Everyone can be a civil and human rights advocate and help to build greater support for the protection of every person’s rights.
Here are just a few ways to get involved.
1. Learn more about the history of civil rights and human rights. The story of the United States is one of ongoing struggles to make a more perfect Union – with many successes and many setbacks as well. There are courses on American history, the history of various justice movements, and politics that you can take. Libraries and book stories remain good sources for learning more.
2. Start a civil and human rights book club. Make your education fun by reading books about the history of civil rights and human rights with a group of friends or colleagues who are also interested in learning more. That way you have people with whom you can discuss what you’re learning.
3. Volunteer with organizations and programs that are working to eradicate injustice and discrimination in your communities. Local community-based organizations and service organizations are always looking for volunteers to help with their work. Visit VolunteerMatch.org to find opportunities in your neighborhood
4. Start a program or join a cause in your school or college. One of the best ways to learn how to become an advocate is to join a group or start a program with other likeminded students. Check with a teacher or advisor on the best way to do this.
5. Become a mentor/tutor. Most of us have young people in our lives about whom we care deeply and who look up to us. Some of us are already parents, aunts or uncles, or grandparents. Talk to them about civil and human rights and the importance of equal justice for all. Sometimes our greatest impact can be at home with loved ones or in our communities with neighbors.
6. Be willing to speak up when friends or family members use stereotypes or disparaging words to describe a racial or ethnic minority. By addressing the issue calmly and directly and pointing out that no community of people is monolithic or that the words they are using are very harmful you will at least present them with another point of view.
7. Consider a career in public service. Work in a field dedicated to making the United States and the world a more just place. Idealist.org is the best job search site for social justice-minded people who want to make a difference.