Get your thinking cap on: 16 Days of Activism are nearly here!

Hello Dear Reader!

Guess what? The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Violence will be happening late November, so get excited!

What? You haven’t heard of it? Never fear- I’ve got your back.

What is it? 

Well basically, the 16 Days of Activism is a world-wide campaign that connects two important UN observational Days: 25 November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) and 10 December (International Human Rights Day), thus cementing the ideology that women’s rights are human rights and that violence against women is therefore a human rights issue.

Ok, Heidi, but what does one “do” during the 16 days of Activism?

Oh, touché! It’s really about inspiring action to address violence against women, so it will look different for different people, which means there are heaps of innovative opportunities to catalyse change!

Are you a change-maker?

Contributing to social change doesn’t have to be daunting, un-rewarding, all-consuming work (in fact, most activists would argue otherwise)- it’s about following your passion and making a difference!

And guess what!? It really doesn’t take much to make a difference!  Especially this day in age with the help of our dear friend, technology.

So get excited because, I’ve got a butt-load of ideas for you- some are bigger and more time-consuming, others can be super-quick and I’ve also added some medium-effort ideas too! Hopefully, there’s something for everyone.

Alrighty, here we go:

  • Make a donation to a women’s refuge (hot tip: ring them first and ask if there’s anything in particular they really need, or that their clients would appreciate- sometimes they get so inundated with certain items that they actually NEED other stuff and sometimes it can be nice for their clients to get items like Hoyts movie passes or something that will bring a bit of joy and excitement to what can otherwise be a really challenging and traumatic time in their life) you could just donate $ instead if that’s an option for you.
  • FUNdraiser anyone? This is not everyone’s cup of tea, but if fundraising is your jam (or you want to have a crack, cause, why not?) then this could be the strategy for you! You could throw a bake sale and enlist all your colleagues/friends/uni mates/whatevs to bake up some goods! Or you could just hold a morning tea, tell everyone to bring a plate and ask your peeps to drop a few dollars- doesn’t have to be much. Or you could throw a collective garage sale! I’m just free-styling off the top my head here, but you probably have way cooler ideas then me, so get creative!
  • Volunteer! Find a worthwhile cause or organisation to donate your TIME and/or skills to. You will meet new people, learn new things and it will be fun (most-likely, I mean, c’mmon I can’t guarantee that, but it’s my wish for you)!
  • Find your social justice voice! Ok, Heidi, but what the hell does that even mean? Depends! Be creative, follow your instincts and follow your rage (yes- your rage!). What fires you up? What micro-aggressions are you tired of hearing all the time? Think laterally on this one. It will look like different things for different people:

>Maybe for you it’s writing a letter to the editor of the community paper regarding a ridiculously sexist article you can’t believe was published.

>Devastated about the outcome of the American election? Maybe (yes, I am psychic!) you are sick and tired of hearing Donald’s trump bullshit, bullshit, bullshit (said the same way Sarah Marshal would say to the character Russell Brand plays in Forgetting Sarah Marshal) and what it means that people would rather vote for a white supremacist, misogynistic, self-proclaimed sex offender, over a woman. Write a blog post about that crap, or Tweet it out. Maybe you just share an article on Facebook with a bit of a rant in your post. Share your voice!

>Maybe you think of a really clever response to one of those micro-aggressions that is really pissing you off. Keep it up your sleeve for next time you need it.

>If you’ve got a lot of time, a lot of fire and can mobilise the people-power you could even be so bold as to organise a rally or protest. Dream big, yo. Dream big.

>What about a petition? Is there something that really urkes you? Mobilise the peeps! Or just sign one that is already happening that aligns with your concerns. There’s heaps out there. My favourite two places to start are www.fairagenda.org and www.getup.org.au

>Is there any particular legal, policy or program issue that drives you nuts or is super unfair? Write to your local MP. Their job is to represent their local community and their currency is human stories!!

Ok Heidi, you’re definitely getting me excited here, but do you have any ideas for someone just wanting to dip their toes into this whole activism thing? Sure do, sis! Sure do! You could:

  • Like or follow a worthwhile organisation, cause, or public figure. Need ideas? Here are some of my faves (but there are many and this is not a comprehensive list), I have a LOT of favourites because there’s so many people/organisations/causes working to make a difference:

>Everyday Feminism

>Our Watch

>Australian Women Against Violence Alliance

>WESNET

>Clementine Ford

>Tara Moss

>And, sorry for the shameless self-promotion here, but seriously- what kind of blog-post would this be if I didn’t say my own gig- Towards Freedom

  • Learn! (Yusss, I just said “learn!”, I’m a nerd- sue me ;) during the 16 Days Of Activism there will be “Teach-Ins” on Twitter under the hashtag #GBVTeachIn be sure to check them out.
  • Teach! Educate other people in whatever way feels right for you. Maybe you have a crack at blogging, maybe you Vlog, maybe you just Tweet, maybe you talk to people IRL. Choose your own adventure- the world is your oyster!
  • Attend a 16 Days of Activism Event or Activity! I’d post links, but it’s a global event- just google it! There’s usually cool stuff happening near you!!
  • Check if your workplace has a domestic violence policy! If they don’t, consider lobbying for one. This is important shit!

Bottom line? There is something for everyone and there’s no excuse not to contribute one small thing that when multiplied by other small things globally, will make a HUGE difference! Got more ideas? Share them below!

Thanks for sparing some time to read this! I appreciate it :) Now go forth and get excited!

Xx Heidi

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