From the Spring Valley High assault to the incidents in Ferguson, to the killing of Temetrion Hegler, there are societal flaws everywhere. Some people may want to get involved in politics with an activist point of view, but don’t know how to start. Former Loy Norrix student Kaitlin Martin gives us some tips on how to begin the journey into activism.
There are two important things to know before you can put your voice into the world.
“Knowledge is key,” Martin said.
You have to know what is happening around you to understand what the problem is.
“Do a lot of research on what exactly you are fighting for… and if you stand for it completely,” said Loy Norrix senior Sidney Ellis.
If you don’t understand what you’re fighting for, you will come off as ignorant, and people won’t take you seriously. Think before you speak. Don’t just come out and type something up on Twitter or Facebook.
Second, know how to respond to situations, for example, the shooting of Zaevion Dobson or the Charlie Hebdo attack in France.
Kalamazoo for Justice (K4J) is a group that has in the past been devoted to educating people how to react and “engage” in situations such as things like police brutality or corrupt government officials. The group put pressure on government officials watching their actions and when a crisis would arises, they stood in solidarity with the people affected and the people doing something about it.
It may seem hard to see what is wrong with society, but there are many ways to open your eyes. Though the group Kalamazoo for Justice currently lacks participation and interest, there are many other ways to get involved. Look for things like the “die in” at downtown Kalamazoo, protesting the shootings in 2014. Get associated with local groups around Kalamazoo like the LN for Justice Facebook page or the YWCA, an anti-violence group, and stay up to date with current events; social media is a good resource, as well as the local news.
No matter who you are there is something you can do. If you are someone who likes technology, you can create a website to help keep people aware. You could also start a group in your community or school. If that’s not for you, just being knowledgeable of current events and talking to your friends about the events is something anyone can do.
Social injustices may seem distant, but they can be right at our doorstep within a blink of an eye. When people are discriminated, mistreated, beaten and killed, will you be someone who does something about it? As people of a society that have power, it is our responsibility to use it.