The next U.S. presidential election is still over a year away but is already a major talking point for many. Candidates are participating in debates, engaging with supporters and critics, and sharing their positions on issues. Their intention is to gain support in order to secure a party nomination, and subsequently, a general election win. Election season encourages citizens to vote in the name of democracy and for the public good.
Although voting is a concrete way to participate in the American political process, there are many other ways to be politically and socially active year round.
Donate to causes you are passionate about.
If you have money to spare, financial contributions help groups who are trying to make changes in their communities. Whether it’s to a national organization like Planned Parenthood or a smaller group in your local area, you can put your money in the hands of people doing important and necessary work.
Donating your time is also a great way to contribute to a cause. It can help you find like-minded people who are passionate about similar ideas to you. Not to mention, there is a link between volunteering and an improvement in physical and mental health. You may find that you are taking a more active role in helping to improve society.
Attend protests and other events.
Going to protests, town hall meetings and other gatherings keep you informed. It also gives you a chance to hold elected officials accountable for their actions and inactions. It enables you to find other people to align yourself with, leading to opportunities to connect.
Engage on social media.
Social media activism is often disregarded as not “real activism.” But, the fact remains that social media networks can provide huge platforms on which to share opinions and information. The relative accessibility of online social networks can help make activism more inclusive. I have learned a lot from following activists and well-connected people on social media. Don’t overlook this helpful tool.
Being educated about issues of importance to you will help you be more involved. New information that you consume will give you more understanding and in turn, make you a more educated voter.
Examine your privilege.
While allyship is important to aid a cause, it is important to remember to prioritize the needs of marginalized people. If you are white, straight, cisgender, wealthy, or privileged in another way, use that power to amplify the ideas and actions of people who are often not granted the same access. Success doesn’t always mean a reward, it means a better life for all people.