Social activism is an intentional action with the goal of bringing about social change. If you feel strongly about a cause and are working towards a change, you could be considered an activist. An activist is anyone who is fighting for change in society.
An activist can be a community member attending a rally in support of a local fairness ordinance. It can also be a student organizing a sit-in for the Black Lives Matter movement, or perhaps a politician fighting to preserve climate change legislation. Social activists direct their efforts towards systems level issues. They explore ways to combat injustices in order to strengthen the collective health of a community.
While social service organizations work to address the needs of individuals, social activists focus more at the root causes of those needs while trying to find ways to eliminate the causes. For example, rather than working directly with evicted tenants, a social activist might work to adopt a local ordinance for a residential landlord/tenant act. Instead of serving in a clinic that sees a high incidence of cancers, the social activist works to uncover the source of cancer-causing agents and seek accountability of responsible party through litigation.
If we define social justice as the belief in an equitable, compassionate world where difference is understood, valued and respected, then we can see that social activism and social justice go hand in hand. Social activism is a way to meet the goal of social justice.
WKU's Center for Citizemship and Social Justice serves as a resource for helping students find ways to get involved with the causes they care about the most. In recent years, WKU CCSJ has partnered with students, faculty, staff, community organizers, and citizens in various capacities to promote social justice causes. Check out some of the events, marches, and rallies that CCSJ has participated in below:
Women's March in Washington D.C.
Bowling Green Pride Festival
KY 120 Rally for Higher Education at WKU's Campus
Rally for Education at the State Capitol in Frankfort, KY
March for Our Lives - Bowling Green