Originally published March 13
This is from the perspective of a 17-year-old high school student who has spent the past year reflecting on some of the larger social questions and wants to share her insight.
In order to grow, reflection is the first step you must take. Examine habits, thoughts, or other preconceived notions you have about different cultures. How has your understanding been influenced by the media, your childhood experiences, or where you grew up compared to where you live now? Write all of your thoughts down because the act of writing provides cohesion and amplifies understanding.
After reflecting on where you are now, move onto where you want to be. What does a socially conscious person look like? Again, explain your thoughts through pen and paper.
Next, educate yourself. But, where should you start? First, learn about the origin of different cultures: Latinx, African American, indigenous, etc. Although it is extremely important to learn about the struggles and oppression these historically marginalized groups face, it is also important to not forget to focus on what you appreciate about their culture. Authentic appreciation that is genuine can be for a specific group’s food, technology, beliefs/religion, arts/culture, and definitely what they have endured and overcome. Learn by reaching out to local and national organizations rooted in social justice, finding credible online resources, or speaking to a member of the group you are interested in learning more about. For example, Wisconsinites can turn to the Wisconsin Black Historical Society/ Museum to learn about black history. Find a local program that is of specific interest to you. For those who enjoy film, head to our partner Milwaukee Film to see movies and documentaries highlighting social issues in our community.
There are three main ways to take action: how you spend your money, how you spend your time, and how you share your voice. However, there is no wrong way to get involved. Choose the outlet that aligns with your interests.
Whatever you choose to invest in, do it with grace, respect, and compassion.
How you spend your money:
How you spend your time:
- Milwaukee Justice Center Volunteer Opportunities
- Urban Underground (ages 13-18)
- Justice Point City of Milwaukee
- Volunteer with United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County
- Social Justice Center in Madison, Wisconsin (watch for opportunities coming soon!)
How you share your voice:
- Start conversations with family, friends, or co-workers
- Take initiative to advocate in your professional life