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The Busy Activist

Listen I get it. We all fantasize that we are Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, fighting to protect the vulnerable in society ten hours a day, seven days a week. But the reality is, many of us don’t have the resources or the schedule to greatly influence the political scope of Congress. So what should you do if you want to be a community activist but have no time? Here is a short list of ways you can make a difference in 5 minutes or less.

Use Your Money

Guess what- you’re a sweet cog in the monstrous Capitalist machine! That means in America, Money is Influence. So why not toss your pebbles and coins towards something you care about. Here’s a shortlist of organizations that need donations:

  1. Warrior Woman– help indigenous activists tell their stories.
  2. Mental Health America– provide mental health education and services to those in need.
  3. National Police Accountability Project– help end police brutality against black bodies in America.
  4. Planned Parenthood– help protect people’s reproductive health.
  5. The Rainbow Railroad– help LQBTQA+ individuals escape violence and persecution in their home countries.
  6. Greenpeace– help environmental activists fight global warming.

Would you rather cut out the middleman and give your money directly to someone who needs it? Here are five GoFund Me Pages that are better than that one FB Friend who wants you to chip in so they can buy an electric scooter:

  1. Prisoner Emergency Support Fund– help incarcerated people reenter the community.
  2. Funding to Assist Black Moms– help black mothers get the resources they need to survive.
  3. Help Alanah Recieve an Education– she’s a mother trying to get a master’s in social design.
  4. Wenatchi Land Back– help an indigenous community get their land back.
  5. My Sistah House– help give safe housing to black trans women.

Use Your Signature

So what if you replied to the previous paragraph with “That’s cute and all but I can’t even afford my own rent.” Then I have something for you! You can put down your name in support of organizations and petitions in which you strongly believe. Here are five petitions you can sign in less that two minutes:

  1. Support The Equality Act– show your support for laws that protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in their places of work, homes, and schools.
  2. Support Brazil in stopping illegal fires that have burned more than 2.3 MILLION hectares of affected native vegetation in the Pantanal tropical forest.
  3. Rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge after Rep John Lewis– rename the civil rights landmark after a civil rights leader who nearly lost his life in the Bloody Sunday beatings.
  4. Give All Girls a Right to an Education– back a G7 Declaration to Educate and Empower Girls in Crises with concrete financial investments.
  5. Legalize Abortion in Namibia– give women agency over their own bodies.

Use Your Voice

Would you rather speak to someone personally ? You can save the number for your representatives on your phone so when big issues arise, you can easily call them to voice your opinions and concerns. It’s a direct line to Congress.  And yes, I know what you are thinking and although I like where your head is at, please don’t actually prank call Mitch McConnell at 3 a.m. Here is a directory of numbers for each state’s representative. Interested in activism on an even smaller level? You can find your local representations and learn more about bills they have introduced here.

What if you have crippling phone anxiety so much so that you have to ask your roommate to call in your DoorDash order? Lucky for you, Twitter is the new email. Social media is a direct canal to many of these officials as well. Shoot them a Tweet!

Okay, you caught me. Email is still the new email. You can also get in touch with your representatives through good old fashioned gmail. Don’t have the time to freely  type out your feelings or concerns? There are letter templates at your disposal. All you have to do is fill in the blanks, sign your name and press send.

Educate Yourself

Guess what? Sometimes the path to activism doesn’t even have to involve anyone else. Helping others can start with educating yourself. And what better way to educate yourself than reading a good book! Take five minutes to pick out your next read.

Here are some incredible nonfiction options:

  1. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
  2. Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall
  3. The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
  4. Hunger by Roxanne Gay
  5. Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad

What’s that you say? Nonfiction is just not your thing and you need to escape into a new kind of universe? Here are some fiction books that empower underrepresented voices:

  1. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
  2. There, There by Timmy Orange
  3. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  4. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  5. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Want a pandemic-friendly bookstore alternative? Get the free app Libby, connect it to your library card and get thousands of free audiobooks and ebooks today!

So there you have it, you don’t need to be rich and leisurely to make an impact. In fact, sometimes it only takes five minutes to make a difference. Spread the word and stay Outspoken.

Emily Powers, Content Creator

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