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Becoming the change

be the changeI swing between how much I should share my political views online. I worry about being judged by people; about the future repercussions of being open about my beliefs, or even simply just winding people up by being too preachy or self-righteous.

But the fact is, I believe in compassion, kindness, justice and equality. My values make up a central tenet of my identity. And I do not believe the government my country voted in last Thursday shares these values.

All around me people are upset, angry and heartbroken. They’re fearful of what the next five years will bring, and what kind of state the UK will be left in at the end of it.

But in-between all the anguish, I see so many glimmers of positivity. People are waking up, realising they need to work hard to make things change. Discussions are popping everywhere about how we can fight back; how we can effectively communicate our message.

If we can positively harness all this emotion and energy, we have a real chance to show that society doesn’t have to be run this way and there are kinder, more compassionate ways to live.

I’ve dipped in and out of activism many times over the years, but now I’m determined to try and do my part to effect change in a more mindful, strategic manner. No more simply thinking about my values  – I’m going to make sure I live them as best as I can.

I’ve joined the Labour party; I will join the NUJ, and I will use my professional skills and expertise to support organisations such as Arts Emergency and Rife Magazine. Because I believe in the power of art and creativity, and in supporting young people.

I’m going to take the time to be more active in my community, supporting the library and the local food bank and getting involved in local activism. I think strong communities are essential to healthy societies, so I’m going to take the time to help mine as best as I can.

I’m not going to be going on every single demo left, right and centre, because I don’t believe they necessarily communicate messages in the most effective way. However, this isn’t a slight on anyone attending them – if that’s what you want to do, then more power to you.

I’m not going to resort to name-calling or cries of ‘Tory scum.’ I’m going to stick to arguing the oppositions’ ideas and not lowering myself to personal attacks. Some comments I see on social media really do not help the left’s cause.

Most conservative voters are normal people, worried about the economy and other issues, who weren’t convinced by the left’s argument. The trouble so many of us have with this Government is that they lack compassionate and the ability to imagine what life is like for other people – so let’s not lower themselves to behaving like them.

And, similarly, I’m not going to berate anyone for being a ‘lazy lefty’ just because they’re not getting involved in activism or fighting back – people may have a multitude of different reasons as to why can’t or don’t want to. Like I said, I believe in empathy.

And most of all, I’m going to remind myself daily what my values are and try and make sure they are reflected in all my actions and everything I do. Because I truly believe that people, together, can change the world.

Image by Zachary Smith

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About the Author

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I am a journalist living in Bristol, UK. My work has been published in The Independent, The Guardian, Dazed and Confused, Mixmag and DJ Mag, amonst others. Drop me a line at jess.fmb@gmail.com.

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