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Online Activism in 10 Easy Steps

Online Activism in 10 Easy Steps

  • The action-packed summer of 2020 has only brought more protests and marches, but some may be hesitant to attend an in-person event. Here's how you can participate virtually instead.
Online Activism in 10 Easy Steps

Online activism is on the rise because COVID forced us to learn two things very well: life indoors and digital communication. While march organizers have indicated they will maintain social distancing measures during events, many choose to stay home.  And yet, deciding not to march in person doesn’t mean one has to entirely opt-out of engaged activism. 

Recently, I wrote about the upcoming Aug 28 March on Washington, led by civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton and his organization, the National Action Network (NAN).  100,000+ people attended from across the country. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, many would-be protesters may feel wary of traveling and attending an event with thousands of strangers. 

Here are 10 routes you can take to protest:

1. Spread Info About Protests and Causes

Even if you can’t attend the protest, there may be others who can. By promoting the event and related social justice issues on social media, you can encourage others to march and help spread the word. Many social justice movements have gained attention and followers after supporters posted selfies of themselves with activist slogans. When promoting a cause, use official hashtags or social media filters to support the movement.

2. Contact your government leaders.

Draft a letter or direct a tweet to your local, state, or national elected officials to show them your concern about an issue or encourage them to attend an event.  Elected officials are duty-bound to serve their constituents; if enough people reach out, they’ll be more likely to pay attention and act.

3. Sign petitions.

Petitions are a very powerful tool in alerting others to a social justice movement.  As a result, petitions that don’t meet their short-term policy goals carry beneficial long-term effects by strengthening a supporter base. 

4. Fundraise for social justice.

Money is a crucial and often scarce tool in activism, and small donations make a big difference. Start a social media fundraising campaign or donate from your pocket.  When you are ready, look at this list of organizations involved in the Black Lives Matter movement.  

5. Offer or donate protest supplies.

Snacks, water bottles, band-aids: all of these could be a massive help to marchers on protest day.  Out of supplies? Feel free to donate their cost to organizations sponsoring the protest.

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Food and water supplies for protestors in Minsk, Belarus. Source: Alexey Vecherin / Shutterstock.com

Helpful supplies include:

  • Food and water
  • Face Masks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • First aid equipment
  • Sunscreen/bug spray

6. Donate to a bail fund.

Help free protestors from jail by giving funds to the National Bail Fund Network and others across the country.

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7. Offer childcare or transportation.

If you know a parent hoping to attend a protest, offer to watch their kids for the afternoon.  If unable to assist yourself, offer to pay for a babysitter or public transit.

8. Make protest signs.

If you’re wondering how to protest online with an app, we have a suggestion. Protest signs are a crucial part of a march. Furthermore, offering to make signs provides a massive boon for those marchers pressed for time and supplies.  Poster-making apps like WalkWoke or Vanillapen can help you if you’re stuck on ideas or need a boost in your design skills. WalkWoke founders Antonio and Rebecca Altamirano own this site.

Make protest signs
Black Lives Matters protestors hold signs and march. Source: Roman Chazov/Shutterstock

9. Hang a green heart.

The Hang, Your Heart Project, asks supporters to hang a green heart in your window to signal that people of color can find temporary shelter in your home. Providing a safe space for a POC in need is one small step to making your community more inclusive and could make a big difference if a protest gets out of hand.

10. Attend an online protest.

With virtual protests gaining steam in this Zoom era, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to attend one yourself.  From BLM to unemployment rallies, virtual rallies have become a vital tool of social activism in 2020. The NAACP is hosting a virtual event to accompany the in-person Aug 28 Commitment March. Remember to tune in and take part in this historic event!

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