For Students: Becoming a Little-A Activist

The Issue…

Lately, for lots of folks, the world has seemed like a pretty crazy and volatile place. New events hit the news or social media every day – police brutality, immigrant children being imprisoned, school shootings, and more – that make us feel anxious and disempowered. It’s a hard feeling to feel, and especially for kids, who often don’t feel especially powerful anyway.

That feeling sometimes makes folks want to act – to do something to make a change or let your voice be heard; you might, for example, have heard about Colin Kaepernick and others kneeling during the national anthem. Adults and older kids frequently do this in the form of protesting, political action, or voting, all of which are important ways to make change. All of that seems pretty impressive, and it’s definitely important work! But kids can’t vote, and although in our family we all protest no matter our age, some families may not feel their kids are ready to go out and protest (let’s be real, big groups can be scary when you’re very little after all). Still, kids want to be heard.

So, what can you do?

Well, one thing to do is to become a Little-A Activist (an [a]ctivist). An [a]ctivist, or Little-A, is someone – kid or adult – who does small things to speak out or make a change. While Big-A Activists do big things like organize and attend protests, Little-A Activists do smaller things like organize fundraisers for a cause, plant gardens, write letters, and more. They’re not the big, flashy things that Big-A’s are doing, but they’re also much safer.

Little-A’s may not be doing big, risky things, but all those smaller things are just as important as the big stuff – sometimes more so. Each and every one of those Little-A things is important, too, and also part of the bigger picture. Little-A’s support the work of the Big-A’s, too; by gently shifting the paradigm – the way people think about the world – where they live, [a]ctivists can change the story, community by community, and help [A]ctivists to focus their work on areas that need BIG action.

Being an [a]ctivist…

There are lots of different ways that you can be a Little-A Activist, an [a]ctivist. Take a moment to brainstorm a few ideas of how you think you could. You can take a look at the list below for some inspiration.

Grow a garden

Grow a garden…

One way that you can be an [a]ctivist is by growing a garden. Planting your own food can save a little money, but it has so many more benefits than that. It can help feed you and your family. It makes your space a little greener, which is good for you and for the planet. And at the same time, it teaches you a little bit about how plants grow, where food comes from, and even how we connect to the world around us. Depending on how much you grow, you might even be able to share a bit with your community.

Volunteer

Volunteer!

Another way that you can be an [a]ctivist is to volunteer. Volunteering looks a lot of different ways, and comes in a lot of forms, but ultimately it means giving your time and energy to others who need it. Sometimes that means spending time preparing food for or serving it to people in need. Other times that can be helping to build something for someone. It can be big, organized volunteering, working as part of a big group, but it can also just be you, offering to do something for someone who can’t. You can (and should) always ask a parent for ideas, or for help finding places that need volunteers. You’ll find there are always lots of opportunities.

Send a message

Send a message…

Another possibility is to send a message (or even lots of messages). Is there something that you’re passionate about? Tell people! You can do this in a lot of ways, too: you could write letters to family or friends (or even politicians, with some help from your parents), explaining why an issue is so important to you; you could make posters for your school or community, illustrating a problem or solution; with help from adults, you could even make your own website or social media page.

Donate

Donate…

Donating is another fantastic way to participate in Little-A Activism, and donating can take a lot of different forms, too. Volunteering is donating time, but you can donate your old clothes, you can donate food, you could even combine your [a]ctivism and sell the food you grow in your garden to donate money to a cause. What donating looks like is up to you (and of course your parents), but it can be a really wonderful way to get involved in your community.

The Possibilities are Endless!

No matter what you decide to do, the possibilities are endless. The most important thing to remember if something is really important to you is to keep working, keep acting. [A]ctivist or [a]ctivist, you’re making a difference.

If you have ideas, suggestions, or questions about Little-A Activism, let us know in the comments below!