If you have a socially aware loved one, you’ve probably witnessed the burnout that comes fighting for social issues firsthand. Campaigning for change is often a long game, and activism fatigue isn’t something that can be combated with some green tea and a trip to the spa. The best gift to give your socially aware friend? Your time. Simply being by their side and showing your support for their efforts may give them the push they need to keep going (and, as anyone who’s volunteered, protested, or petitioned before knows, they’ll appreciate your acknowledgement of their passion more than you recognize). Here’s how to lend a hand and give the gift of dedicating your time to their cause of choice.
Attend a rally or protest together
If it’s not made obvious on their social feeds, ask your socially aware friend what cause currently has their heart. Start looking up upcoming rallies or protests happening in your area (or even a road trip away) on local meetup groups, Facebook groups, or your city’s local advocacy groups (found easily through Google) to find ones that are posted online. Maybe you share a passion for a certain cause—even better! Reach out to your friend and ask if they want to join you, and if the event calls for it, plan a day of poster-making together beforehand.
Start a letter-writing campaign
Be it digital or print, letter writing is an effective way to make your local government take notice of an important cause. Invite your loved one to spend the day together writing letters to various people in power in your government, from local all the way up to federal. Why not send out an invite to socially aligned friends while you’re at it and make it an event? The more people, the greater chance your cause will get attention. Kick things off your event by presenting some tips on writing an effective change-inducing letter to your group (and if you don’t know where to start, Amnesty International has a large-scale letter writing campaign you can easily contribute to).
Sign a petition
Something as simple as signing your name on a piece of paper or online form, can show that special person in your life that you care. Look on change.org to find a petition you think your friend would be passionate about, sign it, and then send them the link to it with a note telling them how and why they inspired you to do so. People who not only care about your passions, but act on them? Instant friends.
If you don’t know enough about the cause—get informed!
It’s difficult to feel a personal connection to a protest, rally, or cause when you don’t fully understand why it matters. Do your due diligence and dig into what the group is fighting for and why—there are plenty of short, smart YouTube videos you can use to get a quick overview before the event.
Even better, ask your friend why they got involved with this cause and what they are fighting for. People are passionate about something for good reason, and odds are, they love talking about it. Meet at a local coffee shop or nearby park before the event to get some more background, and remember to just listen—it can be one of the best ways to show appreciation and respect.
If you’re going to a protest or rally, ask your friend to make a sign, t-shirt, or informative postcards to hand out before the event. You can easily get materials from the dollar store or local craft store, and if you need inspiration, do some online research on clever signage and slogans from protests past.
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