You don’t have to look far to find social injustice and inequity. Its presence streams the newsfeed of our social media, dominates television and radio news broadcasts, and constantly covers the pages of news publications constantly. It’s everywhere and can make you feel pretty hopeless about our society. But fear not, you are the activist that you’ve been waiting for. You may not know this yet, but you are actually a powerful and important equity activist and there are things you can do today to help end the structural oppression of marginalized people. It is actually pretty simple. An activist is anyone who wants to help support social change, it’s all about caring.
What Is An Activist?
If you engage in any action to support political or social change, you’re an activist This can be within any setting: your individual friend circle, your larger community, your campus community, your city, your province, your country, and even the global community! Each individual has more power than they know to create meaningful change.
When thinking of activists, some names that may come to mind: Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, and more recently Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thunberg. Although some of these individuals highlight the power of an individual to spark social change, they are not the only representations of activism, as activism occurs through every individual action you take to support change.! Do not underestimate your power to create a meaningful difference.
Why Is There A Need For Activism?
Equity issues are systemic and arise out of a long history. As long as there are social injustices within society, there is a need for activism. Marginalized groups rely on activism to have their voices heard. Social change requires engaged community members. The foundation of any healthy community is a group of individuals who are engaged. Decisions being made that impact you or others (for example: marginalized groups of people) may further perpetuate inequities or serve only a select few in society. Without activism, social change like the women’s suffrage movement to allow women the right to vote in elections would have been impossible.
Benefits Of Activism
There are countless examples of the benefits of activism: LGBTQ rights, abolition of slavery, women’s right to vote during elections — the list is endless. Activism is not only crucial for large-scale political and social movements; small community change is most effectively carried out through the efforts of local activists. Due to the engagement by the student body at Thompson Rivers University (TRU), in 2019 the university received the first platinum rating in The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS)[i], the first university in Canada to achieve this standard. This could not have happened without sustained pressure from engaged students who wished to see TRU become a more sustainable university. The activism has not stopped there, as the senior administration of TRU has pledged that the university will become carbon-neutral by 2030. This is a major change from the university’s carbon footprint from just 10years ago. Here’s how you can help show your support:
Tips To Support Your Activism At TRU Today
Get Engaged With Your Students’ Union
- Join the TRU Students’ Union: You can get involved with the student caucus, a committee, or the board of directors now.
- Support our advocacy efforts
Join A Club That Supports A Cause
- Club directory
- Get involved in Sustainability Clubs
Start A Club That Supports A Cause
- Start a club that supports a cause. See guide and deadlines for inspiration.
- Volunteer: Volunteer Kamloops is an organization that can help you find volunteer opportunities within your areas of interest.
Join A Board
- Every organization has a board. This is a group of volunteers who meet to help provide leadership in the decisions which will guide the organization.
- Girls On Boards
- Youth Engagement
Get Engaged With Politics At Any Level
- Start here: take this quiz to see which political party you most align with.
- Here are the major political parties you can get engaged/volunteer with:
- Join Or Begin A Grassroots Movement: A grassroots movement is a group of individuals from within an affected community coming together to create social change.
Get Involved With Your Professional Association, Union, Or Regulatory Body
Look For Classes/Degrees In Relevant Fields
- Search for classes at TRU
Stand Up To Oppression And Discrimination When You See It
- Your individual actions matter, don’t forget that! Support creating the culture you wish to live in.
There is no right first step, the campus and other activists are waiting for you to join and get involved!
For more information contact:
Vice President Equity
[i] Thompson Rivers University (2021). STARS Report. Retrieved from TRU Sustainability.