Creating change

Four ways you can take actions to support your beliefs

February 23, 2017

As someone who is under 18, it can sometimes feel like I don’t have much power to support my political views. Recently I have realized that just because I can’t vote doesn’t mean I can’t be a force for good in the world, even politically. It is my belief now that people should stand up for what they believe is right, and that it is not enough just to think something. Action is necessary in order to make a difference. In this Time magazine article, author Alicia Adamczyk states  “ideally, you should do what you can for as long as you can, rather than pitching in for just one day,” and I couldn’t agree more. 

1. March

This January, I had the incredibly humbling experience of attending the Women’s March on Washington. It made me realize how important each and every voice is to creating the roar that will shift tides. Marches and demonstrations are excellent ways to physically share your support and your voice by showing up and saying “I’m here for what I believe in, and I’m willing to stand here and say it for whoever might be listening”

This was a sign I saw at the march that read “women’s rights are human rights.” Though simple, the sight of others supporting in what you believe in can be a powerful experience that can motivate others to take action. 

2. Write and call your representatives

If you object to something you see the government doing, one of the best ways to get direct attention is to call or write an email/letter to an elected official and voice your concerns. For example, Hank Johnson is in the House of Representatives and serves part of Decatur. According to house.gov, you can reach his office at 202-225-5901. John Lewis’ office can be reached at 202-225-3801. Here are some tips on how to effectively contact your congress representatives.

3. Donate

This step is simple, but does require cash. If you ever feel at a loss of how you can help a cause you feel passionate about, donating to an organization that takes care of that issue can be a solid first step. For example, if you feel passionately about freedom of the press, you could donate to NPR or purchase a subscription to the AJC to show your support.

4. Be Kind

This action is easy, and doesn’t require much time or effort. A single person can be a force of good in the world just by incorporating small acts of kindness into their everyday lives. According to Dr. David Hamilton, kindness not only makes people happier and healthier, but also has a contagious effect. One of my favorite things to do is thank the school janitors when I see them. Goodness knows they deserve a thank you for all the hard work they do.They are always so happy that someone acknowledges and appreciates them. It may sound silly, but hate can have a cumulatively negative affect on a society. Compassion and kindness on an individual level can produce positive and far reaching ripples that may have effects you will never know about.

When I was in D.C., there were quite a few yards with signs that had MLK quotes on them, and this one stuck out to me. It reminded me to turn my anger into motivation instead of hatred, and to remember to be kind to all even if they don’t agree with my point of view.

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