When we think of political participation and civic duty, it’s often the case that we think of the main political parties, political leaders, and the partisan campaigning that defines politics in our era. But in fact, there are hundreds of ways in which civil society can find its voice without engaging in the mainstream two-party political scene. In this article, we’ll look at ways in which people across the political divide can participate and become a more active citizen in the US in 2020 and beyond.
The world is always in need of more volunteers. Whether you choose to spend a month of every year volunteering abroad, or you spend an evening every week helping the neediest in your community, there are plenty of ways for you to get involved, in an unpaid capacity, to help people around you.
The easiest ways to do this is to look in local advertisements and talk to local people, to discover volunteering opportunities near you. Many organizations in the US will be pleased to see a new face, even if it’s for just an hour a week. Your help will inspire others to do the same – and you’ll make new friends and learn new things in voluntary roles, too.
Second up are the charities that support hundreds of important causes across the world. You might choose to support disaster relief in the less wealthy countries across the world, doing your bit as a global citizen looking to protect others from harm. Or, you could concentrate your giving at home, looking to help solve homelessness as a problem or invest in your local schools and public spaces.
Whatever takes your particular fancy, you’ll find a charity to donate to, which is you doing your bit for the issues you care about most deeply. You can find well-developed charities that aim to help with the defense of democracies, using research and advocacy to do so. If democracy and freedom are two things that you love and cherish, charities that support it across the world might be a good match for you.
Start a Group
It’s easy to start a group in your locality, should you be unable to find a volunteering or charity opportunity that fits with you. All you need to do is talk to your local authorities and ensure that you’re allowed to do what you’re proposing that you do; in 99% of cases, you will be granted permission, especially if you’re planning on doing several public goods without funding.
When you set up your group, be sure to give it a mission and a name, and to find volunteers first amongst your friends and family. Whether you want to deal with the public park, or you’re looking to patrol the streets to protect the children in your community, there’s always a way to build a group that develops active citizenship in your area, helping protect your community at the very same time.
One of the most common forms of active citizenship in the US in the present day takes place in parents’ groups. You may think of the neighborhood watch as such a group of governors and representatives from the parents in your school’s board. Parents can also take part in childcare sharing schemes to support working moms and dads across the local area.
All of these types of work are considered to be good for society, and great for maintaining community cohesion. Of course, it’s also a stellar way for you to make new friends – with the parents of your children’s friends, or with other people concerned with the community in your local area, and the safety of children.
Not all protests are violent; in fact, the vast majority are non-violent and are organized to show that many citizens are displeased about a given issue. Marches and protests are completely legal and are overseen by police and security forces to ensure that everyone taking part in them is always safe and well-behaved.
Of course, protesting isn’t for everyone – but if you’re feeling particularly angry or concerned about a particular issue – be it religious freedoms, climate issues, or tax and pension rates – you have a right in our free society to attend a protest that gathers large numbers of like-minded people together in one loud citizens’ voice. You can also protest online, by signing petitions you find on social media.
These tips will help you become a more active citizen in 2020, enabling you to raise your voice in support of the people and issues you feel most passionately about.