I’ve got to admit that I am tired. Emotionally drained would be an understatement at this point. In this season, and political climate, we’ve been witnessing a lot of things that are forcing us to examine ourselves, and not in a way that we really want to. When I think about the police killings of Black people in America, not only do I get frustrated, but the immediate reaction is almost tempered with a feeling of helplessness. Not anymore.
In the 1960’s, the Civil Rights movement was being led by young people in their late teens and early-to-mid twenties. There were no excuses surrounding age. The difference that separates our Millennial culture and the young leaders of that time, is action. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of young people out doing work to affect change, but not nearly enough. It comes from a place of entitlement. We never really had to fight for anything, because of the work that our parents and grandparents did decades ago. This fact is both a blessing and a curse. We’re benefiting from the work of those who went before us, which unfortunately has lulled us into complacency. To be honest, the only way that we’ll be able to get the change that we seek, is to do something out of the ordinary, think for ourselves, and use the tools we have mastered to our advantage. So instead of asking “What can I do” here are 4 things you can actually do right now, to affect long-term change.
Join A Political Action Committee – Look no one wants to hear “vote” right now, but the truth of the matter is, beyond the Presidential elections, we have to pay very close attention to the lawmakers who are representing us. Anyone who’s taken basic government knows that those who create the laws are just as, if not more important than who holds the office of the President. Joining a Political Action Committee will help you contribute funds to support specific candidates who are interested in what you’re interested in. If you’re looking for one that has the interest of Black people in mind, check out The Collective, a newly formed PAC that will do just that. More information here.
Get Involved In A Local Chapter Of A Social Organization for Change – Whether it’s your local chapter of Black Lives Matter, The NAACP, The National Urban League or its you getting back active in your Fraternity or Sorority – you would be well served to get involved with an organization that has a mission for social change. Established and respected organizations are in a position to create waves where individuals may not. Whether it’s lobbying, protesting, or program creation, these organizations would be a good place to start if you’re looking to find other like-minded people to work toward a solution.
Volunteer With A Local Non-Profit Organization That Serves Your Community – Especially one that serves young people. In the long game, one of the things that will help us achieve change is developing a sense of community. Seeding into the lives of young people will help us because they’re the next generation of leaders. Our kids need to know that there are young people that look like them that have become successful, and moved on from where they began. They also need education on what their rights are in this country. Your voice will matter. Even if you choose not to work with kids, there are organizations in your city that are doing work to beautify and restore areas that can become work spaces for entrepreneurs.
Keep Tweeting, Keep Recording – No matter what anyone tells you, your cell phone is a powerful tool for change. With each Facebook post, Tweet, Instagram post, or Snap, you’re opening your audience’s eyes to things they may not have known. Awareness is the first step toward action, and please believe that people are paying attention to what happens online. The new class of the Motion Picture Academy is proof. Keep talking, it’s your right, and don’t let anyone try to police what you do in your online space.
These are steps toward a long term solution. Which one will you take? Do you have any other suggestions? Tweet me, let’s work together to make a change.