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3 Reasons You Should NOT be an Activist
We want your help, but if any of the following 3 points describe you, you're better off not getting involved!
You plan to advocate for larger cages or other mere “welfare improvements” for exploited animals
You believe that only some sentient beings deserve justice
Your primary concern is for the livelihood of animal abusers or the economic ease of corporations that harm animals, like Maple Leaf Foods, Costco, or Olymel.
Here's who we really need.
People who want to do more than quit buying cruelty-based products
People who want to influence and be heard
But you may still be thinking...
“How can I actually make a difference? Especially against such a massive, systemic problem?”
A common misconception about social change is that if a problem is too deeply habituated and invested in by society, major change is unrealistic. History shows us this is untrue. Place yourself in 1955, and consider how bleak the Civil Rights movement appears:
A fourteen year-old black boy named Emmett Till has just been abducted, savagely beaten, and fatally shot by two white men in retaliation over the boy having allegedly whistled at a white woman. The two men are acquitted by an all-white jury and go on to boast about the murder in a popular magazine. Fighting for African American rights looks hopeless.
A year later, Rosa Parks, in a defiant act of civil disobedience, famously refuses to give up her bus seat to a white passenger. Her defiance inspires similar actions across the country. Protesters hold rallies and more acts of civil disobedience. All the while, they are being told by their own people that the problem is too big, and their protests will accomplish nothing.
Just eight years after Rosa Parks holds her her ground on that bus, the Civil Rights Act passes. 2009, Barack Obama is sworn in as President of the United States.
While there is still work to be done in the African American rights effort, one cannot refute that drastic social change has occurred within the span of one lifetime.
“How can I be an activist without pushing people away”
Fear of counter-productivity is an unfounded but common attitude. Industries, governments, and biased members of the public have popularized an idea that offending others through activism will result in a movement-wide setback. However, when analyzing what has worked for other movements, it is clear that the success of social change is achieved by aggressively generating attention and momentum, without expectation of immediate receptivity.
An example of this is the backlash received during an illegal sit-in at a whites-only café during the civil rights movement. As activists carried out the action, they were condemned by a black waitress who famously told the group “you make black people look bad.”
Despite the condemnation, similar sit-in actions began to occur nationwide, making headlines, and generating a newfound passion within the movement. Even while the majority of activists were being criticized for their methods, they were forcing the topic into mainstream dialogue which ultimately put the country in a position where they had to seriously confront the issue that they had been ignoring for a very long time.
If we show the world the hard truth about speciesism, we are bound to cause offence and discomfort, but the truth is the path to effective change.
If you find yourself in a position where activism seems problematic because of your career or your public image, keep in mind that it is a basic human right to have a voice, and part of your activism can include fighting for your own right to stand up for what you believe in. Whatever might be holding you back, there is always a way to get involved. Check out some of the roles listed below to see where you might best fit in!
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