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Types of Social Action

Knowing where to start to work for change in our society can seem like an overwhelming task. It is important to choose the best type of action according to your interests, skills and talents. Each one is a great place to start!

1. SERVICE: Help people in need, now.

Examples: Transition houses and counseling services that offer programs and support for abusive men and the victims of violence.

upside: immediacy
downside: relieve symptoms, not problems; no effect on public policy

2. EDUCATION: Inform and teach

Examples: Support teachers, community youth programs, become involved in the PTA, inform yourself, listen to people's personal stories, tell yours.

upside: raise consciousness
downside: talking may grow into a substitute for doing

3. WITNESS: Make one's convictions public

Examples: Wear a purple ribbon in the weeks leading up to the anniversary Montreal Massacre.
Don't laugh next time someone tells a joke that degrades women or anyone else.

upside: community knows where you/we stand
downside: might start thinking speaking out is enough

4. ADVOCACY: Work through political system (process) to impact public policy.

Examples: Write to politicians, newspapers about what needs to change.
Support workplace initiatives like anti-sexual harassment policies and affirmative action programs.

upside: it works
downside: taking a stand can divide

5. COMMUNITY ORGANIZING: Reinventing power

Examples: Find and support organizations working for change.
Strive towards cooperation (power with) not competition (power over) in attitudes, work and play.

upside: empowers individuals
downside: easy to become overwhelmed and consumed by issue


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