Over the last years, our communities have experienced tremendous trauma and struggle; it’s easy to become disheartened in the continuous fight for justice and equality. Hoping to combat such weariness, Hulu’s “One Small Action” campaign is connecting with powerful community voices to highlight ways each of us can continue to show up and take small actions to contribute to the greater good.
Activist Feminista Jones shared her thoughts on fighting for racial justice and ways we can all take “One Small Action.”
The most important thing you can do in the fight for racial justice, freedom and equality is show up. Being present and accounted for as someone who believes in justice and wants the world to be free of oppression is more important than you may truly understand. While some people choose apathy — perhaps because they are too afraid, uninformed or indifferent to engage in the necessary work to push us toward freedom and equality — others commit themselves to making the world a better place for all. If we want better for ourselves, for our children and for future generations, we have to do whatever we can, in our own ways, to put an end to injustice everywhere.
I knew since I was a little girl that I wanted to help people. Being born into poverty and growing up in distressed neighborhoods made me empathetic to people who struggle with hunger and homelessness. I decided early on that I would become someone who helps others improve their lives. It wasn’t until I learned more about systemic racism and how people of color are disproportionately affected by these things that I realized the issue was much bigger than one family being unable to afford to eat dinner or avoid losing their apartment. We live in a world where many of the obstacles people face are the result of an unjust system that treats people of color as inferior and unworthy of dignity. I refuse to do nothing as people continue to suffer for no reason other than their racial identity.
I became an activist when I was an undergraduate student. Affirmative Action was being contested in the courts, and students across the nation were protesting, signing petitions and demanding supportive action from university administrations. I remember standing on the street and handing out flyers to people as they walked by. I was determined to raise awareness of what was at stake, and while some seemed completely uninterested, there were a few people who stopped to chat and learn more about our efforts. In my mind, if we could reach one or two or even 10 people and help them understand why maintaining Affirmative Action was important for everyone, then I’d done what I set out to do. Since then, I’ve been guided by the idea that if I can reach just one person, it’s one small step toward manifesting greater change.
After over two decades of being actively engaged in social justice work, and as someone who refuses to sit idly by and allow injustice to erode our society, I recognize that it takes a collective effort to create change. You may think that, unless you can create a massive movement or raise millions of dollars, you’re not making a difference. That can’t be further from the truth. If everyone took one small action to push us closer to freedom, equality and justice, we could change the world as we know it. So as someone who wants to become more active in the fight for racial justice, what can you do?
Pay Attention and Raise Awareness
Keeping up to date with what’s going on in your community and the nation helps you stay informed about what people are experiencing and what types of support they may need. If you have social media accounts, you can share what you’ve learned with your followers and in your circles. Creating conversations around issues of racial injustice and the work of activists on the ground is an incredible way to show support and raise the consciousness of those around you.
Hold Leaders Accountable
When was the last time you emailed your congressional representative or a local community leader? Remember, we elect politicians to represent us and act in our best interests, so if you live somewhere where a terrible act of overt or violent racism has happened, tell local leadership that you expect them to take action. Social media is, again, another way to reach out to people who have influence and power to make necessary changes, so use these platforms to engage them in the work they’re elected to do.
Start Small and Stay Local
Most of us live in areas where there are grassroots efforts to fix local issues, and they are almost always in need of support. If you’re able to donate, even if it’s only a few dollars, it helps a great deal. Don’t think you’re not making an impact because you can only spare five dollars. Local bail funds to support protesters who have been arrested or activists who have been wrongly accused of criminal activity are a good starting point. Donating to the campaign of a local racial justice activist who is running for office is another way to show your support.If you are able to volunteer, the help is greatly appreciated, and you can become better connected with the people in your community who are as focused on combating system racism as you are. Always remember that this is about collective work and responsibility, and community mutual aid projects are highly effective in addressing local issues.
Follow Your Passion
People are more likely to remain consistent in their social justice work when they’re focused on issues that are personal and spark passion. Are you really into conservation and environmental justice? Connect with people who are looking into environmental racism and offer your expertise and devotion to their cause. Can’t find a group doing the work? Create one! You can reach out to your friends or social media buddies and build a small cohort of concerned citizens who want to improve the quality of life for people disproportionately affected by systemic racism. You can start as small as holding community meetings about lead in water, asbestos in buildings and the lack of trash pickup in communities of color. You’re raising awareness, staying local, and if you bring it to the attention of local leadership, you’re holding them accountable to do their jobs. Let your passion guide you toward doing what’s right and let it motivate you to keep going.
We all have a responsibility to do what we can to fight for what’s right, even if we aren’t directly affected by systemic racism. Imagine a world in which all people have equitable access to resources, opportunities and the pursuit of the happiest life they deserve. How can you do your part to combat oppression and ensure everyone is able to live as free, equal human beings? Start small. Stay aware. Support each other. Follow your heart. It only takes one small action to inspire others to get involved and fight together for a better future.
For more inspiration, visit https://www.hulu.com/one-small-action to connect with important organizations in the fight for racial justice. And, use #OneSmallAction on social media to engage with others who are making a difference one action at a time.
This editorial is brought to you in partnership with Hulu.