Authenticity in Activism: Reflections from CSJ Organizers

Critical Social Justice organizers Jess Myers, Zach Kosinski, and Jasmine Malhotra share a few of their thoughts on activism, their personal and professional experiences as activists, and social media’s role in activism.

JASMINE: I think about the feelings of social justice activism as being something that infuses within all parts of your life. Social justice activism involves how you interact with others, being able to actively listen and respect other options while sharing your knowledge and experience. It is about making any space into a brave space so individuals can be okay in having uncomfortable conversations in an effort to really understand each other’s opinion. Social activism can be expressed by people asking for change, protesting, or informing others. Social media can be one of the outlooks they use but there are many other ways they can practice their activism to cultivate change and make a true difference.

JESS: I agree with you, Jasmine, about the importance of both-and in activism.  Through my  research related to better understanding the strategies employed by activists involved in the movement to address sexual violence prevention and response on college campuses, I am learning that these activists are truly using the both-and approach. These local and national activists have repeated time and time again that social media is not their activism but that social media is a TOOL for their activism. They described using social media as a means to connect with other activists, as a tool for reducing power dynamics present in other spaces, and to increase awareness with populations who may not otherwise be reached. Consequently, I’ve become more critical with the discourse around “slacktivism.” Who gets to define what activism is and isn’t? Continue reading