Teens, before you can vote, there are lots of ways to learn more about and advocate for the issues that you care about. The majority of adults today have done at least one activity to remain civically engaged yearly. With the presidential election this year, now is a great time to build good habits in civic engagement and discourse. Activism is important for every cause. Volunteering for something you care about is also a great way to earn service hours towards scholarships and gain leadership skills. The library has many useful resources for you to learn how to become an activist and teach you more about the issues. This blog will feature select library resources and some good outside resources to get you started.
Books, eSources, and more at the library
- Issues & Controversies is our premier resource for learning about today's issues. From criminal justice reform to freedom of speech to coronavirus, this eSource stays up to date and is a neutral place for learning about hot topics in the news. It can also help you write a research article and craft speeches!
- Teen Guide to Student Activism by Stuart Kallen is a book that will educate you on the successes and challenges faced by other activists. It covers local projects such as funding for your public school to large, national movements (that began locally) such as the Civil Rights Movement. It also discusses your rights as teens, ways to take action, and offers advice on how to be effective activists.This is a great book to share and utilize for event planning with your school clubs and friends.
- Read the news with Newsbank or The New York Times free from your library. Podcasts are also excellent ways to keep up. National Public Radio's UpFirst is free and gives the three main topics of the news today in 15 minutes or less. Try asking your family and friends for recommendations of their favorite news podcasts!
Use your platform
- Create graphics using Canva or Tableau Public to share data on issues you care about on your Instagram, Tumlbr page, Twitter, or Facebook feed. For example, your student group could survey everyone in your school for their opinion on online classrooms. You can learn how to use both of these tools on Lynda.com with your library card.
- Become involved in your student government, environmental club, or other student organization to debate issues, plan events, and advocate. This could be something as simple as organizing a trash cleanup in local waterways to writing letters to your representatives. These are great opportunities to showcase leadership qualities for future college and job applications.
- Write for your school newspaper! If your school doesn't have a paper, work to establish one. Finding a teacher who supports you and getting friends on board is the best way to start. You can write about school sports, interview teachers and staff, or interview your peers on current events. MakeMyNewspaper has a detailed resource for how to begin a school newspaper.
Governmental and non-governmental organizations
- Start a virtual petition at WeThePeople for something you care about. Anyone over the age of 13 can start a petition. If you get more than 100,000 signatures in 30 days, the White House will respond to it!
- Becoming an election worker is a meaningful way to learn more about the voting process and help protect our elections. Teens who are registered or pre-registered to vote can serve as election workers during early voting and on election day. You must be 18 years of age to vote, but you can preregister to vote at 16 years of age. Apply to be an election worker here.
- Proclamations are easy ways to help drive awareness of a cause in your community. You can request a proclamation from Alachua County or from the city you live in. A proclamation request could be to acknowledge a national holiday or another issue and can be for a day, week, month, or a year. For example, you could submit a proclamation request for your county or city to proclaim September as #LibraryCardSignUp month...not that we're biased or anything.
Finally, below is an image with some ideas on small acts of activism to get you inspired from Accredited Schools Online. It's important to remember that you don't have to think big to make change. Something as simple as a food drive, a campus survey, or a litter pick-up event can help make your community a great place to live.