What is “An Activist?”

Do you know any activists?

You probably know some of the big names that people typically think of when they think about activists – including such figures as Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Gandhi, Ai Weiwei, and perhaps what some would say greatest activist ever – Jesus Christ who sought to loosen the heavy boots of the Roman Empire from the average citizen’s neck. Lest we forget those who sit in prison, and those who have paid the ultimate price for our opportunity to know the truth: Julian Assange, Lauri Love, Arron Swartz, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Jeremy Hammond, Reality Winner, and others. We see you!

Nelson Mandela comes to mind; he was only one of many who were instrumental in breaking the back of apartheid in South Africa.

These people inspire us with the stories of their lives.

So, how do people become activists?

That’s an excellent question.

When you look at each of these people’s life stories – what it comes down to is that each of them had a front row seat to a particular kind of oppression in their communities. We’ll call that “knowledge.”

Then there’s also another part of this recipe, which is empathy. When you have empathy for people, you understand why we need to stick up for marginalized groups of people – the widow and the orphan, the homeless, the immigrants and the minorities, the people who do the dirty work, the people who get the short end of the stick.

“So activism equals knowledge plus empathy.”

*Ethan The Farmer, Founder GTKYF Foundation Inc

But then there’s one more ingredient – that’s initiative!

It’s too easy to sit aside and let your empathy curdle into bitterness. Activists, however, choose to work for good in grassroots ways, to speak truth to power, and to never settle for broken systems. They embrace that old saying that “It is a great and noble thing to work among the people.”

As they go, they experience a very real synergy – as they advocate for others, they start to feel better about themselves. Activists make a consciousness choice to live their lives with passion and intensity for those who have little or no voice.

Let’s get out there and make a difference together. You don’t have to be world-famous in order to impact your community in a positive way. You just need to have the knowledge, the empathy and the initiative. Go to social.activism.fyi and get involved with people who see the world in many of the same ways that you do – and start on your own goals for the future. Take The BIG Challenge and “Be the Change You want to see in your community.”