This may come as a surprise, but I love taking pictures, and I take a lot of them. Okay, probably not much of a surprise. I try to use that interest and do what I can with it in my activism. Other people write so well that I feel like I’m right there, experiencing everything they describe. And others are excellent at organizing or fund-raising or creating business plans or websites or creating amazing food or any number of things. The point is that we all have our own talents and interests, strengths, skills, and experience. There are ways we can use our skills to aid our causes in ways that are outside the more typical things we see being done. Activism doesn’t begin and end with protests and letters to the editor, as helpful as those are. They simply might not be suited to everyone’s talents.
Just thinking about the shelters, sanctuaries, and rescue organizations, and the needs they have provides almost endless space for people’s talents, whatever they are. When there are animals that can be adopted out, having good portraits and well-told stories goes a long way to helping individual animals find homes. Artists can use their talents for fund-raising, creating calendars for the organizations to use, or donating art work to be sold at their fund-raisers. People with organizing talents can help take on the burden of organizing the fund-raisers, or with the endless paperwork that needs to be done. The options are almost endless.
I’ve had people encouraging me in the past few months to do more. Actually, it started about a year ago when a good friend put the idea in my head to use pictures combined with AR activism in a blog. At the time, to be honest, I expected to document things like fur protests, and that’s about it. I have done some of that, to be sure, but being the shutterbug I am, I started seeing AR issues in everyday things, news articles, and events in my life. So I didn’t stop with documenting fur protests, and as time has gone on, I’ve seen more places where I can potentially help.
I know that everyone has something special to them that they can use as a form of activism. This can be as big as writing books and doing podcasts, or as subtle as encouraging and supporting other activists, creating the sanctuary that, as Pattrice Jones wrote about in “Aftershock”, we need to help prevent or recover from burnout.
I don’t have much to say in this post other than to encourage everyone to think about what they can do to contribute. If anyone has ever felt like they should be doing something, but were stopped by certain constraints, the trick is to look at things from another perspective, to find a way to contribute that they might not have thought of before. Or maybe just to look at what they already do and acknowledge the ways they already contribute. We don’t have to be martyrs to our cause, after all. The added benefit to doing things we enjoy in ways that can help our causes is that we are less likely to suffer burnout, as long as we don’t forget to take care of ourselves at the same time. There is a middle ground, and we should seek it.