Putting the “Active” in “Activism”
Living in a democratic country, we have the right to protest, oppose, and question. Sometimes when one thinks of protests, violence and anger are the first things to come to mind, but it does not necessarily have to be that way. Standing up for your human rights when you feel you or your community is affected is a way of peaceful protesting and being an activist.
I myself succumbed to a neurological disorder and was quite concerned of the treatment I received. Once I got on my feet (so to speak) I became an advocate for vulnerable citizens. I joined organizations such as Friends of Medicare, the Transit Riders’ Union of Edmonton, and got very familiar with policies and how I could make a difference for myself and the community.
I took it a step further and became a member of the City of Edmonton Advisory Board for Services for Persons with Disabilities and the Brain Injury Association of Alberta. A lot of my concerns were answered and if I had a question there was always a member to answer or let me know of the resources available to pursue my concern further. I then formed my own website (www.ianyoung.ca) and was given the opportunity to submit a column in this amazing paper!
My definition of activism is being involved and listening. If something concerns me, I seek out the agencies that have similar concerns and become active.
My definition of activism is being involved and listening. If something concerns me, I seek out the agencies that have similar concerns and become active. With the power of the Internet you can find loads of organizations for every concern, from animal and human rights, to support agencies and groups sharing the same ideas.
I live by the old adage “the only silly question is the one you never ask” or as I was told once, “you can’t get much done sitting still!” We as citizens have the right to question. I was in awe when I actually had the opportunity to address the House of Commons in Ottawa.
Activism to me is being aware and involved! Yes, I have been involved with peaceful picketing. Voicing my opinion and the gratification comes with meeting a community with similar concerns.
Activism is not about provoking violence it is about becoming ACTIVE!
Ian is a resident of Boyle Street, a member of the Advisory Board for Services for Persons with Disabilities for the City of Edmonton, and the recipient of the Glenrose Award of Courage.