Young Activists Work With Oppressed Groups, Not "For" Them

Activism is trending collaborative, not volunteery.

Even though the wealth gap is widening, class lines between the 99 percent continue to blur. So it makes sense that the newest generation of activists speaks for both an oppressed group and themselves. The people involved in direct action like Occupy Wall Street and glitterbombing aren’t protesting Darfur or soldiers in Iraq they’ll never meet—they’re fighting to make their own lives better. Nonprofits like the Retail Action Project or Young Workers United don’t just bemoan sweatshops in China—they meld workers and community allies to advocate for employees’ rights here in America. Even disaster volunteerism is more hands-on; rather than just throwing money at Haitians and New Orleaneans, young people built alongside them. Today's causes aren't the result of guilt or charity. They're the realization that the world's problems are ours, too.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user Kelly Schott.