It is a busy time in our country right now. Sometimes it feels like there are more things to fight over than there are to agree on, and like we live in an endless loop of devastating news. It can be easy to want to shut the door and hide. But now is precisely the time to stand up and get to work. But what does “get to work” really mean? We often define social justice work as knocking on doors, holding community meetings, and working phone banks. While these methods are extremely effective in inciting change, for an introvert, this type of work can be scary.
If you are anything like me, the idea of attending meetings and making phone calls to strangers is enough to spark a panic attack. Not knowing how to help in a way that is conducive to your personality can leave you feeling guilty or even helpless to inspire change. And nobody wants that. So, I am here to assure you, there are plenty of ways to make waves and have your voice heard even while being an introvert:
- Send emails, write postcards, and sign (or create) petitions
We are told over and over again that making phone calls is the best way to get the attention of lawmakers. And while this may be true, sending emails, bombarding their office with snail-mail, and adding your name to thousands of others who share your causes helps, too. One word of caution, vet any petitions you sign to make sure the organization you are supporting is reputable and truly does stand for your cause.
Joining up with a march or rally is a great way to show up for your cause. I know, this may sound contradictory because you will be in a group of people, but there is no expectation you have to chat with anyone. There is power in numbers, and being a head in a crowd can send a very loud message.
It is easy to become overwhelmed with wanting to save the world. And trust me, you cannot do it on your own. It is also important not to over-extend your time or emotional energy. Focus on doing what you can and donate (money or goods) to organizations that can do the rest.
- Write editorials
Have ideas you want to be heard but don’t want to say them out loud? Consider writing editorials to your local or regional newspapers, or even start a blog. These are great ways to spark interest in your cause without ever having to speak to anyone face-to-face.
- Share credible articles via social media
I know there are a lot of people on social media who are reaching politics-fatigue, but that doesn’t mean we should stop speaking up. Sharing objective, informative, fact-based articles via social media is a great way to spread ideas and information. But please, I’m begging you, make sure your source is credible, the information is as accurate, objective, and as balanced as possible.
- Volunteer for non-social jobs
A lot of nonprofits rely on volunteers to help out with their day-to-day operations. There are plenty of jobs you can do that do not require you to be social. You could stuff envelopes, help with filing, data entry, office organization, write newsletters, take the minutes in meetings, create marketing materials, and so on. Volunteering your time and skills are always a great way to contribute to your community and your causes.
- Subscribe to credible news sources
We often take for granted all the free material available via the internet. Major news outlets often offer readers access to a certain number of free articles each year in lieu of a subscription, and a lot of people take advantage of that. However, if you truly value the content they are providing, subscribe. A couple of bucks a month to have access to world-class, in-depth, and investigative journalism is adding value to your lived experience. Help them help you.
- Spend wisely
I’m a huge believer in voting at the polls, but also with my wallet. Because we live in a capitalist society, consumers have huge buying power. Think of how many food suppliers have changed their products over to organic because of customer demand. Or how some corporations have cut ties with controversial investors because consumers boycotted their services? The all-mighty dollar is sometimes all that matters in our system, and, right, wrong, or otherwise, that gives you a lot of power to influence. If we all become more conscious consumers, imagine what we could accomplish.
Whether you can apply one or all of these suggestions to your daily life, don’t ever feel like you are not making an impact if you can’t adhere to mainstream ideas of social activism. The diversity of differing activist strategies will be more powerful than one or two standard methods. If you are an introvert, you can be an effective activist. And no matter what your cause, no matter what your politics, I hope you utilize the strength of your voice in a way that works best for you so you can fight for what you believe in. That’s what will make America great.