Fighting for a cause. Being an activist. Overcoming racism.
All the above seem like daunting tasks that require involvement in rallies, heavy debates, and seminars. That may be true, but the workshop “Finding Your Inner Activist” seeks to challenge the boundaries we may have unconsciously set when it comes to being an activist. It challenges us to think outside the box — because really, there is no box.
Facilitator and senior student Chantelle Yazzie voiced that being an activist does not begin when you fight the big war, but it begins when you fight the small battles. As a Native American, she mentioned how simply wearing her culture on her sleeve, and informing her professors to include her culture when speaking on relevant topics, could inform and educate the people around her – and that is part and parcel of her being an activist, actively championing her passion for her culture.
The workshop explored three videos that demonstrated unconventional approaches towards activism. Each video presented an important issue that needed to be addressed — such as racism and exploitation of the poor — but did so by incorporating sarcasm, humor, entertainment, and even children. As dean of multicultural student development, Christina Edmondston facilitated discussions about the videos. It was clear that such unconventional approaches were effective as they drew favorable responses. Traditional means of protest, as powerful as they are, aren’t the only ways to get to your end goal. Be creative.
That was precisely what we did when we broke into groups to share our passions and devise creative strategies to approach an issue relating to our passions. Clearly, we as participants had something valuable to bring home (and I’m not talking about the certificates) as ideas and strategies such as the use of mobile apps and photography series were presented.
The label “activist” sometimes carries a heavy burden because of what we conceive it to be. We refuse to take a huge leap of commitment because we are afraid. I thought so too. Yet, through this workshop, I am reminded that I do not have to leap across, I simply have to dig deep.
I found my inner activist. It was within me all along.