Wednesday, March 2, 2016

17 Ways You Can Work For Social Justice

Be present, question assumptions, and be loud! Social transformation starts with everyday people working for change.

If you're feeling inspired by the Supreme Court's historic same-sex marriage decision, then do your part to help build and sustain forward momentum toward justice for all. Legalizing same-sex marriage is a huge victory, but it is not the finish line of justice. Inequality takes many forms, and people are still waiting on their ability to live freely, safely, or, just to live.

1. Organize

Support community and issue-based organizations. Be part of front-end planning processes and not just the end-game celebrations. Help develop short-term and long-term strategies. Talk with activists and advocates to broaden and share understandings of equality and justice.

2. Show solidarity

Justice for all can't happen without building solidarity across issues, communities, and movements. For instance, justice for all means being in solidarity with undocumented trans women of color, the ongoing struggles of indigenous communities, and the actions and demands of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

3. Hone your allyship

We can all be stronger allies, more conscientious of the language we use, our privileges, how deeply we listen, the ways we offer our support, and our willingness to be vigilant and visible.

4. See the connections

Movements don't exist in a vacuum —examine how the struggles for racial, gender, economic, environmental and social justice intersect. Who is excluded when we ignore these intersections?

5. Take risks

For some the risk of speaking out or taking action presents serious safety concerns. However, if all that's at stake is mild discomfort, then what do you have to lose? What stops you from speaking up, speaking back, or showing up?

6. Look closer at language

How are social issues and conceptions of justice constructed through language? What can you do to reframe how you talk about equality and what it means to seek justice? Be specific in your language. Are you critiquing systems that perpetuate anti-blackness? Then say anti-blackness. Are you applauding acts of resistance? Then be explicit in describing why the act was necessary.

7. Deepen your critiques

Take time to push beyond surface critiques. Look for unquestioned assumptions. Identify and resist dominant narratives. Take in some inspiration from bell hooks, Vandana Shiva, Arundhati Roy, Eduardo Galeano, the Combahee River Collective, Gloria Anzaldua, Paolo Freire, and more. Up your critical analysis game .

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