Sunday, November 29, 2009

So you want to be an Activist? Me too!

1. Find Your Passion!
Your passion is the only thing that will carry you through the rough patches. Try to think of five things you would like to improve or change. Start with things about yourself. Then about your school. Your community? Your country? The world? After you have a master list, try to figure out the ones that are most important to you, whether it's animal rights, the school dress code etc. Now get a couple of close friends, family, etc. to start it out.

2. Get Organized!
One of the first things that the core committee does every year is schedule a meeting time and place. SCHEDULE A MEETING! Places to hold a meeting:
Public Library
Someone's House
The Park
Municipal/Community Building
Teen Center
Coffee Shop/Cafe

3. Spread the word. Publicity methods include:

Fliers: Create a flier that lists the name of your organization, time/date you meet, where and what exactly your organization does. Hang the fliers around school, the neighborhood (but first check to see if there are city codes about where public info is allowed, you don't want to risk a fine), community bulletin boards, inside coffee shops or cafes, etc.

Table-sit: See if you can rent a table, either in school or somewhere local, like outside of the supermarket or in the park. Have a sign-up list, info about your organization and colorful posters to attract people (free stuff isn't a bad idea either).

Use the Web: There are a ton of great websites dedicated to getting people to volunteer.

4. Introduce Yourself: The absolute best way to get people interested in your cause is through face-to-face contact. A person is more likely to respond if they feel like they're wanted and needed in a group. The person can ask questions and get more information. So don't hesitate to walk up to the girl reading a magazine in the coffee shop--she might be looking for the group you're starting.

5. Get Ready for Action
Start dividing groups into committees, a basic breakdown of committees are:

*Public Relations: This committee does all of the canvassing, especially right before the event. They also handle the ads that appear in campus papers and make sure we get the word out about our event. They book tables for table sitting and help create banners and posters to hang throughout the campus, school, stores etc.

*Outreach: This committee is in charge of reaching out to other organizations and talking about the event. Asking them to come to the march and support us.

*Rally: This committee finds the performers, makes sure they're there on time, gets bios to read before they go on, and organizes a schedule.

*March: In order to march, you need a city permit saying that you have their permission. This committee gets the paperwork for the city, organizes the police force, gets chant sheets prepared, and keeps the marcher in line and moving, and provides support personnel for marchers who provide crowd control, hydration, assistance to marchers, and basic security.

*Speakout: Here women and men can speak out about their own personal experiences. This committee must make sure the stage is set-up with a microphone, get candles, supply paper and pen for those who can't speak and work with the police to make sure the area is safe.
What really makes a difference is doing something and supporting a cause that you feel very strongly about!

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