10 simple ways to be an activist, even when you’re really busy

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I stood in line at Bayfront Park on Saturday around noon with my six-year-old son and about 10 friends. For a moment I just stood there taking it all in. There were thousands of people in front of us and behind us. There was a palpable, beautiful energy of coming together, of hope, love and fierce action. This is the Miami I always hoped was there.

I’m a Libra through and through. Since I was a little girl, I’ve taken those scales of justice very seriously. It was almost like I felt injustice too deeply and I was called to act, even before I knew what exactly “act” would mean for me.

My activism started 10 years ago. I was living in New York City and I decided that was the year I would stop just talking about what I was passionate about and really do something. I chose the issue that was closest to my heart: women’s rights. I signed up for Planned Parenthood of New York City’s Activist Council and I spent evenings and weekends volunteering all over town.

Today I live in Miami and my life and my activism look very different. I’m an entrepreneur and a mom and time is more limited. I’m on the board of New Leaders Council Miami, an organization dedicated to training local, progressive leaders. Through my work, I also take on projects to craft communications strategies for mission-driven efforts.

On Saturday, I saw that desire to act all around me.

The constant refrain was “This is so amazing! What’s next?”

To say that I’m outraged and horrified about the current political climate in this country is an understatement. But I don’t want to waste time complaining about it. I want to use my energy and my limited time to act and help others act.

If your goal is keep activism alive in your life, even with limited time, there are small steps you can take to preserve progressive values and justice, especially locally.

  • Tip No. 1: Add the organization of your choice to Amazon Smile so that there is a donation every time you make a purchase.
  • Tip No. 2: Set up regular donations to local organizations you care about. Some suggestions: American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida, BMe Community, Miami Workers Center, SEIU Florida, Climate Alliance, ProPublica, New Florida Majority.
  • Tip No. 3: Save the number for your representatives on your phone (really!). When big issues come up, making a call literally takes one minute and it’s one of the most effective ways to reach Congress. Join We The People Talk to Congress for a quick script every week.
    • Sen. Marco Rubio: 202-224-3041
    • Sen. Bill Nelson: 202-224-5274
    • Rep. Carlos Curbelo: (202) 225-2778
    • Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: (202) 225-3931
    • Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz: (202) 225-7931
    • Rep. Frederica Wilson: (202) 225-4506
    • Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart: (202) 225-4211
  • Tip No. 4: Stay on top of what’s going on with local and state  representatives too. They impact your life more than you may realize. I do it through following The New Tropic (Editor’s note: We didn’t make her say that!) and Engage Miami’s newsletters. Call elected officials, tweet at them, show up at meetings.
  • Tip No. 5: Counter the hate and division in the current President’s rhetoric with being really, really kind, especially to people who look different than you. Whenever possible, support people of color with your voice and your business – especially women.
  • Tip No. 6: Demand that politicians across all levels stop representing corporations and start representing you. Contact representatives and call them out when you see them representing corporate interests. Support and vote those fighting for causes you believe in. This is the only way the political system will change.
  • Tip No. 7: Support investigative journalism. Remind yourself that the truth is a real thing that should be preserved.
  • Tip No. 8: Talk to children and young people about science, ethics, and being a good citizen. Give them books, magazines, and good sources to follow online.
  • Tip No. 9: Vote always…even in local elections.
  • Tip No. 10: Follow and join organizations gathering people that care about civic engagement, like WMN Younger Women’s Taskforce and Engage Miami. Both have in-person meetings if you want to attend!

There were more than 10,000 people there on Saturday and countless Miamians who were there in spirit. Make sure to get counted if you were there.

Imagine the impact if every one of us made activism a steady part of our lives.

What are you gonna do next?