Civic engagement is sacred.
But how do you actually engage in civic life?
For many people, it isn’t a simple question to answer. While participation in civic life is our birthright, organically growing out of the natural desire to contribute to our communities, we have other stuff in our life to deal with. We have families; we have jobs; we have stuff to take care of. By the time we’re done with the day, we might be exhausted from the sheer weight of everything else in our lives and too fatigued to do civic engagement.
And we may feel excluded from civic life - particularly when it comes to participating in systems built to exclude us. Sometimes, it doesn’t feel like we are welcome in many spaces where terms like “civic engagement” are used. Settler systems and colonial structures are neither Native nor native, but they’re everywhere. Alienation comes easy.
But we can change that.
We can teach ourselves and each other to navigate the systems that weren’t made for us. Even more importantly, we can commit to civic engagement in all aspects of our lives. You can take your family to that rally. You can contribute funds you earn at work to organizations you trust to support civic engagement efforts. You can take a day off to volunteer, or volunteer on your weekend, for that political cause that uplifts our people. You can organize to deliver groceries to your relative who wants to testify at a legislative committee meeting, so that they have time in their lives to raise their voice. You can plan a convoy of trucks to have company when you go and vote.
Civic engagement is where it’s at.
Threading civic engagement throughout our lives, with one another, is how we empower our people and ourselves. Making civic engagement a living ethic is how you do civic engagement.