The Meaning of Activism: A Guest Piece by Samantha Hawkins
How many times do you have to be reminded by the adults in your home or at your school to use your "indoor voice" indoors? If you are a spunky, curious, and precocious kid, such as I was growing up, then you probably often wonder to yourself if there is ever a good time to use your "outside voice?" Well, there is! Sometimes, using your outside voice can help someone else, even someone who might not look like you do. Sometimes, using your outside voice can help change the world. That is precisely what it means to be an “activist.” Activism is defined as “any efforts or direct action to bring about social or political change or achieve a specific social or political goal.” That’s a lot of fancy schmancy words. If you ask me to tell you what activism is though, I like to simply say that activism is "making noise," making a “great big fuss,” and using your "outside voice" to make others aware about something that needs to change, or about someone that is being mistreated. Activism is speaking up about something that is wrong in the world, in order to make it a better, safer, and more equal place for everyone.
My children's picture book, "My Mummy Marches," is a story dedicated to all the activists who have come before us, who marched and made a fuss and made noise! It is also a love letter to every activist in the making! No matter what age they are! Written from the perspective of a young girl who watches her mother march for social justice and equality in the world they live in, this book will inspire you to want to be brave and bold in your own skin. It will inspire you to want to march too for the change you want to see happen in the world you live in. Because you are never too young to change the world for the better. “My Mummy Marches” is a book about standing up for what you believe in. Just like the little girl in my story, she realizes that marching for justice isn’t that hard to do. Anyone can do it! LEFT FOOT, RIGHT FOOT, LEFT FOOT, RIGHT FOOT…She watches her mum march through sunshine and snow, sometimes hand-in-hand with others walking beside her, and sometimes alone.
Activism is also compassion and kindness in action. It is taking your biggest hopes, and dreams, and positive, happy thoughts for the world and combining it with your feet. It is writing letters, shouting from the rooftop, making phone calls, making signs, and just creating a fuss. Activism is an attitude and a mindset of wanting to see a orld where little boys and girls, just like you, are free to be happy, and grow up, and be treated with kindness and respect. No matter how differently they look, dress, talk, or wear their hair, or how different their family might look to other kids’ families. One of my biggest goals in this life is to help spread the word that no one is too young to be a social justice warrior. If you see something wrong taking place, SAY SOMETHING! If someone isn't being fair to the next person, SAY SOMETHING! If someone is judging someone else just because they look different or they act different, SAY SOMETHING! If there is a problem in this world that needs fixing, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Find out what you can do to help fix it or help make others aware of it. You may not be the problem, but if you do nothing to help solve the problem, then you are not being a responsible social justice warrior. You can do that at any age too… Your voice is a beautiful thing. Use it to help others.
The bravest, boldest, most amazing thing you can ever do is to get really loud when you see something happening that is wrong or unfair or just plain mean, because that's the first step to making a change. So, I have a question to ask you? What kind of world do you want to see when you grow up to be an adult? Do you want to see people being happy and free and feeling proud of who they are? Well, now I have a second question for you. "What are you going to do about it?" Right now, you can change the world! Yes, you can start right now, right where you are! We all can do our part to make the world nicer from the inside out.
My Mummy Marches (Lantana Publishing) is available to buy here and in all good bookshops.