How to Transform Performative Activism into Positive Change

By Imaan Chaudhry

It is so easy to passively contribute to a cause, with one re-post, infographic, or mention. However, although it might teach you something, it is not actively aiding the cause or helping the marginalized communities you are fighting for.

1. Stay informed about your community and local protests/rallies:

If you see or hear any type of local protest, event, rally, or fundraising effort that you know your followers would be interested in as it is close by and accessible, Share it. That way many who would have otherwise been uninformed about these types of events will have a chance to attend. These individuals are also able to spread the news forward to their circle and so forth.

Pew Research Center conducted a survey in June 2020, which showed that 54% of social media users aged 18 to 29 said that they "used social media platforms in the last month to look for information about rallies or protests happening in their area."

How can I find out about these events to share?

A lot of the time, these events are word of mouth, so if you see others in your feed talking/sharing about these events, spread the word, even if it is something you are not interested in as others certainly will.

Additionally, Online resources like Facebook and Twitter (search "protest", "march for," or "car caravan" under Events and follow local organizations) can make it easy to get involved and take the first steps when it comes to creating real change and getting a community interested.

If you have the skills and interest, organize your own event and utilize your followers and their followers as a means of spreading the news!

2. Stay up to date with local organizations:

There are so many youth and non-partisan organizations in your area that are actively having virtual and in-person events all about raising awareness, support, and change. Do a little research and follow them to stay connected about what is going on in your community and when you can get involved.

3. Be Conscious of how you spend your money

A lot of companies are quite shady, which is often ignored as people choose not to think about the integrity of a brand.

Do a little research and start thinking about the values of the brand you support. Many brands are often very publicly supporting things and people you are against, yet most people choose to ignore it as they love the product. For example, Chick-Fila has a long history of giving money to charities that are Anti-LGBTQ. Brands know that the masses will not care as long as the product is a favorite so they get away with it. If a brand loses enough profits, it will be forced to make a change and support organizations that reflect its customers’ values.

You can also look into supporting small businesses of marginalized communities instead of big corporations.

Or, for example, if you are against practices such as child labor, overconsumption, or climate change, consider purchasing fewer products from retailers and only the goods you will use.

4. Stay informed on your own accord

Do not just look at Instagram posts meant to shock you for information and news. Stay up to date with what is going on in the world and take the time to understand the history of decades, and sometimes even centuries, long issues. Doing this ensures you are developing your own opinion and knowledge and genuinely care for an issue beyond the “popularity” on social media.

5. Have conversations with others

Instead of just re-posting information, take the time to talk to your friends and family about the information you have researched and learned and what is going on in the world. It is a perfect chance to hear other people’s perspectives and let them know about something they had no idea about. It is also a great way to normalize staying educated and open about the world outside of one’s bubble.