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Your Role in Social Activism Beyond Guilt and Anger

Posted on March 30, 2012 in Society

By Swathi Anantha:

Each day we are exposed to at least one aspect of social activism either through social networking sites, media, or by word of mouth. Some appeals may be ignored without a second thought but others may anger or even frustrate us. We tweet, rant, blog, or “like” for that instant and quickly move on with the rest of our lives. Not everyone can dedicate their lives to social causes and many are overwhelmed into complacency or worse, apathy. As the youth movement around the world gains momentum and many of us are exposed to petitions and protests every week we feel guilt and responsibility to take action, but to what degree?

As my friends and I are making our career choices and deciding our priorities in life we find ourselves discovering our passions and skills in different contexts. One friend is an intelligent African American feminist who is a political activist and keeps me informed on policies affecting women and reproductive health, as well as, violence/assault against women. Another friend is an environmentalist and constantly informs me on animal rights and environmental safety policies. Personally, I am interested in healthcare and subscribe to various blogs regarding healthcare policy and promotion. There are a lot of things wrong in this world and attempting to change them all at once can be daunting and lead to disillusionment. We need to find the best combination of what makes our blood boil and what we are naturally good at and this will lead us to the best way of contributing to the world in a positive manner without falling into the depths of cynicism and apathy. We will have found that inner fire which never ceases to motivate and inspire us.

We should all try our best to be informed on all social issues but it is important to find what we are passionate about and attempt to blend that into our daily efforts. Anger, guilt, and frustration without action and proper knowledge are wasted emotions no matter how many tears we shed or candles we light. It is our responsibility to care about others and this world but we must keep in mind that this shared responsibility. Everyone is in this together like pieces of a puzzle. Everyone doing their part to the best of their ability will naturally result in change and a better world.