Activism has existed for as long as justice and equality has needed people to fight for it. Activists band together to protest, march, rally, and stand together on issues ranging from health awareness to racism.
In the past few years, slacktivism has reached an all time high with people slapping Kony 2012 stickers on the closest light pole within their reach, to your Facebook friends sharing videos of themselves getting doused with freezing water for the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge.”
However, slacktivism isn’t a relatively new term- it’s just adapted to the way we interact-i.e Social Networking Sites. Instead of bumper stickers and “Livestrong” bands, we are ‘liking’ and creating hashtags to show our support for a cause. But is liking a cause on Social Media, advocating change, or is it promoting a lazy, convenient approach to activism?
Raising awareness is just the first step in a long battle for change. Although "Slacktivism" has its pros (such as getting the word out to the masses), it is most often associated with current trends. What happened to Kony 2012? Occupy Wall street? When the 'dust' cleared, these movements were forgotten.
While your 'likes' aren't ending racism, and your 'shares' aren't helping a boy go to bed with a full stomach, you being out there in the field is helping. Whether it's volunteering at a homeless shelter, or an orphanage, a few hours of your time can be a blessing to those who need it the most. Organize. Come together with people who want to make a change and do something about it.
History shows us just how much of an impact activism can make: The Stonewall riots that led to the LGBT movement, the Civil rights movement, the United Farm Workers movement, the Feminist movement, all came to fruition because of the masses who continuously fought for change.
Right now, standing in solidarity with activists of the #BlackLivesMatter movement instead of sitting at home reblogging a post on Tumblr will show that we do not tolerate the killing of innocents by those who are sworn to protect us and have a greater impact than social media 'likes' ever could.
If the media stops covering a protest or movement, that doesn't mean it has ceased to exist- it's a prime example of the media chasing a fresh new trend. Don't forget about the kids detained at the border of Texas, don't turn away from the women left in Hutto, fight for the students who want to continue their education but because of their immigration status, are turned away from schools.
Whatever your calling is, take the time to step away from the computer and turn your 'slacktivism' into activism- stand with us. Be the change- no matter how hard the struggle. Let us always remember that there is strength in numbers.
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