Social justice — the idea that everyone in a society, regardless of the identities they embody, can have an equitable shot at success and happiness — is a goal that seems unrealistic for many people. “It’s a pipe dream, Sam,” they say, smugly. “Life isn’t rainbows and butterflies,” they say, adorably.

To achieve social justice we will have to break down a lot of huge barriers that exist on a scale far above the individual, but even the biggest scale change is nothing more than the sum of a whole lot of individual efforts.  My goal with this site is to support you in doing just that: making big change on an individual level.

Following are a whole lot of individual efforts you can make today that will be significant steps toward that biggest scale change we need for a socially just tomorrow.

  1. Read through this entire list, acquaint yourself with the breadth of options before diving in

    Raising awareness: it’s hard to fix a problem you don’t know exists

  2. Learn about how diversity and intersections of identity work
  3. Read Peggy McIntosh’s “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” of White Privilege
  4. Read 30+ Examples of Cisgender Privilege
  5. Read 30+ Examples of Male Privilege
  6. Read 30+ Examples of Heterosexual Privilege
  7. Read 30+ Examples of Christian Privilege
  8. Read 30+ Examples of Middle-to-Upperclass Privilege
  9. Write an essay listing and addressing all of the societal privilege you have (feel free to email it to me)
  10. Learn about how gender is much more than male and female
  11. And learn how sexual orientation works for those non-binary gender folks
  12. Discuss what your gender means to you with a friend you perceive to have the same gender, and one whose gender is different
  13. Read how to avoid being a stereotype
  14. And learn why positive stereotypes aren’t positive
  15. Write a list of all the stereotypes (positive and negative) you can think of for a social group
  16. Have a focused conversation with someone who doesn’t share one of your privileged identities about their experience
  17. Repeat #15 with all of your privileged identities (e.g., White, straight, man or cisgender, middle-to-upper class, non disabled, Christian)

    Developing competency: learning how to educate and intervene

  18. Practice these 5 best practices of effective social justice work
  19. Oh, and consider these 10 tips for thickening your skin to handle the emotional drain
  20. Take a free online college social justice course, like this one from the British Columbia Teachers Federation
  21. Sign up for mailing lists from social justice publications to get new learning material in your inbox (sidebar on the right for mine)
  22. Introduce the idea of “social justice” to someone who’s never heard the term
  23. Teach someone when it is okay to say the word gay
  24. And explain why “non-straight” isn’t a good alternative to the word “gay”
  25. Talk to social justice educators about their stories and reasons for doing the work (here’s one of mine)
  26. Comment on a social justice focused article you read and ask for a clarification of a point you didn’t understand
  27. Learn how to respond if someone uses non-inclusive (bigoted) language
  28. Practice different responses to various forms of non-inclusive language with a friend
  29. Attend a social justice seminar/conference in your area (use Google, or comment below to find one)
  30. Learn how to explain that bisexuality is real, not just “a step between gay and straight”
  31. Write an essay analyzing one of your privileged identities, like this one on straightness
  32. Understand that there is a difference between political correctness and being inclusive
  33. Ask for feedback from others on your approaches to social justice work
  34. Implement that feedback in meaningful ways in future endeavors

    Taking action: small decisions that can lead to big shifts of progress

  35. Share all of the things you learned from this list with your social groups and networks
  36. Stop following the golden rule, and follow the platinum rule instead
  37. Make sure your school, business, org, etc. has gender-inclusive forms
  38. Use person-centered language, remembering that any aspect of a person is just that: an aspect of a person
  39. Remember that being an ally or social justice advocate is a full-time gig — there are no breaks or vacations
  40. Confront a friend or family member when they use non-inclusive language
  41. Confront a stranger when they use non-inclusive language
  42. Understand that intentions are less important than outcomes, and hold yourself accountable
  43. Help others understand the intentions vs. outcomes thing by sharing this handy edugraphic.
  44. Set a maximum number of hypocritical acts you’ll allow yourself per day, and hold yourself to this
  45. Lower the number of hypocritical acts you allow yourself by one after a successful month
  46. Incorporate one of these 5 ways of making the world more trans-friendly into your life
  47. Use the term “partner” instead of boyfriend or girlfriend
  48. Support businesses that support social justice
  49. Sign on to support a cause at, or volunteer to help a local cause; consistency is more helpful than a once in a while big burst of help
  50. Use your privilege in one area to lift the status of an underprivileged group: donate money, write a blog, organize a rally, start a peer training program
  51. Build your own world
  52. Comment below with another concrete way you can work for social justice.
  • 50+ concrete things you can do today to make for a more socially just tomorrow