5 Ways to Champion Social Justice
While government officials have the power to change laws regarding social justice, history has proven time and time again that real change happens when communities lead the way and apply pressure on the government. Rarely does it happen the other way around. In today’s world, with huge gaps between the rich and the poor, gender inequality still rife and BAME citizens disproportionately threatened by the police, it’s as important as ever for individuals to push for social justice in whatever capacity they can.
To champion social justice means striving for greater equality within your community and actively playing a part in pushing equality forwards. Here are 5 ways you can get involved and make a real change in your community.
Real change starts with you. Analyse yourself and your own everyday habits and beliefs. Is there anything that could be considered problematic there? Are you willing to admit that there are certain topics on which you may have formed opinions without knowing the full facts? Being ready to challenge yourself and having a willingness to remaining open to new ideas is a great first step towards social change. If you are able to change your own mindset, you can begin to change others’ too.
2. Go local
Look at what you can do locally to make a difference in your community. It’s great if you want to change the world, but start by making a difference on your own doorstep. If you don’t know what movements and issues are going on in your town, then get to know what’s going on. Learn about local affairs and stand up for the rights of your community. Find out what volunteer opportunities are available near you and get involved.
In her essay, ‘The Greater Common Good’, writer Arundhati Roy rages against social injustices done by the Indian government to local communities. Roy writes, ‘we have to support our small heroes. We have to fight specific wars in specific ways’, and who is better equipped to fight local battles than the people who live that experience? So get out there and lobby your local representatives, sign petitions and see how, in your own small way, you really can change the world.
3. Use all the tools in your arsenal
There is one powerful tool you have at your disposal which you may be overlooking…social media. It’s easy to think that writing a status on social media achieves little, but you might just be underestimating it. Think of how many people are on social media every day and the potential audience that your one tweet could reach. A great example of this is the #MeToo movement, which saw more than 500,000 responses on social media within 24 hours. Over the subsequent 12 months, the hashtag was retweeted 18 million times and brought down over 200 men who had been abusing their power to sexually harass coworkers and employees.
Social is a great platform to inform people of a local issue that’s happening or to spread the word. Just getting the story out there can make more of a difference than you even know, so jump on a hashtag and show politicians that even if the mainstream media are ignoring an issue, you aren’t! It may be just a tweet, but when the world is on fire we need people who will raise the alarm.
4. Show up
Really want to make some noise? Demonstrate, protest, lobby, do whatever it takes to get your voice heard. The more people shout about an issue, the less likely it is to get swept under the rug. In January 2018, 1.5 million women participated in 486 marches and rallies around the world to protest the inequalities they still faced in the modern world. It was covered by newspapers and media outlets, forcing governments and large scale organisations to listen to what they had to say. And in turn, women politicians started working to incite real change. Even if speaking out doesn’t make politicians change their mind every time, it sends a strong, clear message making your voice harder to ignore. And it inspires others to get involved to make a difference.
When you can, spend time volunteering with charities that are fighting for social justice each day and need your support. You could donate money, material things they may need, or simply your time – whatever you can manage will be appreciated. And if it feels like the right direction for you, why not take it one step further and dedicate your entire career to championing social justice by working for a charity. There are thousands of them out there and they all need talented, passionate people like you.
Check out what roles are available now.