With all of the recent events of police brutality and all the unjust murders by police, there are a large number of people that are experiencing their social awakening. These people may or may not look like you, but it is very important that the socially conscious community does their best to welcome the influx. A lot of times, woke people aren’t very welcoming and that turns otherwise helpful people away. We’ve all seen the “Oh so now y’all wanna ————“ post on social media. We all have to be solution oriented in how we move going forward. Let’s welcome the influx and push the movement forward.
For the new activists, it's important that you find your role within activism. More important than finding your role, it’s vitally important that you don’t allow anyone to try and invalidate or trivialize your movement. Oftentimes, people think “woke” or activism looks and sounds one way, that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are different ways to be an activist and the movement needs all of them. There are four primary roles that compose social movements. The citizen, the rebel, the change agent, and the reformer.
The Citizen- promotes positive values, symbols, and justice. They are normal, everyday people that promote other active citizens and assure the overall common good.
The Reformer- These are your people that will do the dirty work. Reformers use the mainstream institutions to impact the movement. Reformers work with the courts, city hall, or local officials to expand the movement.
The Rebel- The rebel sends a resounding NO to actions or institutions that threaten the movement. The rebels put the issue in public spotlight and their actions have strategic tactics involved
The Change Agent- These are the ultimate organizers. They are the faces of movements. They engage the active citizens, counter powerholder strategies, promote alternatives, and educate the masses on the issues as a whole.
While some roles may seem more important than others, we have to view our movement as 1 working body. A body has different limbs, organs, and processes that carry out different functions for the greater good of the whole body. We have to capitalize on this influx, and see the value in all members of this coalition. This is the only way we can overcome systemic racist institutions like what we face today.