Watching the news this past weekend left me feeling a huge mix of emotions, ranging from sadness to horror to anger. Depending on the definition, as many as 256 mass shootings have occurred in the United States between January 1, 2019 and August 5, 2019. The two most recent, in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, happened in a time span of just 24 hours. So many innocent lives have been lost, and yet nothing seems to be changing. This fact alone left me so upset and desperate to do something.
To anyone who is distressed about the current situation the world is in, here are four things you should be doing aside from just giving thoughts and prayers.
If you are over 18 and want to have any say in this country's politics, you should register to vote if you haven't already done so. Voting is a key part of our democracy and, sadly, not enough people do it. In the 2018 midterm elections, only about 47.5 percent of the voting-elegible population cast their vote. And this is the highest percentage in 50 years. If the other 50% of people also voted in elections on the local, state, and federal levels, so many more voices would be heard and the country could favor what the true majority of the country wants.
2. Contact your government representatives at the local, state, and federal level.
If you want something to be done about an issue, you should contact your district's delegates. Send them an email or call their office and tell them what you see as a concern and why they should fight for your opinion on the state or federal platform.
3. Participate in events around your community
Another way to stand up for what you believe in is to go to different events in your local area (and further if you wanted to). Research if there are activist groups in your town already dedicated to the issue you are concerned about and, if there are, go to any events or meetings that they have planned. If there aren't any groups or events, try to start one yourself.
4. Be vocal about your views and concerns
Just literally start speaking to anyone who will listen. If someone is unaware of an issue you are passionate about, or doesn't see all of the points of your argument, then talk to them. Don't be afraid of what others may think, because at least you are making your point known to the world. Also, since so much information can be misconstrued, try to make sure that any facts you give are true and unbiased.
Although you are just one voice, you can definitely make yourself heard. You just have to speak up and act.