Thursday, April 5, 2012

Becoming An Activist

Every one's an activist to some extent.

We all have "causes" that we fight for; whether it's fighting global hunger through an organization, or crusading against the guy who writes the schedule at work, fighting hard to get your weekends off.

As humans we stand for things. We put our foot down against perceived injustices, and we're always looking for a way to make the world better. At least, better for us.

But, becoming a true activist is something completely different than you might think.

It's a concept that's, by and large, lost in our society and our every day lives.

An activist is someone who doesn't just stop after raising awareness. It's someone who goes beyond wearing a trendy little pin, during successful campaigns. It's someone who doesn't just talk, but decides instead to walk.Activism doesn't end at awareness. Activism is the continual process of standing up for those with no voice. Activism, is the constant giving of oneself, to something greater than simply self.

A cause.

What's been lost, is the giving part.

I'm not sure that many individuals understand what it means to give yourself to something, not expecting anything in return. Heck, I myself am still trying to figure out what that looks like.

But it's important.

A society that's comprised of individuals who only care for self, is a society that will choose to be blind to the suffering of the world.

Jesus, my greatest inspiration, was an activist. Activists advocate on behalf of something. Jesus advocated for people. He still does. That's why, I believe, when people stand up for the oppressed, the poor, and the hungry, God is present in it.

That's why people resonate with the great humanitarian calls of our time. Action is our destiny. Not complacency.

We can choose complacency, but it isn't stagnation that brings us to fullness of life.


In high school, much of my junior and senior year was consumed by trying to rally students against school budget cuts. We actually created a fair amount of noise. What I learned through that experience, is that there are always critics.

It doesn't matter how right, noble or just a cause may seem. Someone is always going to be critical of the work you do.

Sometimes critics are genuine. They are skeptical merely because they want to be sure the cause is as noble as it seems on the outside. These critics can guide us to examine our affiliations, and they can drive a cause to higher pursuits.

Sometimes critics are just that, critics.

Sometimes critics don't want to see anything better come from a movement. They simply want deconstruct what's been built by others.

It's easy to be a critic.
It's hard to stand for something that matters.

Being an activist isn't a label that you can pin onto yourself. Being an activist is something that one becomes. It's a lifestyle. A lifestyle that expects nothing tangible in return.

When the viral Kony 2012 campaign hit the world wide web, some complained that the 30 minute run time was too long. Too long? A story, about children who are in danger, being oppressed and being forced to kill, and the movie is too long?

Some shared the movie with their friends and stopped at that.

Yet others continue to carry the mission forth, to this day.

You decide. Who are the true activists?

Being an activist isn't a label, it's something you become.

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