Activism showcases itself in many different forms. The Otter Cross Cultural Center (OC3) at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) hosted another social justice themed event called Re-defining Activism in the 21st Century on March 10. The event showcased three different speakers: Wendy Feng, Valerie Ordonez and Yazmin Macias. Each speaker tackled the topic and defined activism in their own words reciting what it means to them, presenting visuals that continually emphasize the importance of rethinking and reshaping activism.
Beginning the discussion by asking attendees their definition of activism, speakers said by definition activism is “the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change.” Leaders then began asking each person to personally describe how they contribute to causes they feel are important.
Unconventional activism was brought up. Being an activist does not always mean you are at every protest and marching, especially during the pandemic. Social justice and the message presented has drastically changed over the past year. While there were still marches and gatherings, people took to social media to spread awareness on certain social issues occurring. Another platform utilized was change.org which helped create and share petitions.
Petitions are not guaranteed to change certain issues, but awareness and persuasion can be brought from them. As social media has a persistent nature, it has helped bring to light several issues that other news outlets or forms of media may not have covered.
Education is another key factor in the element of activism in the sense of taking the time to fully research and understand the situation at hand. One may find themselves unaware of an issue. It is important to understand the aspect of said issue – not only by standing behind it – but also speaking on it.
Self-care and art were mentioned as another avenue of activism. Art can be used in various forms to spread truth and knowledge. Self-care takes an interesting form of activism. An individual needs to take care of themselves and be able to think clearly and strongly. It is encouraging to see that Millennials and Gen Z’s recognize self-care is the center of their lifestyle.
Being able to redefine and find our own ways to contribute to social change is incredibly important. There is no ‘right’ way to go about it. Activism is continuously evolving.