We know the world might seem a little overwhelming right now and in the midst of a lot of uncertainty, we want to share a few ways to be an effective activist and ally.
Over the weekend, thousands of communities across the country took to the streets to protest the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. While the protests have been largely nonviolent, the national guard has been called into 23 states for instances of looting and rioting and there are currently more city-wide curfews in effect than at any point in US history since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
All around the country, POC are trying to make sense of a country that largely doesn’t support them while white folks are deciphering their own unconscious roles in systemic racism. This, on the backdrop of a November election where humanity hangs in the balance.
And with uncertainties around the COVID-19 pandemic, casting your actual ballot will likely more confusing than ever. In addition to looking up the elections taking place near you – their deadlines, how to vote, and what you’re voting on – you can take it a step further and put some positive peer pressure on your pals to do the same. Tell them to download Vote with Me, a free app that helps you make the most impact in upcoming elections by letting you know which friends need your reminder to vote.
Here are some other easy ways to get involved:
Keep up with your causes
When it comes to making a difference in our government, voting is just one piece of the political puzzle. State and federal agencies are still making decisions that will affect us for years to come, and policy makers are still convening to determine the law of the land.
Georgia’s General Assembly, for example, plans on getting back together in just a few weeks. This after nearly 10% of state senators tested positively for COVID-19 in March. This means that soon, laws that affect the entirety of the state will be passed along for final approval from Governor Kemp.
Passage of HB 426, the Hate Crimes Bill, is at the top of the agenda for Georgia legislators from both parties. But, there are other legislative initiatives which would answer demands of the protestors including the repeal of Georgia’s antiquated ”citizen’s arrest” statute; reform of the “stand your ground” law; and passage of HB 636, which addresses the “Excessive Use of Force” by police officers.
Congress, on the other hand, resumed its session on May 4. Download Countable for an easy way to keep up with all the important bills making their way through the House and the Senate right now. You can sort through legislation based on topic, and then use Countable to time what you need to advocate for and when.
Listen to those affected
You’d be surprised at how much you retain from social media feeds. Whether it’s from advertisements targeted specifically toward your demographic or the opinions of family and friends that you follow, those opinions can not only have an effect on your own opinions, but also the veracity and bias of the world’s news.
Consider doing an audit to figure out exactly who it is you’re following. Do you see mostly questionable memes or articles from reliable sources? It’s important to be intentional about the information you’re consuming, whether it’s on social media or what you’re streaming.
There’s a wealth of people to listen to that offer reliable information and essential perspectives about the issues facing the world today. Juniperus client Georgia Win List, for example, is hosting a weekly webinar series about everything from reproductive freedom to how COVID-19 has affected Albany, Ga., as part of their mission to support Democrat women in politics.
If you notice your feed is particularly pale, consider following these black female activists. By making sure that the voices you’re listening are diverse, you’ll also be making sure you’re an informed advocate.
Don’t be afraid to speak up
Lastly, it’s important to remember a totally free, easy way to be an advocate for the causes you care about. Speak up publicly about your support!
Between Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, odds are you’re already on at least one platform that you can use as an advocacy tool.
Start simple with the social media audit we mentioned above. Then, once you’ve curated your feed to perfection, start talking! Comment on the posts you agree with, and even those you don’t. It may sound small, but just offering up your stance on any given issue can show those working on the front lines that they’ve got you on their team.
Next, start sharing the artwork, writing, and experiences of those most affected. Whether it’s a retweet or just posting to your stories, make sure that you credit the original creator.
A solo post with your perspective can also go a long way toward convincing your own network to take action. Explain why you got involved or the reasons you believe what you believe.
If you’re upset with silence from our leaders and the white house, this should be your queue to push for justice even harder. Use this time to get creative in your advocacy, and keep on fighting for the causes you care about – even from home.
Julia Regeski is a content creator who believes that everyone's story deserves to be told in a way that's intentional, compelling, and authentic. Her work experience has been focused on advancing meaningful social causes, and includes advocating on behalf of Georgia's environmental resources and bringing together nonprofits in the wake of natural disasters. When she's not using her communications skills to try to make the world a better place, you'll likely find her reading, practicing yoga, or adventuring in the great outdoors.
Founder. Women’s advocate. Diversity expert. Amber Schreiner has worn many hats throughout her 31 years. To this day she credits her entrepreneurial spirit to her mom, who instilled in her that the worst thing that can happen is you land back where you started.
Amber started Juniperus to amplify the voices of people who are making the world a better place. She has already worked with the likes of Adobe, the Sierra Club, and numerous political campaigns—with many more exciting opportunities on the horizon.