We are officially in February, which we all know is Black History Month. There will be many historical nods to Black American inventors, leaders athletes and change makers throughout this month. We will honor those who opened the door and broke glass ceilings for all those who came after. It's a beautiful time of remembrance, reflection, education and inspiration.

In both Black History Month and the current social climate that we live in, we couldn't think of a better time to remind you that we all have the power to create positive social change. As important as it is to remember those who came before us, we must also realize that it is our job to leave this world better than we found it. We may not look at ourselves as activists, but we all have an inner advocate. One has to find their voice and realize that not everyone's activism may look the same, but we all have the ability to support the causes that affect the world we live in.

Activism may come in the form of marches, protests, petitions and community organizing. Activism may also show up through the dollars we spend, the votes we cast, the conversations we have, our compassion for each other, and through our works. Simply stated, activism is advocating for a cause or issue you're passionate about. Therefore, my activism may show up in the world differently than yours. The important thing is that we are showing up in whatever way we can to encourage a positive change that uplifts humanity and helps us live peacefully, with dignity and respect for our fellow man.

Discovering Your Voice

The first step in effective activism is to understand your values and beliefs. Take some time to reflect on what you stand for and what issues you're passionate about. This will help you identify the causes you want to support and find your unique perspective and message. Educate yourself so that you are well-versed and understand the history and actions that have come before you.

Photo by Markus Spiske

Directly or Indirectly Taking Action

Once you have a clear understanding of what you stand for, you can start to find ways to get involved. You could share your thoughts with the people in your life, advocate through social media or blogs, or even volunteer or connect with like-minded individuals and organizations (like the ACLU), that are actively working to create positive change.

Another way to take action is to support brands with an active and robust corporate value system.

Ripple Match published a blog post in August of 2022 titled, "35 Companies With Powerful Social Impact Initiatives." You can find brands like Ben & Jerry's with a strong social liberties mission, brands like Lego with a sustainability mission and 33 other brands with notable causes. This is a great resource that could help get you started and look at brands more critically.

Every time we patronize a business, we vote or advocate for it and its causes. It's our responsibility to ensure that we support the brands and organizations that support and align with our overall beliefs. How you exercise your voice or activism is an individual choice; the important thing is that we take an active role in supporting positive change so we may do our part to be a voice for the voiceless. It's up to us to be part of the solution, not the problem. Whether you make a direct or indirect impact, you are still making an impact.

Photo by Maria Thalassinou

Staying Motivated and Sustaining Your Activism

Activism can be challenging -- staying motivated and overcoming obstacles is essential. Maintaining a positive outlook and persevering through setbacks are key. Find community and support, whether it be through online groups or in-person events, to help you stay motivated and continue advocating for the issues you care about.

If we truly hope for a better society, we must be intentional. You can make a significant impact by using your voice to advocate for the issues you care about and support the brands and organizations that align with your values. Discover your voice, take action, and never lose hope. We have the ability to create a better future for all of us; and for generations to come.

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