If you feel strongly about an issue, you should stand up and be counted. Activism means taking action to bring about change.

There are lots of ways you can stand up and be counted

What is it?

It's when you take action to bring about change, usually in relation to a controversial issue - which can be as international as the war in Iraq or as local as the building of a new supermarket in your area. There are lots of ways you can stand up and be counted - this action could be taking part in an organised rally, boycotting certain products (e.g. non-Fairtrade bananas), or writing to newspapers and politicians to raise awareness.

Don't just stand there...

  • If you feel strongly about an international issue, do a web search to find any groups or charities that are campaigning around that issue.
  • Whatever the issue, you can write to or email your MP. You will always get a reply.
  • If it's a local issue, find out if there are any community groups already campaigning.
  • You could also consider starting a group at school or college.

What's legal?

In the UK you can pretty much say or do what you want, as long as it's within the law. So for example you can stand on a street corner protesting about the closure of a youth centre, but you can't grafitti your message on the wall behind you. If you're unsure about what is considered legal, have a look at the law on protesting.

BBC Advice factfiles are here to help young people with a broad range of issues. They're based on advice from medical professionals, government bodies, charities and other relevant groups. Follow the links for more advice from these organisations.


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