'Tis the season for food comas, giving and joy, yet we can't shake the depressing cloud of injustice swelling from Michael Brown's murder or the sickening, victim-blaming rhetoric that surrounded the rape of 16-year-old Jada earlier this year. As a response, we've rocked the social media mic in digital protest, stomped our feet for Ferguson, signed petitions and even advocated a Black Friday boycott, with a grieving fool’s hope of placing a financial dent in corporations that actively lobby for policies that may adversely affect minority groups.
All we seem to want is massive reform, but what the 2015 Activista needs is practical change. So for the holiday season, let’s rethink what it means to give so that it supports the changes we’d like to see. Let’s start with how we use the power of our purse — not the trendy accessory, but rather the ability to influence a cause by investing in it.
For end-of-year splurgers, instead of closing your wallet on a bargain weekend like Black Friday only to run to those same retailers a few weeks later for your holiday shopping, identify the companies worth your support — from Black-owned businesses to retailers who don't lobby against your interests — and make it a priority to do your future shopping at these establishments.
Furthermore, Activistas, we can take it a step further by working activism into our holiday budget. Alongside necessities and gift shopping, we could carve out a committable amount of either our spending budget or time for a cause in line with our advocacy, and encourage our friends to do the same. Another way you could practice activism during the holidays is by adding a cause to your wish list. Perhaps you’re concerned about domestic violence, or passionate about teaching young girls how to code; instead of stacking your wish list with the latest seasonal fads, include donations to a positive cause of your choosing on your wish list.
Though these efforts may seem like a splinter in the dark, they can be more impactful than you think. Take SEO Scholars, for instance. A $100 donation supports one scholar’s materials for an entire semester. That’s a little bit for an invaluable experience.
Somewhere between holiday fever, retail frenzy and exchanging the hottest items on the market, the spirit of giving was lost. While it is important to sound the alarm against civil injustice, activism also means putting your time, money and actions where your mouth is. And though we can’t all afford year-round philanthropy, making conscious shopping decisions and reintroducing the gift of giving to our holiday wish list can be both a practical and impactful way to start!
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