The special thing about military spouses is that, just like our service members, we hail from communities that reach across the entire United States of America (and even the world). We represent diverse races, religions and spoken languages. Our families practice different traditions, hold various perspectives and have lived unique experiences.
And as we travel across the nation with our service members we often get to see and live alongside more people and ways of life than the average person may encounter.
For many of us, these experiences strengthen or awaken a resolve to become a social justice ally or advocate in our communities.
So when tragedies or injustices strike we may feel like the crisis is “hitting close to home” even if we are thousands of miles away. We live all over the United States and world. We make friends that we may have never encountered, except through this military life. And at some point we come to realize that everyone does not have equal access to the freedoms and privileges our service members have committed to protect.
“When you have a basic level of empathy or sense of fairness it can be so disheartening to see people suffering and being unsure how you can help.”
Our physical communities and neighbors change countless times. But this doesn’t mean we can not find ways to work toward the ideas of liberty and equal protection under the law. In fact, no PCS has to be a barrier to advocating for the American ideas of justice and the “pursuit of happiness” for all.
No matter where you currently reside here are 4 ways you can be a social justice ally.
Use Your Money To Be A Social Justice Ally
When a family has lost a member in an act of brutality, intolerance or hate they are not afforded the opportunity to only grieve their loved one. More often than not there is also the immediate concern of burial costs and legal fees (to fight against the injustice). A quick Google search can lead you in the right direction to find GoFundMe pages or memorial accounts where you can provide monetary support.
Additionally, regularly donating to organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ALCU) and Southern Poverty Law (SPL) ensures your funds go toward fighting injustices on a consistent basis.
Speak To Your Local Leaders As a Social Justice Ally
Contacting your elected officials to let them know your opinions can help pressure them into responding in a honorable fashion should tragedy strike your immediate community. Phone calls and emails are ways concerned citizens can make their leaders aware of their expectations.
Stand Up And Be A Social Justice Ally
When “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed by President Obama social justice allies everywhere rejoiced. Its repeal was the result of people from all walks of life speaking out and advocating for a fair and inclusive Armed Forces. Change begins when we decide to BE the change we want to see in our own lives and world.
You don’t have to be a member of a group or community in order to recognize their humanity and (quite possibly) your privilege. Don’t allow disparaging remarks to occur in your presence. People should not feel comfortable discriminating or tearing down others in front of you.
“Speaking up and standing out in your personal life matters.”
Volunteer To Be A Social Justice Ally
Military spouses are known for our dedication to volunteerism. Working to support the needs of individuals near and far is a tangible way to make a difference for someone else. You can also use websites like Volunteer Match to find more opportunities to volunteer for organizations with a passion for justice and human rights. If there are no local efforts underway consider organizing your friends and family around a mission that promotes equity in society.
Every day affords us the opportunity to be better, kinder and more useful humans. We can reflect on our lives and the lived experiences of others around us. How are they similar or different? We can listen to people when they tell us their life stories. We can choose to affirm, believe and support them.
Being a social justice ally means you are actively working toward creating a “more perfect union.”