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Activism is the drive to move forward despite the non-support of other people. It’s a stance that shouts “Nothings off limits;” it’s defiance in the face of opposition, and the courage to say “game’s up.”

Widespread, overarching change has always come at a personal cost – but unfortunately, the majority of folks are too comfortable being comfortable to venture forth into the unknown – to risk reputation, the backlash of their peers, and individual pain. Courage catapults us out of our fears into the realm of unrealized possibility. A spineless, repetitive, uninspired existence may be painless, but ultimately unproductive in terms of major achievement.

The above begs the question: How to be more of an activist in your everyday world, in your small corner of the universe? Change involves the will to be contrary and TO TAKE A STAND. Goliaths exist because no one challenges their dominance and people don’t push back against oppression. Instead of behaving as a mindless sheep, try expressing your viewpoint.

Activism is not however a single cataclysmic event that disrupts the status quo, but rather a daily commitment, an act of will to work toward a desired goal. It’s a mindset that proclaims “I will keep moving forward, regardless of the aftermath.” We (as a nation) stand on the backs of those who risked their lives for a better future, who sacrificed, and who threw caution to the wind. They were unafraid to confront abuse and name it, to take on the powers that be, and to decide on a course of action. They were the front runners in a race to a more humane society.

If enough people opened their mouths in the face of injustice, bullying would cease to exist. The organizational weasels, snakes, and jerks would crawl back into their corporate lair. Better yet, many of them would not see the light of day. Tolerance of small abuses leads to living with larger ones, and with the palliative of groupthink for the masses – whether in a nation state or in a single meeting.

Being committed to a course of action that eradicates abuse takes persistence – each day doing something to expose ugliness for what it is –e.g., supporting a frightened colleague (one who is incapable of defending him or herself), promoting awareness, and talking to the media. Today, take a chance and risk discomfort. The future is depending on you.

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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