As technology and the advancement of social media have opened up new ways for people to hold conversations, and receive and share the news with one another, social justice is becoming more of a part of our everyday conversation.
And there is no better time to consider the variety of social justice movements than December, which is also Universal Human Rights Month. Universal Human Rights Month honors the United Nation’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that outlines basic rights and fundamental freedoms for all human beings.
Some organizations that support human rights throughout the world include Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Innocence Project, and Outright Action International. For more, read our blog "9 Social Justice Organizations to Know in NYC."
December is also tied to the coming of the new year – and is traditionally a time to reflect all different aspects of your life and consider how a resolution can be applied to improve yourself or your contribution to the world around you. A new year is a perfect time to make a fresh start and to recognize how one person can have the power to make a big difference in their community.
If Human Rights Month or the impending New Year’s celebration is leading you to consider making the world a better place, we have put together some ways to promote social justice in your community.
1. Consider your interests
The term ‘social justice’ encompasses an enormous number and variety of organizations, each dedicated to improving the fortunes of someone, somewhere. Figure out which movement moves you! Are you interested in improving the lives of the homeless, of disadvantaged children, of immigrants, or of people who have been stricken with a particular illness? There are a wide variety of organizations working to help different groups of people, many with offices here in NYC.
2. Educate yourself
Once you have decided on a focus, do all the research you can to educate yourself on the subject. Draw information from a wide variety of sources – newspapers, online articles, documentary films, and the websites of various social justice organizations can provide a valuable foundation for learning about a particular cause. A thorough understanding of the issue is a critical first step in taking action to promote social justice.
3. Reach out to legislators
One way that you can make your voice heard, without the need to organize a complete movement, is to reach out to your representatives and legislators. Elected officials can be reached by phone, letter or email, and informing them of your values and opinions is an important way to ensure that those opinions are represented where they can affect legislation and policy.
In the video presented below by Amnesty International, activists from around the country give tips on how to best present yourself while making your voice heard:
Giving your time and effort can be an engine for transformative change in your community. Services like VolunteerMatch help people to find opportunities to volunteer in their community, based on their area of interest and the time they have available to contribute. Regardless of your skills and interests, and the amount of time you can spare, there is a volunteer opportunity for you!
Volunteering and campaigning are excellent ways to support a social justice movement, however, as any non-profit worker can tell you, donations are always welcome! Even a small donation can go a long way toward supporting a cause, and making a difference. Spare what you can, and check with your company – many companies offer matching donations to qualified 510(c)(3) charitable organizations.
As Universal Human Rights Month winds down, and 2019 approaches, think about how your particular talents, skills and time could go to better use – improving your community, and the world around you. For more ideas on how to promote social justice, to get involved and make a difference, check NYXT.
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