some of you, but listen when I tell you that activism doesn’t have to consist of you getting up at 5am every morning to go to a protest at your city’s capital building, or starting your own business dedicated to supporting a particular social rights cause. Yes, those things are amazing and I applaud the people who shoot for making big changes, but not all activists have to carry signs. Activism, in my book, can be as simple as calling out your friend when they say something racist, standing up for that person at your school who is being bullied, or even just signing an online social rights petition with just a few quick taps of your finger. So many people think that being an activist is extremely time consuming and difficult, which is why so many people also steer away from it, but it really doesn’t have to be. YOU can start being an activist today, even right now! You just have to be willing to listen. Listen to the cries of help and injustice coming from all around the world, hear and understand their pain and suffering, and then do whatever is in your power to try and spread awareness about these issues, and prevent them from happening in your own community.
Being a true activist is not about acting out of pressure from others, but about acting as a human being who cares about ALL people and respects ALL people. Activism doesn’t have to be hard, but it does have to come from your heart. You can become an activist, but only if you are truly willing to change, and be in it for the long run.
-Noel Takaya, TeensForChange Head Editor