By Hillary Torres
Growing up in small towns can be challenging if you’re living in a close-minded community. Oftentimes, we see that people in small towns are coveted by their ideals and if someone dares to believe or think differently, they are shunned.
If you’re growing up in a small town like Southold, Calverton, or Northville on Long Island, you might experience some form of ignorance at some point. There could be times where you need to educate a neighbor or passerby on the harm they’re causing others with their ignorance. You won’t always have the opportunity to correct someone who is harming you, but you can show out for social justice to help educate the masses.
Showing out for social change can include volunteering for health causes, fundraising for children in need or attending rallies for justice. It can be hard to do in small communities. What’s harder is finding inclusivity for your beliefs, culture or background, and although the task is strenuous, it is not impossible.
Network to find like-minded people
It’s a scary feeling to be surrounded by a community of people who don’t agree with what you believe and stand against what you support.
What else is scary? Networking. You have to get out there and network. In order to find others who care about the same causes you do, you have to meet people. I’m not saying go around asking everyone their stance on justice, but it’s okay to let the world know where you stand when it comes to social causes that matter to you.
Talk to people about your beliefs and see if the universe gears you towards like-minded individuals.
Go online and check out local events
Eventbrite and Facebook events are excellent resources if you’re looking for people who are interested in advocating for the same movements you are. On both of these platforms, you are able to search for events related to specific causes that are local to you.
Using Eventbrite is awesome because it gives you a lot more listings than Facebook does. It also conveniently allows you to access the tickets right from the app.
Facebook events are super cool to use because it not only shows you the local events for specific causes, but it also lets you know if anyone in your town (that you may know or not know) is interested in that same event. This opens up a bigger window for networking.
Don’t just look up the event, attend! Don’t be wary of attending your local protest. Chances are you aren’t the only new face there.
Speak up about your beliefs
This is probably the most fearful action to take part in when growing up in a small town. When you believe in something that differs from the majority, people make you feel out of place or weird.
Don’t let the minds’ of small-town people dictate how you should be or what type of person you need to be. It is important to show out for social justice in small towns to make people of different backgrounds, sexual orientations or lifestyles feel accepted and safe.
Advocating for what you believe in on social media is still a great way to promote the change you wish to see in the world.
Just don’t give up
Starting to engage in causes that matter to you can create anxiety and discouragement. This can happen if there aren’t many factions in favor of your cause.
Small towns are composed of like-minded individuals who have similar beliefs and share congruent ideals. Just because your purposes differ does not make your fight for justice any less valuable.
Participate in your community even if others show disinterest or try to mock you. Remember, purposeful individuals are drawn towards one another, and change doesn’t happen overnight. Being part of that change takes getting out there and advocating for what’s right.
About the Author
I’m Hillary! A self-care advocate and feminist. As a writer and Hispanic woman, I take pride in being passionate about social justice, creating change, and promoting health for minority communities. I use my platforms to inform others on how best to take care of themselves, mentally and physically, and how they can become more involved. It is important to support one another by encouraging self-awareness and social impact. If you’d like to see more of my work, check out my site: HillsEdition.com or follow me on Instagram: SuperHillo.