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ten facts about social activism
Social activism is a purposeful action with the mission of bringing about lasting social change. Anyone with a cause that they feel passionate about can become a social activist if they work to create effective and positive change. Social activism generally refers to working to right the wrongs of unjust practices affecting humans, such as the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar or the separation of families at the United States and Mexico border by immigration officers. However, activists can work to create change with any cause, including environmental activism and animal activism. These 10 facts about social activism will provide information on the evolution of activism, as well as careers relating to social activism.

10 Facts About Social Activism

  1. The social services industry works to address the direct needs of individuals, while social activism deals with uncovering the root cause of a negative issue impacting a group of people. A social activist may use various techniques to bring light to an issue, either through advocacy campaigns to raise public awareness on an issue, or by coordinating help to aid an affected population. Social activism deals more heavily with bringing light and change to societal issues.
  2. Social activism has changed drastically with the rise of social media. For example, the civil rights movement had mostly peaceful demonstrations and protests and is still one of the most successful social activism campaigns. Nowadays, social media has become a key player in social activism. Hashtags such as #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo have taken over the role of advocacy and are very successful in bringing light to social justice issues by providing accessible information across the world.
  3. A survey that the Pew Research Center carried out found that 69 percent of Americans believe that online platforms are essential for successful social activism campaigns. Americans believe that online platforms accomplish various political goals such as getting the attention of legislators and creating sustained movements for social change. There is a debate over slacktivism versus social media activism. Slacktivism is the belief that social media leads to passive activism.
  4. The same survey found that certain demographics of social media users – most notably African and Latino Americans – see these platforms as an essential tool for their own political expression and activism. Around half of all African American social media users state that these platforms are at least somewhat important for them to express their political views. Many minorities feel that social media allows them to be more active in speaking up for their own rights. Those views fall to about one-third of all white social media users.
  5. Organizations, corporations and government agencies are frequent targets for social activists aiming to influence society by altering established practices and policies. Activists may use techniques such as naming and shaming to bring about social change. Naming and shaming is when a group or organization calls out another group for unethical practices. An example of this is when the United States placed sanctions on South Africa for apartheid. The sanctions shamed South Africa and brought this issue to the attention of the international community.
  6. One can place activists into two categories depending on their relationship to an organization. Insider activists are employees of a targeted organization. They have certain benefits and challenges compared to outsider activists who are members of independent social activism movements. Insider activists are also called whistleblowers and they expose unethical practices happening within the organization they are a part of.
  7. Activists may use boycotts and protests to target businesses and get them to change their practices or behaviors. Boycotts are successful in targeting businesses as they cut them off from economical transactions and limit their profits. Businesses will often adhere to the demands of customers if the boycott is large enough to severely impact them. Therefore, boycotts are an effective way of getting businesses to change their business models to something more ethical that pleases their consumer base.
  8. Millennials are often socially active consumers as they consider the ethics of their products before purchasing. The shoe brand Toms promises to donate a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased. Paper straws have also become a popular environmental alternative to the traditional plastic straw. The clothing brand Reformation claims to be the most sustainable option in clothing second to being nude. Millennial consumption habits have created a whole market for sustainable and ethical products.
  9. There are many careers that incorporate some elements of social activism, with careers in law and public policy creating change through human rights law, lobbying and public interest law. Careers in government and international relations can bring one into agencies such as the State Department or the Environmental Protective Agency (EPA), as well as international organizations like the United Nations. Community organizers empower and develop local community leadership to enable them to meet community needs, ranging from clean water to better education. Careers in nonprofit organizations, like Save the Children or CARE, both of which provide humanitarian assistance to developing countries, are also great paths to go down.
  10. There are certain skills that make individuals qualified for a career in social activism. Individuals must be able to work with a diverse array of people, have excellent communication skills and be able to speak persuasively. Strong writing and critical analysis skills are also helpful, in order to strategize and envision an improved society.

These 10 facts about social activism show the evolution of activism with the rise of modern technology and social media. The form and pace of social activism will continue evolving to keep up with changing technologies. Technology and social media have sped up the exchange of information and knowledge, which largely contributes to the basis of many worldwide social activism campaigns.

Laura Phillips-Alvarez
Photo: Flickr

Quotes_on_World_Hunger
Scholars have discovered that the issue with world hunger is not a food shortage, but the logistics behind food distribution. We need to improve access to food by looking at production strategies, trade agreements and food aid. Here are 10 quotes on world hunger.

“We know that a peaceful world cannot long exist, one-third rich and two-thirds hungry.” – Jimmy Carter, 39th president of the United States.

“Close to a billion people – one-eighth of the world’s population – still live in hunger. Each year 2 million children die through malnutrition. This is happening at a time when doctors in Britain are warning of the spread of obesity. We are eating too much while others starve.” – Jonathan Sacks, jewish scholar.

“We are a country that prides itself on power and wealth, yet there are millions of children who go hungry every day. It is our responsibility, not only as a nation, but also as individuals, to get involved. So, next time you pass someone on the street who is in need, remember how lucky you are, and don’t turn away.” – Lesley Boone, actress and social activist.

“When you share your last crust of bread with a beggar, you mustn’t behave as if you were throwing a bone to a dog. You must give humbly, and thank him for allowing you to have a part in his hunger.” – Giovanni Guareschi, Italian journalist.

“When people were hungry, Jesus didn’t say, “Now is that political, or social?” He said, “I feed you.” Because the good news to a hungry person is bread.” – Bishop Desmond Tutu, Anglican bishop and social activist.

“It is important for people to realize that we can make progress against world hunger, that world hunger is not hopeless. The worst enemy is apathy.” – Reverend David Beckmann, president of Alliance to End Hunger.

“There are genuinely sufficient resources in the world to ensure that no one, nowhere, at no time, should go hungry.” – Ed Asner, actor and social activist.

“The fact is that there is enough food in the world for everyone. But tragically, much of the world’s food and land resources are tied up in producing beef and other livestock–food for the well off–while millions of children and adults suffer from malnutrition and starvation.” – Dr.Walden Bello, 2003 Right Livelihood Award winner.

“The war against hunger is truly mankind’s war of liberation.” – John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States.

“The first essential component of social justice is adequate food for all mankind. Food is the moral right of all who are born into this world.” – Norman Borlaug, biologist and humanitarian.

Stephanie Lamm

Sources: Bits of Positivity, Do One Thing, Second Harvest Food Bank

state-department-blog
Directly from the Department of State Official Blog (yes, they have a blog), here are 10 ways to be involved in foreign affairs – how the average U.S. citizen can engage in international issues:

1. Travel. Nothing is better for understanding the world than travelling in it. Apply for a passport and download the free “Smart Traveler” App.

2. Study abroad. The U.S. Department of State offers programs for U.S. citizens to go abroad for cultural, educational and professional exchanges.  Get truly immersed in another culture – go to exchanges.state.gov to find a program that’s right for you.

3. Host an international student, scholar, or professional. There are a variety of hosting opportunities where you can invite an international visitor to your home for a meal, a place to stay during a week-long training program, or a semester of academic study.

4.  Export. The Dept. of State encourages and supports any business looking to begin or expand their exporting. Find information online to assist and participate in the State Department’s Direct Line Program — a unique opportunity for American businesses to speak directly with U.S. Ambassadors overseas.

5. End hunger. Almost one billion people suffer from chronic hunger, and, astonishingly, more than 3.5 million children die each year from under nutrition. Visit feedthefuture.gov to find out how you can partner with the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative by donating products, services, or resources.

6. Stop wildlife crime. Take the online pledge to learn more about wildlife trafficking, inform others and commit to become a more responsible consumer in order to help save the planet’s wildlife.

7. Fight modern slavery. Twenty-seven million people worldwide are victims of human trafficking, or modern slavery. There are many ways you can help stop it; read the full list. 

8. Partner with the Dept. of State. The U.S. Department of State has entered a new era of collaboration and partnership with non-governmental groups. Find out how your organization can promote economic growth and opportunity by investing in the welfare of people around the world.

9. Invest in women and girls worldwide. The Secretary’s International Fund for Women and Girls helps combat violence, improve education and health, and creates economic and political opportunities for women worldwide. Or be a mentor with TechWomen, matching mentors with emerging female technologies in the Middle East and North Africa.

10.  Follow the Dept. of State on social media – and engage. More than 25 million people around the world follow the U.S. Department of State and U.S. diplomatic missions on social media. People are contributing their ideas to a global online conversation; join in!

 – Mary Purcell

Source: Department of State Blog

 

nelson-mandela-quotes
An advocate for peace, unity, and love from a very young age, Nelson Mandela is an integral part of the history of human rights. Through his involvement and eventual leadership of the African National Congress (ANC) and after being awarded the Noble Peace Prize for his efforts in ending the apartheid, Mandela became South Africa’s first black president in 1994. Since his retirement in 1999, Mandela continued with his advocacy of social and human rights and supporting the international Make Poverty History movement and the fight against AIDS. In recent years, Mandela’s birthday, July 18, has become a day of international good works.

Here are ten inspirational quotes by Mandela to motivate advocacy:

1. “Our single most important challenge is therefore to help establish a social order in which the freedom of the individual will truly mean the freedom of the individual”

2. “I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”

3. “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”

4. “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

5. “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

6. “There is no such thing as part freedom.”

7. “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”

8. “There is nothing I fear more than waking up without a program that will help me bring a little happiness to those with no resources, those who are poor, illiterate, and ridden with terminal disease.”

9. “If you are poor, you are not likely to live long.”

10. “Freedom would be meaningless without security in the home and in the streets.”

 – Kira Maixner

Source: Answer Africa, African American Registry

globalcitizen
Ever imagine combining a love for music with a passion for social activism?  That is exactly what the Global Poverty Project did with the Global Citizen Ticket Initiative. This innovative initiative seeks to reward social activism with something music lovers seek: concert tickets! Social activists can now use their passion for changing the world to earn music tickets. The initiative builds off the Global Poverty Project’s highly successful Global Citizen Festival which was held in New York City in 2012. 60,000 people earned free tickets to that event by participating in social activist activities.

The initiative is supported by musicians such as Pearl Jam and music industry professionals who want to see engagement around global poverty and make the eradication of global poverty a reality.  Musicians can inspire and motivate individuals to action; their support is extremely important to the cause. The goal is to rally thousands around causes such as polio, malaria, women’s empowerment, and education.  By adding incentives, the Global Poverty Project hopes to reach a larger number of individuals and spread the message even farther.

Global Citizen tickets are earned based off of a point reward system.  The points are linked to levels of involvement in social activism. For example, posting a link on Facebook earns one point whereas calling your senator will earn five points. The points can be redeemed for local concerts as well as passes to major music fests like Bonnaroo. It’s a way of rewarding people for their actions and providing an alternative to purchasing concert tickets. Several artists who have signed on to participate include John Mayer, Kayne West, Rihanna, Tim McGraw, and the Dixie Chicks. A complete list of artists and festivals is available on the website.

Music fans and activists alike are invited to participate in the Global Citizen Ticket initiative.  Their is an innovative online platform as well as mobile application to make participation easy. To get involved, register at globalcitizen.org/tickets and get started raising awareness and earning rewards today.

– Amanda Kloeppel

Source: JamBase