You might be watching the news or going on social media and seeing all the injustices that are happening in the world and wondering how you can help or what can you do when you are confined and limited to where you can go. We live in very stressful and uncertain times so there is no pressure to be an activist protesting on the street right now but there are still many issues that exist in the world during this pandemic that need to be addressed without putting your health and those around you at risk. Now is the time to care for the community you live in and those around you. Below are just a few ideas to inspire you or get you thinking about how you can still be involved in your community and country during a pandemic.
Before I get into it, I first want to mention that looking after your mental and physical health is really important. You being healthy and following the health authority’s regulations save your life and the lives of those around you.
1. Reach out to family, friends, colleagues, and neighbours
Online connection and phone calls are the only forms of contact that are safe at the moment so you can still check on how people are doing. Some people could be living alone and struggling or even living in unsafe or inhospitable domestic environments. Check that the elderly and immunocompromised that you know are being helped with grocery shopping, picking up medication, etc. Help the people that you know where you can.
2. Keep informed on safety and health regulations and share reliable information for others to be informed too
Share videos on how to make masks, how to clean items, how to wash hands, and also why these procedures help prevent the virus from spreading. The more people understand why they need to follow certain procedures and how it helps, the more likely they will be to follow the precautions. The more informed people are about how dangerous the virus is to everybody, the more responsible they will be.
3. Give financially where you can
Do research on organisations that are helping people out during this pandemic and also organisations that are being forgotten about because of this crisis. You can also help out by asking family and friends that might have lost some work or are struggling to pay bills if they need financial assistance. Even if you do not have a lot to give just remember that even a little bit is better than nothing.
4. Shop intelligently
When you are buying your essentials, consider supporting local and small businesses where you can. Small businesses are being the hardest hit financially from this crisis and bigger, international franchises will still survive this pandemic.
5. Use the internet for activism
A lot of social activism has moved online and this could be an opportunity to connect with other communities that you might not have even thought of connecting with before. Use your time on social media to speak and share with others about issues that you care about and want to see changed in the world. Spend your time online intelligently. Use it for fun and to relax but also to share knowledge and learn.
6. Time for introspection
Use this time to reflect and become aware of whether you are part of some of society’s problems or if you are fighting them. Ask yourself some important questions: What privileges do you have? Do you actively speak to people about issues that concern you? Do you allow people to say, racist, sexist, or homophobic/transphobic things around you? Are you actively unlearning prejudices? Are you really listening to what oppressed and marginalised groups are saying and feeling and changing your behaviour based on that? Use this time to educate yourself on how you can do better.
7. Change habits
Consume less, learn a useful skill or hobby that is helpful to your community, and reduce your carbon footprint by eating less meat…
8. Prepare for life after COVID-19
Familiarise yourself with different organisations and plan how you can be more active and involved in your community.
When elections come up, make sure your voice is heard in the ballot box. We have seen how terrible and inhumane governments have reacted to this crisis with no consideration for the loss of life. Many people become apathetic thinking that their vote does not make a difference but when millions think like that, it does indeed make a big difference.
10. Get involved in the political world
Consider joining a party or creating your own. The world needs more young people to make decisions for the future. Policies should be shaped by young, innovative minds that care for people and not for corporations.
Globally, there are a lot of people protesting in the street for social change such as financial assistance, against police brutality, or against atrocities that their state is committing during this pandemic. Even if you cannot do the same, remember that you can still use your voice to make an impact.
Contributor: Susan April
Susan majored in Film and Television Studies with a specialisation in screenwriting at the University of Cape Town. She loves watching comedy and going for night walks in the summer. She currently lives in Daegu, South Korea where she is an English elementary school teacher.