Civic engagement is more popular than ever as people across all ideologies push for change. Anyone who cares about civic matters needs to take action to advocate for the causes they believe in. These five activities should be on anyone’s list.
The first and most important step to civic engagement is to remain informed. Only get information from legitimate sources, and follow a number of them to be exposed to multiple points of view. Always thoroughly research every candidate and issue to form a fact-based opinion before voting, advocating or engaging in debate with others. Individuals will be far more able to present nuanced, detailed arguments as a result.
Advocating can take many forms, including participation in protests, contacting elected officials, writing op-eds and more. Writing posts on social media and complaining to a like-minded bubble can only go so far. Action must be taken to drive real change, and those who are passionate and visible are the face of it.
Volunteering has always been and will always be the backbone of civic engagement. This is true whether cleaning up garbage in a community, working at a food pantry, registering voters or helping a non-profit get their message out. People should get out and support the causes they believe in to improve their communities and make the world a better place.
As difficult as it can be to engage with others who do not share a particular view, it is the only way to change minds and grow ideologically as a person. Learning about and discussing issues with others is one of the most effective ways to participate in civic engagement. Focus on common goals and shared viewpoints and then expand from there.
Finally, be sure to vote. Voting is the single most powerful thing anyone can do to affect real change in their communities. Don’t just vote in large, national elections but small, local elections as well. Every vote really does make a difference at all levels of government. Vote for candidates as well as ballot measures.
Many of these ideas tie into one another. Individuals must be well-informed in order to advocate effectively, engage with other viewpoints and make smart voting decisions. Participate in civic engagement in a variety of ways to experience the best results.