How I Became a Female Activist

I’ll never forget that momentㅡsitting in my sunroom after school in my childhood home, bedazzled pink journal in hand. Skimming over my notes from class that day, I was rambling on to my mom about everything I had learned about past presidents of the United States. We had just reached learning about Abraham Lincoln, but I was already looking forward to the female presidents we would soon be discussing in class. 

I announced this to my mom, unable to contain my excitement to learn about some important women. Her dishwashing immediately paused as she turned to look in my direction. 

I was completely and utterly confused after she launched me into reality. How had there never been a female president? Why would a country refuse to elect a woman? This was my first instance of awareness that we live in a society built upon the inequality of sexes. 

Of course this was a gradual increase, but I never had faced this reality until that moment. 

From that moment on, I really never learned to shut up. But that is totally okay! My lack of verbal restraint is a major trait of my personality that I refuse to give up. 

My path of becoming a female activist

Throughout my life, I have created my own platforms to stand on to use my voice to fight for the causes I am passionate about while really trying hard to make a difference in the lives of others. 

In elementary school, I would spend summer after summer at the end of my driveway behind a folding table, yellow balloons galore, handing out ice-cold lemonade to earn funds to donate to the ASPCA

It was during these hot days, sweating profusely under the blazing sun, that I knew I had the potential to make small differences, even as a young girl. Spending a few hours during the day to dedicate time to raising money for a cause is an incredible way to step up to become an activist. In my case, I was able to drive down to the animal shelter with the collected donations and hang with some of the dogs during my visit. 

Lemonade stands aren’t the only way to raise a sum of money either! From my own experience, I found that car washes are another great way to fundraise, as well as bake sales and booths at local festivals. Or maybe you can start a club (high school or college) that focuses on an organization or non-profit. Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island is a great one to work with from my own experience!

Raising my voice

If anyone knew me during high school, they’d know I was never shy of raising my voice and standing up for what I believe in. From bashing Sea World, to preaching for global feminism, all the way to ranting on and on about the dooming effects of climate change. 

Here’s my next tip: you don’t need to raise a monetary value in order to be an activist. Raising your voice, speaking up when others don’t, and sticking to your beliefs and passions is just as empowering. 

You might receive some backlash, potentially from male counterparts in various settings, but do not let that break you down. Stand tall, shoulders strong, and stick to what you believe in. You’re a female bada** after all!

Now that my high school days are over, and I have spent hundreds of hours solely focused on supporting non-profits and preaching social justice, I had to do something else...something potentially even bigger.

Getting to the root of change

Last spring, I started a petition to ban plastic bags in my hometown. The moment I launched the petition, I also sent letters to my local politicians expressing my concerns surrounding climate change and how vital it is for our community to increase efforts to combat such effects. 

Less than a week later, I reached over 500 signatures and it only went up from that moment on. I attended town meetings, publicly spoke on television, and utilized the power of media to spread my message, even being featured from local journalists. 

Earlier last month in middle of November, my hometown of Easton, Massachusetts voted on the ban of plastic bags in retail locations. I can proudly say that the community voted "Yes" and we will soon be plastic bag free! 

Believing in myself

Now, I don’t have much of an academic background in environmental science. I have had experience in natural resource conservation during my collegiate career, but my passion for activism is what really drove my actions. You are never too young, not educated enough, nor too late to raise your voice and demand legislation. 

I went directly to the root to enforce change and in the end I helped not only bring a plastic bag ban to election, but I also encouraged it to be passed. And that, I think, is pretty cool.

My third grade self could have decided to accept the ever-present prevalence of the lack of female leadership and chosen to stay quiet. But, I didn’t. And even if you haven’t chosen to raise your voice about what you believe in yetㅡit’s never too late. 

I do believe that someday we will have a female president of the United States. I do believe that we can try harder to support local causes and non-profit organizations that need a bit more attention. I do believe that we can unite to create global change to help reduce the impending, detrimental damages upon our planet. I do believe that if you devote a little time, speak your mind, and raise your voice, you too can be a female activist. 

So go to your town hall, walk straight up to the state house. Raise your hand in class to argue your position, and don’t let anyone make you think twice about your intentions. I can’t wait to hear about all you’re going to do. 

All images courtesy of the author.