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Hi guys what’s up, it’s Casey Molina here and in this video we’re going to be talking about social activism.
So let’s start off this video by first talking about ‘What is social activism?’
So the definition given by amherst.edu describes social activism as intentional action with the goal of bringing about social change.
So what does that mean? For one if you’re a citizen of the United States or if you’ve been living in the United States during this time then you know about all of the civil unrest and racial issues going on right now in our country.
With the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Dreasjon Reed, and countless others, there has been a racial uprising and I think a real call for people to get involved in social issues and to find outlets of social activism that work for them.
So I want to talk about first how I felt when all of that happened.
I think that with the death of George Floyd it definitely spurred me to action.
It definitely made me want to get involved and make a difference in the Black Lives Matter Movement.
And be outspoken and educate the people in my life about the issues of people of color and black people in the United States.
But I will say as this movement has been going on now since the beginning of June, since the death of George Floyd first hit media outlets, a lot of what I’ve been seeing is performative activism and a lot of the people that have started out strong in these movements are now tapering off.
These people are confused about how they can make a difference and what their outlet is for social activism.
I’m finding that people are talking about Black issues less, they’re talking about racial inequality less and they’re becoming less engaged with this movement.
So I wanted to make this video as a way for people to find an outlet of social activism that works for them and to find ways to stay engaged and involved.
But first let’s dive into ‘What is performative activism?’
So performative activism is what you’ll see a lot on social media right now as people are making posts and posting black squares and posting the hashtag Black Lives Matter.
Performative activism 9x out of 10 doesn’t have any sort of real activism behind it.
A lot of people that are performative activists will post something on social media to prove that, to prove to others and to prove to their following that they are a part of the movement and that they do care about these issues, but the reality is that they’re not doing the footwork to continue to educate themselves and they’re not doing the footwork to figure out what their method of social activism is.
And I think we’re all guilty of performative activism.
I think I am also guilty of performative activism.
In the past I have talked about these issues that do hit really close to home, but on the back end it can be really hard to stay engaged.
So I think this video is going to help a lot of people figure out how they can stay engaged especially when these issues are falling out of mainstream media coverage.
A lot of people don’t know that there are actually multiple outlets of social activism and I’m going to talk about four.
So number one: the first way I’m going to talk about to be socially active is what’s called ‘the citizen’.
And so the citizen is someone that really values freedom of speech, they value freedom of action, they value civil rights and civil justice and they seek to protect the country against extremism.
So what we think of as citizens are people that try and do right by their neighbors, be involved in their communities and do the things that good citizens are taught to do.
They’re taught to uphold democracies the way our government teaches us to as quote unquote, good citizens.
So that’s number one.
Number two is ‘the reformer’.
The reformer is someone who seeks to be socially active through official channels of legislation.
They like to work through the government.
They’re often lobbyists they’re legislators, they’re people who get involved in government in order to have formal laws passed and have rights that protect against social inequality and racial inequality.
Number three is ‘the rebel’.
So the rebel activist is somebody who gets involved in protests.
They’re the people out in the streets.
They’re civil disruptors.
They like to bring issues into the societal forefront and make people focus on them.
They’re people who do disrupt the status quo and seek to be seen and to be heard.
They’re known for going against the grain and not using official channels.
They also really value the positive values of what it means to be a free person in society and are often described as risky and courageous.
And number four is ‘the change agent’.
So personally I identify as a change agent.
A change agent is somebody that uses their voice to educate others.
Who uses the power of people to get things done.
This can be anything from petition signing to sharing things on your social media.
If there are petitions and organizations that you want to draw attention to.
These people are often really communicative about alternatives for activism….aka why I’m making this video.
And they’re interested in the long game, so again they’re not interested in the performative activism.
I don’t think any of these types of activists are, but I think this one in particular is really interested in how you can educate people by shifting their paradigm about topics to keep them engaged for personal reasons.
For anyone interested in where I got the information for the different types of activism I got them from commonslibrary.org and I will link that in the description of this video.
But what I definitely want to reiterate about social activism is that you can be more than one type of social activist.
You can be educating people through your social media platforms while going to protests, while seeking official legislation channels to make change.
But what I definitely think is most important is identifying your passions and identifying the community and BOOM, activism.
But what I want to do in this video is outline tools for you guys, and myself, so that we can stay socially active and so that we can identify specifically the areas passion for each of us that are going to help us stay active in this movement and continue to spread awareness not only of racial issues in the United States, but of issues that matter to us and how we can seek change and make change.
The first tool is going to be obvious to a lot of people and of course it is social media.
Use your social media to spread your voice and to spread awareness about the things that you care about.
I think what’s been really helpful for me is finding channels that help educate me.
So throughout this whole process of Black Lives matter reemerging in mainstream media, I’ve really sought out accounts that can educate me on Black issues, people of color, indigenous issues and racial inequality in the United States that goes past my own lived experience and expands into what is actually happening on a larger scale.
It’s helped me to break down graphics, statistics, narratives, and having a community of people that are giving you information from a different perspective, from an educated perspective.
I found that really helpful and I encourage you all to seek out those channels, seek out those instagram accounts on your social media.
I think in the same vain it’s important to find communities that are talking about the things that you’re passionate about so you can find those communities of people and, in a sense, hold you accountable in your activism.
I think this not only gets you plugged in, not only gets you accountable but it also allows you to form your own opinions about the issues you care about and allows you to speak in an educated way about the issues that mean a lot to you.
I think I have grown exponentially since Black Lives matter has reemerged.
I think I’ve grown a lot about how I’ve decided to educate myself and be intentional in talking about racial issues. In talking about police brutality.
I’ve found so much information, I’ve found books, I’ve found documentaries, I’ve been able to talk about it and be really intentional with researching.
It’s changed the way that I look at activism.
Some people do not consider activism standing in the streets and seeking official legislation.
And that’s okay.
I think the point of all of this, and the point of this video is to show people that activism can be whatever allows you to, again find that community, find your passion and create a lasting change and hold yourself accountable to continuing to not only educate yourself but educate the people in your life about the issues and the things you care about.
But of course another tool is to go out and protest.
If this is something you are passionate about and you like protesting.
If you identify as the rebel on the scale of activist, definitely go out and protest.
Find groups and organizations in your area that are marching for a cause that you care about.
But of course be safe.
Especially with coronavirus wear a mask, wash your hands, social distance.
But you can go out and make a difference through protesting as equally as you can through any of the other activism channels.
Take that activism and channel it through organizations, communities, petitions, volunteering.
One thing that I really want to get involved with is finding organizations that are geared towards racial inequality or geared towards black issues, indigenous issues, people of color issues.
And I want to stay involved and find an outlet to learn more through volunteering and getting involved with those organizations.
So I encourage you all to also look into that as an outlet.
Volunteer work is so valuable because you get to dive into different communities and get a hands on experience for what people are going through.
It’s a great way to stay involved and continue those conversations and continue to educate yourself.
Above all else, start a movement within yourself.
No matter what, we all have the power to change ourselves.
As a matter of fact, that’s really the only thing we have the power to change.
Challenge your paradigms, challenge your belief systems and your values, challenge the things that you’ve been taught.
Be open to having conversations with people in your life that think something different than you.
I think one thing that has been really impactful for me is realizing that social media really is an echo chamber.
I read a social media post that really resonated and it just said that a lot of people post on social media to an audience of people that already agree with them.
But of how valuable it would be if we take those conversations off of social media and we start having them within our families.
If we start talking to our families about the importance of environmental conservation and the importance of reducing our waste and reusing things as much as we can.
If we did start talking to our family members about racial inequality in the United State and all over the world, how impactful that could be.
I think more than anything what discourages people from social activism is the fear that they can’t make a difference.
And the thought that one person can’t make a difference.
But imagine if one million people believe that they couldn’t make a difference…and now if we flip that…imagine if one million people, one million individuals believed that they did have the power to make a difference just by educating themselves and showing up in their lives for the things that they care about and the things that they believe in… the impact would be crazy.
It would be amazing.
So I just encourage you all to take from this video that you can be active, you can talk about the things that are important to you.
There are so many ways to get involved in this movement.
Don’t be discouraged.
If you see a petition that identifies with you, don’t be afraid to share it.
If you see a book that you want to read, don’t be afraid to read it.
And of course, if you want to show up and protest, don’t be afraid to do it.
I’m definitely challenging myself to show up more for the racial issues that are so prevalent in the United States and the things that directly affect me.
As a woman of color with an intersectional identity I realize that it is my job, as an individual, for the things that I care about, to educate myself and have those hard conversations with the people in my life.
And I encourage you all to do the same.
Thank you guys so much for watching this video and listening.
I hope it helped you.
I hope it motivated you.
Don’t forget to check the info box for more information about books, podcasts, articles, petitions that you can read and sign to educate yourself about not only about social activism, but about racial inequality in the United States and globally.
This is Casey Molina, over and out.