How to make 4th of July a day of action *and* celebration
4th of July is on its way, and we can't wait! Who doesn't love a day full of food, family and fireworks?
But this year, the patriotic holiday feels a little different. Our country is battling a health crisis, protests about police brutality and systemic racism are happening across the nation and earlier this year, youth-led climate marches were gaining traction. In the wake of everything going on right now, it's time to make this 4th of July a day of action *and* celebration.
A little lost on how to do that? Use these steps to get started.
Step 1: Sit down and reflect. Think about what issues you want to see fixed in America. Are you angry about racial injustice or immigration policy? What about gun violence, climate change or gender equality? Take some time to really think about the progress *you* want to see in this country.
Step 2: Now that you have a list of topics you care about, it's time to start researching. Find out which charities or funds are accepting donations and which ones aren't. Look for petitions online. Reach out to like-minded friends and see if they have ideas. And, most importantly, read everything. Explore all sides of the issues—nuances, past successes and failures of the movement, who was involved, everything. You can only be an effective activist if you know what you're fighting for.
Step 3: Now it is finally time to get started. Remember those petitions and charities you found in Step 2? Now's the time to donate, sign and share. Use your social media platform to get others involved and send emails to everyone on your contact list. The more people who join you, the more likely it is that you will make concrete change.
Step 4: Call your senators, governors, city councilors and mayors. Remind them that as their constituent, you have the right to make yourself heard. Talking to powerful people can be scary, so remember these guidelines:
+ Stand your ground. They might try to sidetrack you, but you have done your research and know exactly what to say.
+ Make sure they hear you. Stand in a quiet spot and speak clearly into the phone. You will sound more confident and your message will be clearer.
+ Remember that you have a constitutional right to call your representatives. The US government was made for the people by the people. Their job is to serve you and you have the power in this situation.
Bonus Step 5: Get your family registered to vote! One of the best ways to make a change is to vote in elected officials who represent the views you care about. This November, a new President will be elected. Make sure it's the one you want. Ask your parents, friends over 18 and extended family if they are registered to vote. And remind them that President isn't the only powerful position. Voting for state Senators and representatives and in local elections is imperative to catalyzing the change you want. Remember that the smaller the election, the more powerful each individual voice is.
Happy 4th of July! Celebrate with some BBQ, beaches and ofc civic action.
“In the face of impossible odds, people who love this country can change it.”
― Barack Obama
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