You know those people who are genuinely in your corner? It is sometimes a best friend, your brother, perhaps your mom or dad, maybe a community leader, but there is always someone in your corner rallying for your success.
For a moment, let’s say you are the one fighting for others. Perhaps you are a teacher and put your energy towards great education for your students. You may be a physician’s assistant advocating for your patients or a social worker working on behalf of the children (and parents) you come in contact with day after day.
For a moment, remove educator, PA, and social worker from the aforementioned examples and replace it with community activist.
“I am a community activist and put your energy towards great education for your students.”
I am making this distinction because the biggest misconception about making the world a better place is as follows:
1 —- “It’ll never happen. Humans are too shitty to believe in something like that.”
2 —- “I am just a [fill in the blank]. My work does not really make a difference.”
Even if you do not say it out loud, if you are honest there are days when you wonder if any of what you signed up for is worth it. And then another teacher will give you a pep talk. A student will remind you why you come to work everyday. People will rally around you even when those who have never walked in your shoes can’t comprehend your lived experience as a educator aka community activist.
Imagine this on a global scale. Imagine for a moment there is a group of people or even a nation that needed activists, cheerleaders, supporters and academics behind them sounding a rallying cry at their injustices. Even if no one else understands, even when it seems not worth it, even if you or I don’t agree, when there are smart, authentic and capable people supporting a greater good, it moves the tide. Consider for a moment the small group of people who fought for the a woman’s right to vote or the select few (in the big scheme of things) that fight for the rights of African Americans. It isn’t enough to say you understand, some people use their education, skill, time and money to support people, causes and ideals that actually make the world a better place. It may only be one step, but if you look behind you, you’ll see as a culture, we have walked a mile thanks to those community activist (CA). A CA like you. You made a difference. You changed a life. The news may always reflect what is not working and what is not working can coexist with what is working in our communities.
Even when we do not understand everyone’s platform, rallying cry or passion, we can all get behind the need for someone willing to fight on your behalf. No explanation necessary. No big band behind you celebrating the fact that you did it.
Sometimes the one fighting for you is you, but the next time you drive by a protest or read someone’s stance on an issue you don’t understand, consider for a moment there is someone or a group of someone’s on the other end of that passion who may represent for the voiceless.
The biggest misconception about social justice is that we are not a part of the changing tide in our own little ways. Whether on behalf of someone else, a disenfranchised group or ourselves, the difference you are making may be small, but is mighty. Celebrate a CA today aka you.