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Writers Can and Do Make A Difference

Updated on June 1, 2013
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Introduction

Many of us ask ourselves "How can I make a difference in this life; in the world I live in?" and really, it's never been easier. The Internet has opened the door to the world for writers who are passionate about justice, the environment, health, children, human rights, animals, or a host of other issues. Never in history has it been easier to reach thousands (or more) of people with a message of hope for a better world. Through platforms such as HubPages.com, we can cross the borders of States and Countries. We can speak to the issues we care about across the dividing lines of race, gender, class, or, attitude.

Have you ever watched a spider spin her web? That beautiful, intricate piece of architecture begins with a single thread of silk being cast to the wind. When the loose end catches on some stationary object, the web has begun. One thread of silk after another is added and eventually the web reaches across seemingly impossible distances.

Likewise, a writer casts their words to the wind when they write with passion and publish on the Internet. One person after another reads the words and shares them with another. Soon, those words have reached unimaginable distances. The opportunity to make a difference is limitless and all we really need is passion, time, and the desire to make a difference.

Demonstrations sometime require the accommodation of both humans and animals. It is a tough job.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Demonstration in Washington, DCDemonstration in Charlottesville, VAPOW/MIA Rally in Lynchburg, VADemonstration, New York CityDemonstration, Washington DC
Demonstration in Washington, DC
Demonstration in Washington, DC | Source
Demonstration in Charlottesville, VA
Demonstration in Charlottesville, VA | Source
POW/MIA Rally in Lynchburg, VA
POW/MIA Rally in Lynchburg, VA | Source
Demonstration, New York City
Demonstration, New York City | Source
Demonstration, Washington DC
Demonstration, Washington DC | Source

Demonstrations and protests are not the answer.

During the 60's and 70's, protests or demonstrations were the tool for activists. As an organizer of some of those demonstrations, I can tell you that they made little difference. Usually, the people who show up for a demonstration are the ones who can least afford to do so. Organizing a demonstration sounds easy enough, doesn't it? It isn't. There are many things to consider when organizing a demonstration.

  • Permits: Do you want or need one, or not? How much time do you have to get the permit and use it? What happens if you don't get one?
  • Media: How will you get the attention of the media? Will you call, write, issue a press release, or trust they will come?
  • Site selection: Is parking available? Public transportation? Can you load and unload equipment nearby?
  • Emergencies: Will you have medical experts on hand? Supplies?
  • Security: Will you hire security or trust that you won't need them and depend on local law enforcement?
  • Weather: Is there a contingency plan for inclement weather?
  • Signage: Will you provide it or will participants be responsible for their own?

I speak from the voice of experience. As an organizer up through the 90's, I can speak to the difficulty of organizing. Organizers learn to expect the unexpected and they must be ready to deal with it. No, organizing is not easy and that's why the Internet is such a perfect tool for an activist. On a good day, a demonstration might reach a few hundred people but the written word on the Internet is limitless. A well written argument can reach millions of people over an extended period of time.

So what is activism and what is an activist?

Let's look at some definitions.

The Mirriam Webster Dictionary defines activism as "a doctrine or practice that emphasizes direct vigorous action especially in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue".

The Oxford Dictionary defines activism as "the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change".

Notable Authors Who Are Making A Difference

Throughout history, writers have been exercising their voice and freedom of speech to call attention to issues affecting people, the environment, justice, and animals. Most did not have the power of a tool like HubPages where you can write about anything you care about and in a few or as many words as you feel are needed to communicate your point. Let's take a look at some of them.

Civil Rights

Myrlie Evers-Williams: Born in 1933 in Mississippi, she loved learning and attended A&M College, one of the only colleges in the state to accept African American students. There, she met her husband, Medgar Evers who would become the Mississippi Field Secretary for the NAACP. In 1963 Medger Evers was shot to death by a white supremacist. Myrtie turned her grief into activism becoming a voice in the Civil Rights Movement as chairperson of the NAACP. She published her autobiography entitled Watch Me Fly: What I Learned on the Way to Becoming the Woman I Was Meant to Be, and served as editor on The Autobiography of Medgar Evers: A Hero's Life and Legacy Revealed Through His Writings, Letters, and Speeches.

Nikki Giovanni: Born in 1943 in Tennessee, Nikki Giovanni is best known as a poet and for establishing the first Black Arts Festival in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her self-published collection of poetry titled Black Feeling, Black Talk tells it like it was - growing up black and poor. She puts a face on the hardship of being black in the 60's and 70'sNikki Giovanni is beloved as a poet and a champion for civil rights. She has been nicknamed the Warrior Poet. After reading her Chant Poem during the convocation service after the massacre at Virginia Tech, it was said that Nikki Giovanni spoke to the soul of the world.

Women's Rights

Betty Friedan: Born in 1921 in Peoria, Illinois, Betty Friedan was no stranger to the things she wrote about. She lived through an unhappy marriage and it's sometimes violent manifestation. She made her mark on the women's rights movement as a feminist journalist, speaking for women, about women in her book The Feminine Mystique and, as co-founder of NOW (National Organization For Women).

Asra Nomani: Born in 1965 in Bombay, India, Asra and raised in New Jersey and West Virginia, Asra has known what it means to be a Muslim woman in the free world and it hasn't been easy. Abandoned as an unwed mother by the man who was to marry her. She endured the criticism of other Muslims. When she challenged a rule in her mosque that permitted women to only enter by a back door, she was banished. Asra turned her experience into action and has written for the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times and Time magazine. She is a champion for the rights of Muslim women to choose their marriage partner and for their rights in the mosque.

Native American Rights

Russell Means: Born in 1939 on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Russell Means has been tireless and fearless in his fight for Indian sovereignty, treaty rights, land trusts, and justice for Indigenous People. For most of his life, he was too busy standing on the front lines of the Wounded Knee Occupation or the takeover of the Bureau of Indian Affairs building in Washington, DC, or, organizing for the American Indian Movement that he co-founded, to write. But as he aged, he needed to tell his story so that future generations would be inspired to continue the fight for what is right. His autobiography, Where White Men Fear To Tread tells the story of his life fighting racism, oppression, environmental destruction, and social injustice for his People.

Winona LaDuke: She is Anishinaabe by birth, an American Indian, and she is a force to be reckoned with. As the founder of Honor the Earth, an advocacy organization promoting awareness for Native American environmental issues. Winona LaDuke has become an internationally acclaimed author on the subjects of on the issues of climate change, renewable energy, sustainable development, food systems and environmental justice.

Anti-War/Political Activists

Maxine Hong Kingston: Born in 1940 in Stockton, California, Maxin Hong Kingston rocked the literary world when she published The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood among the Ghosts. Its success did not slow here down as she continues to write about the effect of war and is a strong anti-war voice in the world of the written word.

Noam Chomsky: Chomsky probably needs no introduction as he has made quite the name for himself in the world of anti-war and political activists. Born in 1928 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he lived in the shadows of the Depression. Chomsky has a brilliant mind and has been widely published. He continues to lecture and write, leaving a lingering impact on his audiences around the world.

Wrap Up

There is a reason you have been drug through a list of authors who care. It was not intended to be painful, but more to introduce you to some accomplished authors who - were once like you. It's true. They all begin with the same gift that you have in your possession - the desire to write. Some f them write books, some magazine articles, some poetry, and some write blogs. There are others not showcased that write screen plays,song lyrics limerics, and prose. And, some tease us with recipes we only wish we could prepare. None of them have anything that the writer here on HP doesn't have - desire to write well and make a difference.

There is one difference. Although most of these writers are still publishing, when they began writing, they did not have the toolbox that we now have with HubPages, blogs, and the Internet. Most of them had to pound the keyboard until a book was finished and then find a publisher. Some self-published, it's true. But none of them had it as easy as the writers here on HP. We not only have an extensive audience, but we have an audience of our peers who will offer a critique to help us grow our skills.

So, we have a gift, we have a platform, we have an audience, there is nothing, nothing to stop us from answering the question - how can I make a difference? All we have to do is write with passion and cast our words to the wind like that little spider casts that first thread of silk.

© 2012 Linda Crist, All rights reserved.

Read more of my hubs here.

Comments

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  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    whonuwho - hello again. You're right and the fight for our constitutional rights is ours to fight to, through writing and educating others. We are going to continue to be busy with important work to be done. Thanks for thevisit.

  • whonunuwho profile image

    whonunuwho 4 years ago from United States

    The message that you share is wonderful and full of hope. We do make a difference in writing and will always, as long as our rights under the constitution are still respected. Thank you for sharing this fine work.whonu

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Shauna, watch out. Community organizers have been known to become POTUS. lol Seriously, no, I'm not afraid to speak out for those who cannot and there is always more work than people to do it. We just have to keep trying, don't we?

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

    Linda, I had no idea you have been so involved in organizing protests over the years. Your true concern for fellow man makes me love and respect you even more. You're a woman with a voice who's not afraid to speak. You are woman and we hear your roar!

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Audrey - you are too kind. Follow me here but step right over me in life and move on. We all have our jobs to do, don't we? I so appreciate your great compliments although I certainly don't deserve such. I am inspired by the lives of those who endure great hardship and stand in the end to tell the story. I am also inspired by nature and have learned many of my most important lessons by being an observer. The lessons are not mine to keep and here on hubpages, I am finding a great platform for sharing them. I learn far more here though than I offer. I look forward to getting to know you and reading your work too. Thank you!

  • vocalcoach profile image

    Audrey Hunt 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

    Where have you been all my hub-life? You inspire, motivate, encourage and capture all within one mind-blowing hub!

    This is award-winning stuff and I love it. Now I'm on a mission to make a difference.

    You are the voice of wisdom and light. I will follow you...

    There is nothing I love more than to serve my fellow man. And I'm a strong advocate for animal rights!

    I have this feeling that to know you is to make me a better person. I'm already a step further toward loving every human being because I have read your hub.

    Big votes across and sharing with everyone I know. Hub hugs for you:) Audrey

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Thanks for the visit Deb. I appreciate it and the vote too.

  • profile image

    Deb Welch 4 years ago

    Good work. Enjoyed reading this useful and interesting Hub. Up.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi Lord De Cross! I feel very strongly that we are here to help others and that we are given the drive, skill, and opportunity. I don't consider myself a writer at all. There is just this voice within me that won't be suppressed. lol Hubpages is my megaphone.

    I really appreciate your spending time here. Blessings!

  • Lord De Cross profile image

    Joseph De Cross 4 years ago

    I agree with you and so many writers, we have the tools and we have a mind. There is no stopping us! Brilliantly done Linda! Encouraging and so full of positivism! Glad to follow you my friend!

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi grandmapearl! You hoave no idea how much your comment means to me. I feel exactly the same as you. Thank you so very much.

  • grandmapearl profile image

    Connie Smith 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

    It is absolutely amazing to me to realize the number of people we can reach with our message; whether it be about humans or animals or the environment, etc. I truly believe if we have the ability, we also have the responsibility to affect change in our own way (or at least to try).

    You have summed it up beautifully. Voted way Up!

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    I know you're right xstatic. Maybe it's just my way of making myself feel like I've done what I could.

  • xstatic profile image

    Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

    I hope what you say is true, but, a polarized as our country has become, I am worried.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    xstatic, first things first. Thank you for your service to this country.

    Now, as for the limitations of hubpages, I think it's quite powerful. I believe that the best pathway to change is through the average, run of the mill, citizen. People talking to people in everyday conversations have a lot of power. When we take the time to really talk to one another, we learn and teach. We also create change by the example we set. HubPage claims that they get thousands of new members daily. That's quite an audience, if you think about it. Suppose you convert one person to a better way. They go out and convert one more. And it keeps on going. The ripple effect can be amazing. Maybe I'm being naive. :-) I really appreciate the dialogue you have generated. You make me think.

  • xstatic profile image

    Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

    Outstanding and inspirational! HP is a great platform alright, seems a bit limited for instigating changes in the world however. I still believe that demonstrations and protests have a place, though my participation has been very limited. I think the tempo aand ecer larger demonstrations during the Vietnam War did help shorten it finally. I was in uniform part of that time, though not in Vietnam.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi Dexter. Thanks for stopping by. I certainly agree with your comment and have to admit, I still enjoy the exhiliration of a good demonstration. lol It gets your blood pumping a bit faster. But the written word sure has a lot of potential, doesn't it? Let's keep on keeping on making a difference.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi shiningirisheyes. You've been busy today. :-) I really appreciate your reading my hubs. Thank you for sharing it too. That's what the hub was all about - using the tools.

  • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

    Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States

    Great message! We have so much power at our fingertips. Activism can take place in many forms and I agree that demonstrations and protests are played out (sometimes they do have a place, depending).

    We really can make a difference! Great read!

  • shiningirisheyes profile image

    Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

    We are a fortunate bunch of souls for having the hub tools at our advantage. This is an important hub that needs to be shared so I am doing just that!

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Faith, you should have a halo. Your heart is so big and I'm so glad we are co-conspirators in the fight. You are an inspiration.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi MH! Activism can take any form, can't it? You bet, staying with the kids at the game or getting donated toys are both noble causes. Our children are the future. Thanks for taking the conversation to that area.

  • Faith Reaper profile image

    Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

    Linda, you are awesome. This speaks volumes as to the power of the written word. God bless you for your passion and hard work in the past of organizing protests and such, and as you have stated, times have changed where we can reach millions across this whole planet now as writers!!! Our voices can be heard. You are right, if you have something to say that weighs heavy on your heart, write about it and spread the word, the written word. Let's make a difference while we are able on this day.

    Voted Way Up

    In His Love, Faith Reaper

  • Mhatter99 profile image

    Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

    Thank you for raising awareness. Good suggestions. making a difference could be as simple as staying with kids at practice to getting thousand of people to put a toy in a box. My helpers had helpers. My secret - visibility.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hello mperrottet! Thank you so much for understanding what I was tying to convey in this piece. I too have found many opportunities here on HP to re-examine my thoughts about things. That's a good thing. Thanks for the visit, the coment, and the vote.

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Bill, now who is being too kind. I sincerely stand beind the message in this one but am not crazy about how I got there. I had good intentions. :-)

    But you're absolutely right...one at a time. To writers and friends!

  • mperrottet profile image

    Margaret Perrottet 4 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

    The internet has certainly changed the impact that we can have on other people. As you say, all you have to do is try. I know that right here on HubPages, many authors have gotten me to think about subjects I may not have been aware of. Great hub - voted up!

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

    I love the message, but that's no surprise! I always love your message, Linda! You are right of course; we have all the tools (as long as we actually know how to write intelligently) and there is no excuse for not trying. There is a certain amount of luck involved in this business; finding a successful niche or being noticed is to a certain degree being in the right place at the right time....but making a difference? One person at a time, and those of us who speak out about social issues make a difference with every single hub that we write.

    Long live writers! It's time to celebrate! :) Great job!

  • lrc7815 profile image
    Author

    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Thank you Carol. This one took on a life of its own.

  • carol7777 profile image

    carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

    I found this most interesting as your hubs are. Lots of interesting thoughts here and well expressed.