Raising Public Awareness by Amplifying Your Voice
When it comes to social and political issues, it’s easy to feel helpless. This might have been true in the past when people were limited to using the phone, their friends, and the local newspaper for raising public awareness. Now, modern day communication channels like blogs and social media have made it much easier to reach large groups of people, motivating them to participate in key social issues like saving the environment, protecting gun rights, and improving conditions for workers. Here are a few strategies to help make your voice stand out.
Find Like-Minded Individuals
While you might feel alone in your pursuit, others share your concern. You’ll be able to accomplish more as a group. Start by looking at the websites of organizations that are already raising awareness. If you care about Second Amendment rights, visit the NRA’s website. If you’re fighting to protect the environment, contact the Sierra Club.
By reaching out to these organizations, you may find that there is already a chapter in your area. If not, volunteer to start one. An organization could help with your cause by providing brochures that you can share with the public, setting up petition drives, and training you on how to become a better activist.
Social media has made it easier to discuss issues and find other people who care about the same cause. Start a discussion on your Facebook, Twitter, or blog to let your social network know that you’re getting more involved. From there, you can start posting interesting articles on your cause and suggesting ways for people to take action. If you have an established group, you should also try to organize live events, such as showing interesting movies related to the cause or inviting speakers to talk about the issue.
You can also write an op-ed to explain your point of view. The Internet has created a constant demand for content and publications are always looking for well-written articles. Your local newspapers are a good start but even major papers like the New York Times accept applications.
Contact Your Representatives
Just contacting your political representatives can have an impact on policy. One effective strategy is to call your representatives when a vote related to your issue is coming up. Leave a message politely sharing your opinion; after all, it is your First Amendment right to do so. If you are unsure of who your local representative is, apps such as iCitizen provides the contact info of the political representatives, allows you to track important bills related to your issues, and even take part in nation-wide surveys.
Petitions are another way to express concern. You can collect signatures the old-fashioned way by going out into your community, or you can set up an online petition through a website like GoPetition or Change.org. The beauty of online petitions is how quickly they can spread. For example, one woman’s e-petition received over 300,000 signatures within a month.
To effectively let others know about an issue, you need to stay informed. Find a few websites and blogs dedicated to the issue. Make sure to check them regularly, and set up RSS feeds or Google Alerts to gather the latest information. Social issues see setbacks and accomplishments daily, so staying informed is key to your cause’s progress.
Changing your community won’t be easy, but the dawning of the Internet era has amplified your voice. By raising public awareness, you’ll be taking a huge step forward.