This January, I attended both the 7th Annual Reproductive Justice Rally, hosted by the Arkansas Coalition for Reproductive Justice, as well as a community show of support for immigrants and Muslims. Both took place at the Arkansas State Capitol. At the Reproductive Justice Rally, I shared a narrative about a sexual assault that took place on a campus college. I shared a story about me and many others who have become victims of a dehumanizing, though common, experience. I was excited to see such a beautiful crowd filled with passion. It was full of fired up bellies, upset due to our new administration. While looking out into the crowd, I began to ask myself… what’s next? Sure rallying and marching are incredible ways to encourage mobility. However, it's only a visual representation of advocacy. Now it's time that we utilize these passions and do work. Here are some ways to turn your advocacy into activism:
Seemingly minuscule tasks help and can sometimes even be the most effective. Find organizations that pique your interest and ask what kind of assistance they need. Most organizations are in need of people to help with canvassing and phone banking. It's important to grasp people's attention. It’s a way to gain more support from those in the community, especially those who may not be familiar with local organizations that are fighting for justice and legislation.
Call/write your legislators
This seems antiquated, but it’s quite effective. As constituents, it is the responsibility of our state legislators to listen to us. Call, write, get on their damn nerves, let your voices be heard.
It's important to know that calling legislators and writing HANDWRITTEN letters is more effective than petitions and online outreach. Remember, we are talking about activism. Signing online petitions fall more so under the category of advocacy.
Share your stories
There’s nothing like tagging a face to an issue. Speaking about personal experiences may not tug at the heartstrings of our legislators per se. However, they have to capability to encourage others to take action.
Being down for cause is more than going to rallies and holding signs. It's about the active work you put forth. Are you going to be on the front lines or are you going to sit behind your computer screens and complain on Facebook?