How to Remain an Advocate When Going Back to Class
July 06, 2020
During the last few months people have been more openly advocating for marginalized groups and this is something we need to continue doing when life goes back to “normal.”
The last months—particularly the last four weeks—have presented us with a larger number of advocates for different marginalized groups. The current events happening all over the world have pushed more and more people to become vocal on topics and issues that need more attention. Many have spoken, tweeted, and shared posts regarding the Black Lives Matter movement. Others have posted about Pride Month and the LGBTQ+ Community. For some reason, this year has made more individuals want to educate themselves and help when they could.
Maybe quarantine gave them the opportunity to research, learn, and pay attention. Whatever the case may have been, we can say there is a bigger support for causes that are usually underrepresented and underrated. But we have also seen—mostly on social media—comments on how people are also starting to let go of these issues and moving on to other things as if the fight for equality and basic human rights was over. This is not the case! The fight is in no way over and we need to continue working and advocating for minorities.
There is a strong fear that people will forget about these issues when returning to class. We have seen the younger generations being the loudest advocates and I believe that will encourage everyone to continue speaking up even when we go back to “normal." But how can you remain an advocate when going back to class? How can you continue to shed light on important topics? How can you continue to help? Here are a few ideas to help you remain an advocate when going back to class and also encourage others to join you:
- Stand by your classmates who belong to minority groups when you see them dealing with injustices.
- Create support groups to encourage people with similar ethnic, cultural or religious backgrounds to connect.
- Open the discussion to have more professors of color and queer.
- Talk to your teachers to expand their curriculums to talk about terms, events, or issues that are usually left aside.
- Continue to post different resources such as petitions and funds on your social media accounts.
- Establish dialogues with teachers, classmates, and family members to educate each other and change racist, homophobic, and hateful views.
These are a few ideas on how to continue advocating. The most important thing you can do is keep an ongoing discussion on relevant topics to continue to educate yourself and those around you. The worst thing we could do is remain silent in times like the one we are experiencing. Life will not be “normal" again, but it will be expected of us to go back to school or work and pretend everything is “normal." When doing this, we have to remember our life is not the same anymore and we need to keep fighting for a better way of living for everybody.
If you feel like the people around you have stopped advocating for minorities or shedding light on important topics, remind them the fight is not over. Remind them it is necessary to continue speaking up for those who cannot and to create a platform for those who otherwise would not have the opportunity to express themselves. As an advocate, you can help by uplifting those with the knowledge and the experience to speak on the current issues. We do not always need to talk about ourselves, we can help raise the voices of those who should be heard.
Being an advocate is not something that you simply stop doing. You can continue to do the work wherever you are. In your classroom, at home, or in the office, you can always make sure the people you know are educating themselves and helping when and how they can.
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