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What kind of changemaker are you?

HOW TO DISCOVER YOUR ACTIVIST SUPERPOWERS

Changemakers can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They might want to call themselves an ‘activist’, they might not. Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t have to hold a placard, shout down a megaphone or glue yourself to anything to be a changemaker. You can be a changemaker when you’re marching arm in arm with civil rights activists, or just quietly taking the bins out.

At The Body Shop we know that anyone who follows their instincts to change society for the better is a changemaker. And each individual will have a unique skill (or superpower) to bring to any justice movement. Read our guide to discover what your personal activist talent is.

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Women discussing

THE CONVERSATION STARTER

You engage in the meaningful exchange of ideas with other people. You have no problem chatting to people you don’t agree with. People come to you to learn about issues because you are a great listener but you’re also bursting with reliable intel.

Your superpowers:

● Empathy
● Respect 
● Storytelling

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Woman raising hand in audience

THE ORGANIZER

You know exactly how to make things happen. You’re practical. You know that all the work you do behind the scenes is the real driver of change. Because social change doesn’t happen on its own. You need a process and a plan.

Your superpowers:

● Strategy
● Problem solving
● Organization

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MY LIFE AS A… ORGANIZER

Emma is a Community Building Social Justice advocate from the UK.

“I study revolutions in history and it’s clear to me that the only successful revolutions always started with grassroots activism. Last year, at the Black Lives Matter protest I was inspired by how many people I didn’t expect came out in support. For some people, issues like climate change can feel too ‘big’ so I start local but with a global outlook. I organize repair workshops in my local town hall to get people thinking about sustainable living.

Anyone can do social media activism, but sometimes the hard work - engaging the community, getting people on board has to happen on the ground. I want to change the system. I think political systems can be messy but they work, that’s why I am pursuing a career in politics. I think we have to work within the systems we’ve got and get organized.”

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Woman in discussion

THE KNOWLEDGE BUILDER

You spend your time engaging with the world around you, what injustices are occurring and what can be done about it. Your understanding of how everything fits together contributes to your credibility as a conversation starter.

Your superpowers:

  • Growth mindset
  • Fact-finding
  • Attention to detail
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MY LIFE AS A… KNOWLEDGE BUILDER

Fatima is a climate justice advocate from France.

“It is my mission to advocate for The Global South. It is the area most impacted by climate change, but it’s frustrating to me that the issues are always discussed in the West. We talk about smart cars, but all the mining for the parts for those cars is done in low income countries. Who is talking about that?

It goes both ways too. I’m from Niger and, when I go back to speak to farmers, many of them don’t realize their ruined crops are a result of climate change. The more knowledge you build, the better you can share it and rally people around the cause. It’s the only way to bring underrepresented groups into the climate justice movement.

It saddens me to say this, but as a black, African, Hijabi woman living in France, I know that before I open my mouth people have prejudices. I have forced myself to become a knowledge builder so that people take me seriously.

Movements always start with a gut instinct, a feeling that something is wrong, but we need to persuade powerful people to change their minds. To really speak truth to power you need the knowledge.”

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Women writing

THE QUIET PRACTITIONER

You may not be the noisiest activist, but you like to lead by example. Whether you are living sustainably or avoiding fast fashion, you understand the power of a conscious choice. You live your values. You think about how you live and what it means for wider society and explore creative ways to contribute. You know your daily practises contribute to something much bigger.

Your superpowers:

  • Morals
  • Accountability
  • Taking action
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Woman standing on beach

MY LIFE AS A… QUIET PRACTITIONER

Caitlin Newago is an indigenous rights activist from Wisconsin, US.

“I am from the Ojibwe tribe, south shores of Gitchi Gami (Lake Superior). Right now my tribe is protesting the drilling of a new oil pipeline on our native land. This is a sensitive issue because there is a dark history of oil pipelines threatening indigenous ways of life and poisoning the environment. Indigenous people face police brutality, discrimination and constant threats to their food sovereignty. It can be traumatic dealing with these issues on your doorstep.

It’s crazy to me that there are people in America right now who don’t know indigenous people still exist. But I have a chronic illness that prevents me from being on the front line. Instead I live my values and raise awareness for issues that affect my people in my own way. I see it as my duty to keep the Ojibwe language and traditions alive. I have even written a little dictionary of the Ojibwe language. I practice our rituals with my son, we pray and smudge together. I incorporate beautiful Ojibwe floral designs into my art using historical methods like birch bark and porcupine quills.”

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women marching

THE MARCHER

You thrive in a group environment and love to show up with people who share your values for what you believe in. Marching, strikes, protests, you’ll do whatever you can to raise the profile on an issue.

Your superpowers:

● Inspiring others
● Accountability
● Making connections
● Reaching out

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Woman protesting with megaphone

THE FRONTLINER

When you take the lead, people get behind you. You are the leader. The initiator. When you see an injustice you stand up and tackle it head on.

 

Your superpowers:

Tenacity
Courage
Social Awareness
Leadership

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MY LIFE AS A… FRONTLINER

Ben Pechey is a LGBTQI+ activist from York.

“So often LGBTQI+ people are seen as a set of statistics. There’s a lot of ignorance around the issues that affect us, so I’ve made it my full time job to raise awareness in the most joyful and fabulous way I can. I am an educator creating content that helps people navigate the difficulties of living outside of the norm. I also do work in the community going into spaces where LGBTQIA+ issues might be scary or unfamiliar and discuss them openly with people.

As a non-binary person, it took me such a long time to accept myself, I feel like I have to make sure nobody ever feels the way I did. But putting myself out there isn’t always easy, because I can’t just switch off my identity. I’ve had death threats from people who have a lot of hate for the work I do. Then again, I’ve had DMs from 15 year olds who felt lost and said my work has made them feel they could talk to their parents about who they are. If one person feels more empowered to live their truth it makes everything worth it.”

We’re certain that there are many more styles than this. Tell us how you do things @thebodyshop on Instagram, using #BeSeenBeHeard