The current political climate in the United States prompts more and more people to have their voices heard and be a voice for the voiceless. There are many ways to be an activist and people can make big differences when they participate in activism no matter how big or small their actions may appear.
Keeping up with studying, taking test and maintaining an active a social life, may prevent some college students from engaging in activism. Luckily, Pace University is filled with students ready to be activists on campus.
According to the Oxford Dictionaries, the definition of activism is “The policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change.” For Pace students this translates into defending LGBT+ freedoms, environmental awareness issues, and women’s rights.
Freshman Florence, a transgender student who works with the political action committee, is passionate about LGBTQ issues and getting people registered to vote. Florence, who declined to give her last name, stated that her primary form of activism is done through the political action committee with the help of Center for Community Action and Research.
“What we do is we just try to get people registered to vote,” Florence said. She believes that petitioning and signing petitions is a good way to start being an activist.
Junior Timothy Martinez who works with the CCAR, is passionate about environmental issues, while sophomore and Vice President of POWER, the women's empowerment group on campus Tamia Cline is passionate about women’s rights.
While each student has multiple causes they are passionate about, their definitions of active activism were not that different at all. Martinez, stated he perceives an activist as someone who is “keeping up with the times, what's going on in political fields, what’s going on in our world - not just what’s going on in our country.” All of these students agreed that it is pertinent that people stay engaged and know what’s going on in the world around them.
Florence, Martinez and Cline each have their own personal ways to be activist on campus.
Cline participates in the weekly discussions the women's group POWER holds. During these discussions she helps to facilitate discussions about a variety of social justice topics. She also has attended multiple protest and marches around New York; her most recent being the 2018 Women’s March on NYC.
The most subtle way Cline participates in activism is that she is always wearing pins with messages of social justice on them. Whether it be a “Clean Dream Act” or a “Stand with Planned Parenthood” pin, Cline never leaves the house without them. She believes that when people see these pins they spark conversation amongst people that can lead to education.
These students are prime examples of being active activist. For Florence it is not only about being an activist but also about supporting others in their activism. “Don’t tell someone their activism is bad, or they aren’t doing enough...Because that person won't want to know what they can do more.”