I just want to invite everyone to take a moment, really think about what your definition of activism is. I really mean it. Take a moment. What does activism mean to you?
Activism is disruptive. It’s not supposed to make you comfortable. It makes you think, even in ways you don’t assume, it should make you do so. It’s supposed to make you feel. It supposed to drive change. It does, even when we hate it.
But there are also different ways in which this disruption occurs, which is why many people have a tendency to be upset with movements and find flaws with the fundamentals of them because of the type of activism that is engaged. It doesn’t fit their perspective or their personal preferences of how to disseminate that idea. There’s nothing wrong with being uncomfortable with the way, things are done.
Let’s take a moment to think about some of the emotional movements that have happened and are still happening. These are not the only ones that have happened; these are ones that I am comfortable with an emotional fallout over discussing these.
The Civil Right Movement
Gaining voters rights/addressing voters’ suppression.
Black Lives Matter
Each of these movements actively engages different types of activism and some that make people uncomfortable. Some of these just honestly hurt people’s feelings as they make them addressed beliefs they have about the world that they live in that they did not want to consider or think about.
Y’all the reality of the situation is that activism sucks. For everyone. It’s emotional. It’s making you address things that are not fun. Everybody wants just to enjoy life and live. The individuals organizing activism and the people who experience it. It’s an abundance of emotional labor. The problem is that without action, there are groups of individuals that can’t enjoy the life that they have and they only have that one. No matter what spiritual belief system you have, we can all agree that there is only a guarantee for what we have now, but that can get sucked away on the whim of political choices by people who are removed from the situation. Activism addresses that our current existence should not be less because of how other people believe we should exist.
So for just a quick down and dirty, let’s review some of the ways that activism exists.
- It exists in the Arts and things that move us.
- It exists in acts of defiance and Civil Disobedience that disturb the people around us and point out the inequity and injustice of the system we live in.
- It exists in community support and cooperatives, community building and radically engaging a world that seeks to separate minorities from their community.
- It exists in small silent changes in our everyday lives that make people want to change. It exists in our use of new technologies.
- It exists when you actively engage the system that gives us information, providing new, decolonize, and reformed information.
- It exists in protest and nonviolent demonstrations. It exists in personal accountability.
- It exists in radically defining what spirituality means to you and identify what your personal philosophies are.
Many of you will be surprised if you take a moment of introspection to note that you often engage in forms of activism that on a large scale you dislike because it’s so visible and disruptive, but you do it in small ways every day. I invite everyone to sit with yourself. Think about why activism as a whole or activism in part makes you uncomfortable; why when it’s related to different movements, it makes you uncomfortable.
Activism Is disruptive and uncomfortable. That’s an unfortunate fact.
Sometimes it’s explosive. Sometimes it’s a slow burn.