What Is Our Collective Mission?
We live in a society where differences in race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, expression, or alignment, sexual orientation, neurodiversity, and other natural or acquired characteristics create hostility even if legal protections have been enacted to prevent discrimination associated with all or none of these characteristics. This has led to racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, and other such "-isms" that pervade in the public discourse, both as institutionalized and societal ills. Discrimination based on these characteristics have led to other social issues such as income - found in the income disparities between dominant and marginalized groups, and mental health - found in the increased likelihood of suicide for marginalized members of society. The intersectionalist philosophy is one that aims to change society for the better by recognizing such intersections and combatting the systematic issues that marginalized groups face as a result.
How Can We Combat These Issues?
Certain actions can be done to combat the systematic problems that face marginalized groups:
- Advocacy: The most important civic action to create social change is advocacy. Advocacy can be done in several forms, including:
- Public gatherings, rallies and vigils - Gatherings, rallies, and vigils can be used to mobilize activists, celebrate victories along the way, as well as mourn those whose lives have been negatively affected by systematic discrimination.
- Events - The same thing can be stated for events that engage the public at-large and educate them of important issues that they, otherwise, would not even give a second thought to.
- Use Your Skills/Talents - Literally everyone can make their mark in the course of any social movement by doing what they do best to help out the cause. For instance, an artist can use their platform to bring light to AIDS discrimination and their own experience with AIDS. If you aren't talented in that manner, you may have important organizational skills that can be utilized to mobilize caring and sympathetic members of the community to take action and hold them accountable!
- Engage your public servants - The goal of a politician should, ultimately, be to listen to their constituents' concerns and do their best to address their concerns. By engaging your public servants (e.g. via email, meeting at a public event, lobbying, etc.) you will put your platform out there, educate your public servants on your issue, and maybe even make or change minds.
- Public Awareness: Taking part in community events is a great way to meet people. In fact, every day conversations can change lives as well! Public awareness of your issue, whether with a friend or co-worker, can educate others and help your cause.
- Using social media - Using social media - It might sound tacky but social media is an important aspect of modern-day life and, in fact, most millenials get most of their news from social media and the campaign of President Barack Obama was widely successful due to its massive social media presence.
- Conversations - Every day conversations about certain topics, such as: police brutality, systematic ableism, or endemic sexism in the workplace, can make for fruitful conversations and will certainly engage all members of a party.
- Educate Yourself! - Make sure that no matter what, you educate yourself to the issues that you care about! Keep in touch with members of the advocacy community and make friends of them to ensure that you will hold yourself accountable. Resources, such as books, encyclopedias, academic research, and (of course) the internet (e.g. forums, news, discussion boards, blogs, etc.) will also help you gain a better perspective in all sides of an issue you're passionate about.
- Make Sure to Vote! Registering to vote and actually doing it goes a long way making sure the people who represent you, and your neighbors, are capable of doing the job and sympathetic to issues that are close to your heart.
In any case, these actions are called civic engagement, which is simply the act of participating in the political process whether participating in the public discourse or a formal event. Simply engaging in the political process is already one step towards making actual progress for change!