Below is a simple checklist on being a human rights activist. Read over it. Do you fit these guidelines in any way. If you do, you might have a promising career as a human rights activist.
1) Not everyone is going to agree with what you have to say. Not everyone is going to have the same beliefs. Take some time to think things through. Don’t just dismiss what someone else has to say. We are all on the same team. Find a way to work with your other team members. This means coming down off your soapbox. This might be hard for some of you. Part of being a human rights activist is searching for common ground. This means you have to leave your ego at the door. Don’t just look to the differences to make your case.
2)Speaking for someone who has a different opinion than yours is dangerous ground. Do not enter into this lightly. There might come a time when you have to do this. Choose your words carefully. We all have tendency to do this sometimes. If you do have to speak for someone who is different, use his/her words only. Never use yours. Remember, the fight is not all about you. If you feel you can’t serve this voiceless person correctly, find someone else to do it.
3) Try not to look at a situation as either “good or bad.” There are lots of situations that fall into the “neutral” territory. The idea is to find a good suggestion. Find a way to appeal to both sides. Part of being an activist is staying “neutral.” It’s never a good idea to get your emotions involved.
4)There is a difference between what you think and feel. Try not to confuse the two. Try to separate the science and the social science from the platform. Think about things critically, but do not overthink. Lots of times, we become are our worst enemy by overthinking something. Learn to use logic and reason.
Want to find someone in the activist field to emulate and learn from? Look to Yeonmi Park.
This woman is simply amazing. She is only 21 years old. Already she is speaking out for her people. She is speaking out for all the oppression she has dealt with in Korea. She might live in Seoul, but she is using her voice for all of Korea.
Just recently she gave an interview to the BBC about her escape from North Korea. She speaks about her experience there. She also speaks about how she is lucky to be alive. So many of her people are still living in North Korea under this brutal tyranny. Yeonmi is using her experience to help others.
You can too. Get online and visit her site. Find out how you can be a part of her journey. If you don’t use your voice, someone else will speak for you instead.