Civil Rights Activism
Becoming involved in civil rights activism means taking an active part in fighting the abuse of civil rights. The civil rights movement has a long and distinguished history, and today, civil rights activism is still very much alive.
Fighting for Civil RightsThe struggle for civil rights dates back hundreds of years and still continues in today's society. Throughout history there have been individuals and governments that have opposed and abused the civil rights of others. It has only been through the efforts of civil rights activism that laws have been passed that provide the protection of these rights for individuals. However, the abuse of civil rights still exists on a daily basis in Britain and in countries around the world.
Making a DifferenceThere are civil right activism groups that do make a real difference when it comes to fighting abuse in today’s society. Amnesty International is one of the largest organisations that exists to help defend and fight the abuse of rights. Amnesty International’s success stories includes helping to obtain the release of prisoners of conscience and putting pressure on governments throughout the world to change their civil rights laws.
Individual ActivismAlthough organisations such as Amnesty International and Liberty are a collective effort there are also many ways that individuals can make a difference. Becoming a member of civil rights activism organisations is a way to help stamp out the abuse of civil rights. However, taking action when confronted with issues such as discrimination in everyday life is part of what it means to be a civil rights activist.
The abuse of the civil rights of individuals in Britain does occur on a daily basis. It is often the case that individuals who can make a difference simply turn a blind eye through fear of reprisals. It does take courage to stand up and be a witness for others or to stand up against the abuse of civil rights on a wider scale. But standing up and speaking out means that you are taking responsibility towards shaping society into one where everyone has equal rights.
Discrimination in BritainThere are laws set in place in Britain to stop the abuse of civil rights but there are also organisations that exist to oppose of these rights. There are well known British political parties with core principals that are the exact opposite of the principals set out in the European Convention of Human Rights. These political parties are frequently reported in the media for their hard-line racist policies and yet they still legally exist. Voicing your opposition to those who would discriminate against others is a form of individual activism.
Activism without FearIt is often the case that those who discriminate against others are in a position of power. This can be found in the workplace or by individuals in authoritarian positions such as the police. The public has rights when it comes to speaking up against discrimination and these rights are legally enforceable. Individual should never be afraid to report harassment of any kind regardless of where it occurs. Simply standing up to the discriminators or to harassment from others will often be enough to make a difference.
Knowing Your Civil RightsBeing aware of your rights means that you have the ability to recognise when someone else is trying to abuse them. This can simply mean standing up to disreputable traders and debt collectors or standing up to discrimination in the workplace. People that discriminate and harass others are often not aware that there can be legal consequences. At other times they will be using their position of authority as a form of intimidation, otherwise known as bullying. Knowing you rights simply means that you will be better prepared when it comes to fighting your case.
Individuals who take action against the abuse of civil rights have often made the most significant changes. In 1955, Rosa Parks was one black woman who refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. This individual act was one of many that lead to the civil rights movement gaining equality, freedom and legal rights for African-Americans. Individual activism should not be underestimated and can sometimes be as powerful as an entire civil rights organisation when it comes to making a difference.