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Activism: Home

This guide contains a history of activist movements, approaches to activism, and resources on sticking up for a cause you believe in.

What is Activism?

"Activism is action on behalf of a cause, action that goes beyond what is conventional or routine. The action might be door-to-door canvassing, alternative radio, public meetings, rallies, or fasting." -Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice

What is Grassroots Activism?

"Grassroots organizing refers to the practice of community groups and/or organizations bringing people together to identify and solve social problems that have an impact on the communities that they belong to and/or care about. Grassroots organizing is different from other forms of organizing in that the impetus for action most often emerges from the “bottom-up” and involves regular people, in contrast to “top-down” approaches where the organizing is managed by people and organizations in positions of power."

 -The SAGE Encyclopedia of Out-of-School Learning

1963 March on Washington

The Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. — Leaders marching from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial, August 28, 1963. Source: Rowland Scherman for USIA, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain.

Women's Suffrage Movement

Women's suffrage protest in front of the White House, 1917. Source: Harris and Ewing, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain.

Gandhi's Salt March

Gandhi during the Salt March, 1930. Source: Yann, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain.

Black Lives Matter Graffiti

Black Lives Matter graffiti. Source: bmartinseatlle, Pixabay, CC0.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

A representative from Mothers Against Drunk Driving speaks to members of the U.S. Air Force about the dangers of drinking and driving. Source: Jennifer Green-Lanchoney, U.S. Air Force, Public Domain.

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Examples of Activism

  • Speeches
  • Picketing
  • Marches
  • Teach-ins
  • Strikes
  • Boycotts
  • Sit-ins
  • Fasting
  • Armed struggle
  • Culture jamming
  • Online activism

Find more examples using the search tools located throughout this guide.

Source: Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice

Guide Author

This guide was created by Kelsey O'Rourke, MLIS.