If You Don’t Like It, Then Do Something About It
Activism: Picture Yourself
I never thought I’d be an activist. I had imaginings of what an activist looked like and I didn’t see myself in that picture. They seemed to be bold, out-front, take no prisoners kind of people. I loved what I perceived to be their brash and unapologetic passion to make a positive difference in the world. For the longest, I just didn’t think that was me. I was always shy, introverted, and somewhat socially awkward. I never envisioned marching in protests, speaking out and even writing a blog dedicated to interrogating systems of inequity and inequality. But here I am, and I love it. This is right where I’m supposed to be.
A Link to Well-being
Jenny Santi reminds us in her book, The Giving Way to Happiness, there is a link between activism and a person’s sense of well-being. She says, “On most of the measures, activism did seem to correlate with happier, more optimistic, more social scores.” It’s unclear whether being an activist makes a person happier and more optimistic or if happier, optimistic and more social people are the ones more likely to become activists. I think it’s simple. One day there is a reckoning. You look in the mirror and you say, “If you don’t like it, then do something about it.”
A Clarion Call
That’s what it was for me. I couldn’t sit on the sidelines and fuss and cuss about educational systems and practices failing our teachers and children and do nothing about it. I couldn’t be in a career field that is supposed to honor the efforts and contributions of all people equitably and allow systems of inequity to persist. And, I could not watch all that is happening in our country to rollback rights of women, people of color, LGBTQ, etc., to continue, and sit by silently. There has clearly been a call to action for me. A clarion call.
Activism: It’s Time
Santi notes, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention” as the “unofficial bumper sticker of die-hard activists all around the world.” Whether your cause is the environment, gay rights, women’s rights, anti-racism, antisemitism, anti-poverty, ethics in politics, or some global humanitarian cause, it’s time. This is your time to speak up, contribute, work for the good that is available. Working for a cause you’re passionate about fulfills a human need inside you, connects you to others, and makes the world a better place. So, I say to you, if you don’t like something that’s going on, then go ahead, do something to make it better.
© 2018, Tonya Harris Cornileus, Ph.D.
All Rights Reserved.
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