co-contributed by: Michelle Aboodi (Anderson University) and Jessica Hornyak (University of Florida)
On Monday, June 5th and Tuesday, June 6th leaders, activists and social entrepreneurs from all over the world gathered together at a Washington D.C. conference called MCON to discuss planetary, identity and social justice issues. Three Odyssey creators listened as speakers used this platform to dive deep into the global issues and discuss the positive changes they have achieved in their community.
Inspired by all of the speakers' accomplishments and impact in their communities, we reached out to them with one simple question:
"What would you recommend to millennials to become activists/influencers in their local community?"
The purpose of this article is to take a piece of what we learned from this two-day conference and share some of the speaker's ideas on how you can have an impact in your community.
We hope that their unique missions and accomplishments will inspire you to tackle the world's greatest problems. Below are their recommendations on how to have a big impact in your community:
President Achieve and Founder of MCON
"To move interest into action, find a way to tell your network why you care, what action is necessary for change and why their participation is crucial."
Chief Mo Bro & Co-Founder
"Start with deciding what cause you’re most passionate about. Truly understand the issue & determine how u can have an impact. Then go at it."
Executive Director Levi Strauss Foundation
"I find it interesting that MCON research doesn't gravitate towards the language “activists.” Be engaged in local communities. We see so much inequality in cities we need to look at our doorstep and create change here."
Ambassador & Artist The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation
"Figure out what you’re interested in, inspired by, or frustrated about and then consider what your abilities are and what your means might include. Can you organize a community meeting? Can you take a picture? Share a video? Write a check? Can you call your representatives? Or maybe you can be your own rep and be the one to run. Figure out one small thing that you can do today using your passion, your abilities, your means, and let that be the start.”
Foundation YouTube Channel
"Figure out where your passion and strengths intersect so that you can contribute the best you have to offer to your community. Also realize that engaging in your community is a symbiotic relationship. When you give you are also receiving. Doing what you love to empower your community makes you better at what you do. Through that kind of a process, we all grow together."
Executive Director National Immigration Forum
“It is important we all get out of our comfort zones to meet people where they are, but not leave them there. That means we are having conversations with folks we may not agree with, sharing our story, listening to theirs. And, along the way, taking important small steps to developing new relationships.”
Director of Nonprofit Development Corporate Giving Connection
“Millennials know what to do — vote, volunteer, talk to a representative, support a cause — they just need to start doing these things.”
President & Founder of Rise
“The first step is to just show up.”
Founder and CEO Oratory Glory, LLC
"Start with a listening tour. Meet with small business owners, community groups & organizers, elders, families, and other millennials to learn all that you can about the history of the community, which issues are most pressing, what progress has been made so far, and what support is needed.
Once you have a sound understanding of these things, you can make informed decisions about where and how you can be the most helpful as an activist/influencer based on your experience, skills, and the issues you're most passionate about."
Maria Teresa Kumar
President & CEO Voto Latino
“Participate at the municipal level and go from there.”
“Think of one positive change you can make in your life and do it. And then do another and another and another and another.”