2018 was a big year for social justice. With the global success of the #MeToo Movement, the Women’s Marches, and the marches for gun reform, it seems as if people are really getting to their feet and making their voices heard. This is all well and good, but we need more of it, especially from teens.
I know countless teens who are very politically and socially aware, wanting to make a positive change but don’t know what to do about it. Anger is good, but it’s not enough. Are you angry about the gender pay gap? Are you angry about Trump’s proposed border wall? The constant shootings? Censorship? Well, feel that anger, use it, and turn it into action. Turn it into activism. Turn it into something positive.
What you can do
If you want to use your time to make a positive difference, but don’t know where to start, here are a few things you can do locally:
First, find an area that you’re most passionate about, like feminism, or the homeless, and research place near you that offer help. This could be in the form of a local homeless shelter, a women’s shelter, or a refugee center. Research what is going on locally and learn more about whichever situation you are most passionate about. Making sure you’re knowledgeable on what’s going on around the world and how people are being affected sounds inconsequential but is actually very important.
These are easy ways of helping. If you don’t know where to start, Amnesty International has a whole page with tons of different events that you could sign a petition or send an email for. It’s all super easy but makes a difference.
Use social media to your advantage
This is another really simple way that can make a difference. Often, one of the most important things to do is spreading awareness so that bigger organizations or governments can see the gravity of the situations and help. This worked for the famine in Somalia in 2017. So many people were tweeting about it that companies took it into their own hands to help. Turkish Airlines was one of these, and they raised money and sent a plane full of food and supplies. So, retweet when you can and try and spread the message.
Protests are another good way of making your voice heard. If you can, and if it's safe for you to do so, look online and find a protest going on in your area that you are passionate about. For instance, in a few days, the Women’s March is going to be happening again around the world, and it is a nice way of showing your support to all women and the struggles they go through around the world.
Donate Time or Money
Use the previous research you made and find local shelters or other organizations. These places would appreciate the help. One way to do this could be through organizing a bake sale or another type of fundraiser at school and donating the profits to a women’s shelter. If you don’t want to or can’t donate money, that’s totally fine! You could volunteer for a few hours a week or donate a few clothes or some food every now and then. Every bit helps.