The pandemic, a social uprising, turmoil from the presidential election were just a few of the things that spurred action last year. Although 2020 was filled with trauma and confusion, it allowed Americans to reflect on their actions and their impact on communities. For some, this dark moment of civil liberties and civil rights inspired them to participate in protests and organize. Others used this time to share insightful resources on social media. Both forms of participation transformed the landscape of activism and its accessibility. The consistent attacks over the last four years have emphasized the desperate need for action.

Locally, our elected officials have proposed some of the most concerning bills to date. So as we look towards the upcoming Oklahoma legislative session, let’s take a moment to remember why it’s important to be involved in your local government.

Creates interpersonal relationships and foster community: 
Although social distancing and stay-at-home orders make it difficult to connect with others, joining together for a united purpose and cause can foster meaningful relationships, even if virtual. Additionally, these relationships can combat bouts of hopelessness and doubts of change. This newfound community can act as a resource for events and news, too. Furthermore, it can be a safe space to express feelings and draft plans. In a space of determined and supportive individuals, one can craft ideas without fear of judgment. It motivates innovative action and empowers others.   
Help/Empower others: 
Taking action not only empowers you, but it also helps others. Whether it is sharing resources on social media or organizing on-ground events, your actions empower others. Logically, the cure to hopelessness and powerlessness is empowerment. Your work and leadership drive others’ willingness to contribute and inspires further initiative. Additionally, your approach will pave the way for future leaders by cultivating a passionate community of empowered individuals to carry out the mission for the near future.  
Convert complaining to solutions and eventually results:  
Although taking action does not ensure change, it does create potential solutions for issues. Taking action, even in the darkest times, will determine results. Beyond wishing or hoping for a better community, you can cultivate a better community through taking action. Taking the necessary steps to spur change is essential for any hope of an equitable democracy and community.  
Keep the discussion going! Talk to your friends, neighbors, family, and others about the problems in your community that need action. The first step to action is education, so follow the ACLU of Oklahoma on social media to stay up to date with all local happenings. Let’s get to work!