3 ways you can make a difference in 2017

23 December 2016, 14:47 UTC |

Around the world, people are imprisoned and killed for things like sharing a thought, defending people in need and simply existing in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, there’s also immense kindness, selflessness and a belief that every person deserves the same basic human rights.

With a thousand other obligations competing for our hours each day, it can be hard to find the time to take meaningful action for human rights. You don’t have to organise your life around highly publicised events to be an activist. In fact, some of the most powerful activism happens in the nooks and crannies available to you everyday – from sending an email to small-scale organising. Here are a few ways you can fit taking action for human rights into your life:

Whether it’s your first time engaging with Amnesty International or you’re a seasoned volunteer - here are three ways you can take action for human rights in 2017:

1. Sign online petitions

Gone are the days when gathering petition signatures required physically knocking on doors. In the digital age, thousands of petitions are available in the palm of our hands. With a simple click, you can demand the closure of Australia’s offshore detention centres.

2. Share news articles and activism opportunities on social media

Your signature is just the beginning of your impact. Many of us have extensive networks on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.

Each of us is an influencer within our own network and we can use that power to to inspire the people we love to join the global movement for human rights. Read a compelling article recently? Like it. Share it. Discuss it.

These small actions can validate and educate people around you and spur them to start thinking about and acting on their values too.

3. Have conversations with your loved ones

This sounds simple, but don’t underestimate the power of sharing your convictions with the people around you. Human rights violations can persist because of our silence — which is no better than acceptance.

Confronting complex topics is uncomfortable, sure, but the more we can bring other people’s struggles to light among our own small communities, the harder it is to continue to push their needs under the rug.

You can also change hearts and minds. Your voice is strongest among those who love and trust you. Use it.

Activism isn’t always large-scale marches and sit-ins like in movies. A true activist incorporates their beliefs into everyday life, and finds opportunities — large and small — to make a difference along the way.