The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Want to get involved in politics but have no idea where to start? I’m here to provide some advice that I have acquired through my own experiences in activism. This article will provide you with organizations to follow as well as teach you how to contact representatives, how to get involved, how to vote, and more!
Remember, these four steps are just my own pieces of advice based on my own experience as an activist! There are hundreds of ways to be an activist in this country and to share your voice, so never limit yourself to these four options! This is merely a guide for those who want to start getting more involved.
Step one: Contact your representatives!
Contacting your representatives is an essential part of activism and a great way to hold representatives accountable for change. If you visit your state government’s website (ex: see the state of Michigan’s website here) or the official Congress website, you will be able to see which representatives are representing YOU. Remember, their job is to make sure that they are serving the people, so communicating your concerns with them is highly important! If you have anxiety over the phone or even in an email, I suggest using the following script:
“My name is (your name) and I am (a student, a concerned citizen, your constituent, etc.). I am contacting you today to express an immediate need for your support on (state the issue you are inquiring about). It is important to me that (your state) has support on this issue because (say why the issue is important to you!). We need immediate action, and your support is vital in instating change. Remember, you represent this (state, county, district, etc.) and it is my job to hold you accountable. I will remember your actions in the next election. Thank you for your time and consideration.”
This script is merely a suggestion! Feel free to express your opinions in any way that you feel is appropriate. The goal is simply to communicate how you feel and how important it is to solve an issue, whether that be LGBTQ rights, climate change, gun control, etc.
Step two: Get involved!
If you’re concerned about a particular issue, there is bound to be an organization you can join. Here are some examples of organizations that are always looking for support on various issues:
The Trevor Project: If you’re passionate about LGBTQ+ rights and equality, the Trevor Project is for you. The Trevor Project focusing on helping LGBTQ+ youth. There are many ways to get involved, and if you visit this link you’ll find many volunteer opportunities and they are always looking for passionate volunteers to help out at community events. If you have a good experience as a volunteer, you may even be interested in some of the career opportunities they have to offer as well.
March For Our Lives: If you’re passionate about gun control, check out March For Our Lives. They have many chapters across the nation at different schools and communities, so check to see how you can get involved in your own community. If your school doesn’t have a chapter, start one! Their website has information on these chapters, but also information on volunteer opportunities. March For Our Lives is known for their powerful marches and rallies, so check out their event page to see which ones you can attend. There is power in numbers, so even if you don’t volunteer or participate in a local/school wide chapter, you can still make a difference by simply showing up to a march.
Planned Parenthood: Planned Parenthood is an amazing organization to get involved with if you are passionate about preserving reproductive freedoms. Not only do they offer volunteering opportunities, but also career opportunities. Click here for a list that will provide all the information you need to get started and visit here to sign up!
Women’s March: Women’s March is another great organization that supports reproductive rights and women’s rights! Similar to Planned Parenthood, they support reproductive freedom, but they also focus on a multitude of issues such as equal pay, ending white supremacy, and putting an end to sexism in all forms. Their website will show you both volunteer opportunities and events you can attend. Again, there is power in numbers. If you can’t volunteer, they are always hosting events across the nation! Their social media platforms are also listed on their website, so follow them to keep up with events near you.
Fridays For Future: Climate Change is an issue that’s important to many, and it’s important now more than ever to fight for change! Fridays For Future is an amazing youth-led organization that will provide you with information on how YOU can take action against the climate crisis. Their website provides a multitude of informational articles, volunteer opportunities, petitions, and more that will help any climate activist get started!
These are only a few of the many organizations that have opportunities to make change. If the issue you care about isn’t listed above, don’t worry! A simple Google search will lead you to an organization that supports your beliefs. It’s easy to find ways to get involved; it only takes a few clicks in the right direction. These are also only a few of the many amazing organizations that help important issues. There’s no such thing as getting too involved! Continue to look for an organization that is the best fit for you and go from there. Universities tend to have clubs and groups centered around political issues as well, so if you’re not interested in a national organization, check out what your school has to offer!
Step three: Spread the word!
My journey as an activist started on social media and so can yours. In this day and age, social media is prevalent in all that we do. If you’re not ready to volunteer, attend marches, or even contact your representatives, that’s okay! Simply spreading the word on your social media accounts can help inform your peers and spread awareness to the things you care about. Even if you have a private account, encouraging others to take action is always an important step in activism. Reposting fact-checked articles or infographics can help others understand what’s going on in the world. Not everyone is aware of the social and political climate, so it’s important to educate them if you want to help make a difference. A tip of mine is to encourage others to vote: At the end of the day, voting for lawmakers who are going to enact change in this world is what’s going to make the biggest difference in our nation.
Step four: Vote!
Is all this a little too overwhelming? No worries. Activism can be daunting, and it’s important to take care of your mental health as you navigate this world. At the end of the day, voting may be, arguably, the most important step in activism. Showing up to polls is where change happens in not only Washington D.C., but in your own state and communities. If you are passionate about an issue, look for the candidates who have similar beliefs, and show your support by voting for them! For example, if you want to improve the education system, vote for someone who promises to pass laws that will make a difference in schools. Make sure you do your research on each candidate and vote for who you think will best represent you. Your vote matters. Never let someone else tell you that your vote will mean nothing, because showing up to the polls is one of the most important civic duties an American citizen has. Remember to check your state’s laws on voting by visiting your state’s official website or a website like Vote America to see if you’re ready to hit the polls! If you aren’t able to attend the polls on Election Day, filling out an absentee ballot is super easy and free. I don’t like waiting in long lines, so I’ve done an absentee ballot every election since I was 18. Vote America will provide you with all the information you need on voting. If it’s your first time voting, don’t worry! There are so many outlets that are there to assist you, and never hesitate to ask family or friends that have voted before for their guidance. Plus, you get a fun “I Voted!” sticker if you show up to the polls. If voting for what you’re passionate about and then receiving a sticker isn’t enough motivation to go vote, I’m not sure what is.
Remember, this article is merely a guide and there are many other ways to get involved if you prefer other options or if you’re looking for more steps outside of what I have provided here. Regardless, I hope that these four pieces of advice help you to become involved in political activism!