Anything you do for the betterment of your community in which you live, in which you work, in which you reside, in which you dance, in which you play and in which you walk, that is activism. And different people do different levels of it. And if everybody did a little bit, we wouldn’t need everyone to do a lot. Sometimes it’s recycling. Sometimes it’s sending your clothes to people who need it. Sometimes it’s helping kids with their homework at the local community center.
Staceyann Chin, Equality, Fall 2009
It’s been coming up a lot lately (around and in me), thoughts (arguments) on what constitutes “activism”–being a socially-conscious person, being someone who “makes a difference”. Whether it’s the dichotomy between “‘just’ theory” and “’just’ action” or which types of action are “better” than others, most of the time it’s brought up is when a proponent of one particular method is espousing the virtues of said method as superior to others. Chin’s definition of activism–even if the examples smack a bit of prioritizing so-called “action” over “theory”–is a welcome attempt to acknowledge multiple ways of expressing and being socially-conscious, and the importance of all of them within a larger context. This acknowledgment–this way of thinking that is not dichotomous or competitive–is itself a progressive “act”.
For me, it’s also about what you’re CALLED to do–if you are passionate about something, and if you believe that what you are called to do will increase harmony and peace, even if “just” within yourself–THAT is where it’s at.