Activism is a very important part of my life. I know a lot of people who are really into political activism - talking to our representatives in government, canvassing (going out into the street putting up posters and handing out flyers and so on), organizing protests, etc. That's not something that I have much energy for, so I leave it to more capable and willing people.
My brand of activism, which I feel strongly is just as important - no more, no less - as political activism, is social justice activism: activism done in a social context, during casual conversations, etc. I do speaking gigs in schools and wherever else I'm invited, doing Trans 101 for people and putting a human face and personal story on issues that many of them had no previous experience with or understanding of. I put myself out there all over the internet, all in the name of education.
I think it's really important, and seldom discussed, that activism doesn't have to mean marching with a sign or going to meet with government officials. Sometimes activism is speaking up when someone says something offensive - or if it comes up generally - and helping them understand why it's offensive. Sometimes it's explaining a new term or concept to a friend. Sometimes it's signing a petition or clicking a link (see below for some links you can click to make a difference!) or calling a phone number and pressing a key when the automated answering system asks you to vote for something.
So - be an activist! Find a cause - or several - that you feel strongly about, and do what you can for it. It doesn't have to take up all your time, but a little effort here or there really can make a huge impact in the long run.
I sponsor a child through Children International! I sponsored one child (J, in the Philippines) from 2001-2011, at which time she left the program and I started sponsoring a different child (W, in Colombia). W left the program in 2015 and I'm now sponsoring my third child (K, also in Colombia). It costs $27 a month, which is about 90 cents a day, and my sponsored child receives medical and dental care, an education, clothing, school supplies, and healthy food as necessary. The benefits are amazing. See their site for more information, and please consider sponsoring a child yourself.
April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month.
(On each of these websites, you can click a button to support the cause - each click creates funding, and costs you nothing! Bookmark these sites, and click once a day!)
With every click, a contribution is made to help fund thousands of hours of learning experiences that include play, speech, and behavioral therapies for children with autism and their families. According to the US-based Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), autism spectrum disorders affect one in 110 American children, and one in 70 boys — and those numbers are growing.
With every click, food is provided to an animal in a shelter or sanctuary. 27 million unwanted animals are given to shelters in the US alone every year. Over 10 million animals are put to death every year in the US alone because they are abandoned and unwanted.
With every click, food is provided to US veterans in need and their families. While veterans represent 8% of the total population in the United States, they represent 16% of homeless adults. On any given night there may be over 75,600 homeless veterans in shelters and on the streets across the US.
How good is your English vocabulary? English grammar? Arithmetic? World geography? Take this neverending multiple-choice quiz, with a bunch of different subjects available; for every right answer, 20 grains of rice are donated to the hungry through the United Nations World Food Program.
EcologyFund.com - you can click several links to save land across four continents - FREE.
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation - make a donation and/or spread the word
GreaterGood.com - donate to any of a number of great causes
OLPC's Mission Statement: To create educational opportunities for the world's poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning.