In today’s social climate, one may be afraid to speak up about the many injustices seen around the nation. Too afraid of the backlash, too afraid that their brand may be tarnished, or too afraid of the unknown.
However, one young woman coming straight from the “A” by way of Flint, Michigan is using her voice and fighting injustices left and right, like a modern day Power Ranger! I had the pleasure to speaking with Shar Bates, also known as the Red Carpet Slayer for her impeccable interviewing skills. You may have seen Shar at Atlanta’s red carpet events choppin’ it up with your favorite celebrity, but now she wants to use her voice for a much higher calling.
How did you become an activist? What drew you to this work?
“To some degree I’ve always been an activist. Growing up in Flint, MI, I grew up seeing a lot of police brutality. My senior year, I watched an officer beat a mentally impaired man with handcuffs because he wouldn’t give his name. After speaking with the mother, it kind of did something to me.
I became much more active after the presidential election and how it empowered so many racists and prejudiced people to use their privilege to perpetuate petty hate crimes, all the way up to assassinating people simply because of the color of their skin or religion, prompted me to find ways to use my influence to spread awareness and assist in even the smallest ways.”
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What does it mean to be an activist in today’s society?
“It’s defined as “a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change.” But I think it’s more solely a professional change maker that is ACTIVE with ACTION who’s continuously making people aware of certain atrocities against minorities.”
How can one equip themselves to be an activist in today’s social climate?
- READ, READ, and READ some more to verify before sharing your message.
- You can talk about a lot of different things, but focus!
- Find a specific social justice issue and own that lane!
- Become the go to person for that particular issue
- Always find ways to be engaging as possible, as people have short attention spans nowadays
- Find similar minded people and different groups in your area to build alliances and partnerships with.
- Build a plan of action on steps you can take to alleviate the problem as an end result, but also smaller steps that everyday people can do that doesn’t take much time (like posting on social media)
- Spread the word of your cause as much as possible, but in order to be an “activist” you have to be “active in action” and not just talking about it.
In the age of social media, how can people support activism socially?
“We’re in a digital age, where we have more power than we know in social media.The simple share of a picture or repost of a video can spark another person to do the same and lead to a worldwide viral moment!”
What are the characteristics voters should look for when electing a candidate?
- A proven track record
- What is their success plan and how will it adversely affect your community
- Look at the area in which they’re campaigning for office and see what the biggest problems are and cross-reference how their plan will spread or alleviate those problems from the viewpoint of a citizen and make your own judgement
On a scale from 1-5, with 5 being the highest, how important is activism in the 21st century?
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What are the top 3 important do’s of a 21st century activist?
- Provide information of specific issues consistently to keep the people informed and spread awareness
- Make a plan to alleviate or lessen the recurrence of the issues
- ACTUALLY BE ACTIVE through action and grassroot efforts, not just on social media, but also in person, in the very community you’re fighting for!