Activist. A person who campaigns to bring political or social change.
Recently, I came across a tweet that said “so everyone’s an activist now?”. I assumed this was tweeted because the Black Lives Matter movement has been one of the main topics of discussion in the world right now – as it should be. I find comments like this and other expressions of annoyance towards the movement to be very telling of one’s character and attitude towards the concept of freedom and justice for Black people. Many people prefer to live in ignorance as they are privileged to do so.
This tweet was quoted with another tweet saying “no, we’re just black” which I obviously related to as a Black woman. You’d expect Black people to contribute to the Black Lives Matter movement by default but that seems to not be the case and if I’m being honest, I don’t like that. I believe that anyone, regardless of race, should care about contributing in pushing for progressive radical transformation in regards to Black lives. I believe that as a human being, coexisting with other human beings, you should at least want everyone to have an equal shot at life.
I often think back on the times when I first began speaking on social issues that affected me and people like me. This was during secondary (high) school and it made my teenage years feel very challenging because it felt like I was the only one around me who cared about changing certain things that were (and probably still are) wrong with society. I’m 21 years old now and I can honestly say that I have continued to consistently advocate for real significant change in regards to issues that affect queer fat Black women and mostly just women in general. I have always aimed to create any form of positive impact with everything I do. I never saw myself as an activist but if I refer to the definition of what an activist is, I’d say I am indeed an activist.
I believe that we all have a purpose and I know that my purpose consists of me dedicating most, if not all, of my life to helping others live their lives as unapologetically as possible. That includes me actively fighting for the rights of all marginalised groups of people, regardless of whether I am apart of their community or not. However, I will say that there are causes that I am more passionate about i.e Black Lives Matter.
I’d like to conclude by saying that I view activism as a constant fight for political and social change. To be an activist is to be someone who is dedicated, someone who is not fazed by the challenges they may face while fighting for the causes they believe in. You usually see activists involved in protests such as demonstrations, strikes and sit-ins but I believe that there are many more ways an activist can campaign for political and social change. I have taken part in traditional ways of activism as well as more modern ways such as uploading YouTube videos and posting ‘controversial’ pictures on Instagram. I’ve found that using these mediums to bring awareness to social issues has been effective so I will continue to do so alongside using other approaches that make sense for the causes I’m fighting for.
By no means am I saying that everyone should be an activist but I am saying that I believe everyone should make an effort to contribute in bringing forth positive changes in society.
“Whoever you are, wherever you are...whether you are a student, an academic, whether you are a worker, whether you are a person involved in your church, whether you are an artist, there are always ways to gear your work towards progressive radical transformation” - Angela Davis