Social justice movements are the foundation from which we are able to build a peaceful world. However, honoring and upholding the principles these movements promote in our own lives can sometimes leave us at a loss. This can prove especially true for those who command the biggest audiences, namely, actors. As the saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Yet, just because success is earned and power is attained, doesn’t mean that it’s any easier to make sense of the complexities of society. Simply put, having a voice doesn’t necessarily mean that you know the best way to use it. But in today’s climate, it’s essential to learn the most effective methods for supporting important social justice movements. To help out, we’ve created a list of the 3 best ways you can help advance social justice on a daily basis.
Actors usually earn a platform from their talents and entertaining abilities. While well-deserved, this does not automatically make someone an expert on social justice. It’s very important to remain open to new ideas and seek out as many educational opportunities as possible. Others have spent years if not lifetimes on their chosen cause. Acknowledging their expertise and sacrifice will go a long way.
Listening and learning also helps prevent you from making unfavorable decisions. There are countless examples of actors backtracking their support for movements after controversies come into light. Before picking up your megaphone, ensure that you are as well-informed as possible.
While it may seem obvious, people often forget that one of the most valuable commodities we can offer up is our time. There’s no better way to show that you’re committed to a cause than voluntarily spending your limited free time furthering that movement. Money is useful and always needed, but without volunteers, nothing would ever progress.
As actors, volunteering opportunities can occasionally feel like a bit of trap for two reasons.
1) It could appear unauthentic, only being done as a publicity stunt.
2) The accompanying fear that your presence may turn the event into a photo-op session for fans and distract from the important work at hand.
These are very valid concerns but are also easy to combat. Primarily, the more often you choose to volunteer your time, the less likely that your charitable efforts could be labeled as a publicity stunt. This doesn't mean you have to spend every waking moment attending events and campaigns, but consistently putting in a few hours here and there is the best way to make a sustainable difference. Should your level of fame become a distraction at the event, coordinate with the organizers beforehand and agree on a plan for the best way to get involved without distracting other volunteers.
Alongside educating yourself and volunteering, become active in spreading empowering information. After all, your public status has provided a unique and powerful platform from which you can create massive waves of positive impact. This can range from promotional work online to public appearances but does not always need to be so structured. Endorsing your chosen cause can be as simple as donning a t-shirt. Actors for a Cause sells beautifully designed shirts that not only help foster awareness but also donate a portion of proceeds from each purpose. Put your words into action with this incredibly simple fashion choice.