Because we know all activism is not the same, Center for Leadership & Social Change staff members wanted to provide resources that allow for the many ways anyone can engage in moving forward or supporting an issue they are passionate about. This is not an exhaustive list. These are resources that our team have used and continue to use to help them in their pursuit of equity and social justice.
If you have something to add to the list, please let us know! We would love for this to serve as a living community document that can support anyone, wherever they are on their journey of activism.
Florida State University Decision-making
In order to advocate for change, it is important that you understand how decisions are made at FSU. Here are just a few resources to help you navigate the structures of governance within FSU.
The Board of Trustees is the 13-member governing board for FSU that “sets policy for the institution and serves as the institution's legal owner.” The agenda (as well as date and time) for upcoming meetings can be found on the board's website. Members of the public may email firstname.lastname@example.org to request access to the Board of Trustees meetings, and public comments are permitted but limited to the subject of a meeting agenda. Webcasts of Board of Trustees meetings are archived online.
Contact: email@example.com or 850-644-1000.
Florida State University is one of 12 institutions in the State University System, which is led by a Chancellor and administrative staff, along with a Board of Governors.
FSU has a long history of student involvement and input in decision making. Student voice is protected in State of Florida statutes. Each year, every FSU student is able to vote for who will represent them at decision making tables.
“The mission of the Student Government Association (SGA) is to provide FSU students with representation, services, and advocacy within the university structure. The SGA provides quality leadership for, and accountability to, its constituency by recognizing that strength arises from diversity, engagement, and dialogue.”
Student Government is acts as:
- The voice of students to administration
- The voice of students in allocation of funding
- The student representative (SGA president) to the FSU Board of Trustees
SGA has three branches:
- Executive Branch
- Power resides in the Student Body President and Vice President
- Legislative Branch
- Power resides in 80 Senators representing FSU’s 20 divisions
- Meeting times and zoom links can be found on their website
- Students may speak during student and non-budgeted RSO comments without submitting a statement beforehand
- Outside of meetings, students can submit questions or petition their Senators online
- Meeting minutes are archived online
- Judicial Branch
- Power resides in the Supreme Court Justices, Attorney General, and the University Defender
COGS is “the official representative body of graduate students at Florida State University.” Its assembly is comprised of representatives from all 15 of FSU’s colleges.
Meeting minutes are archived online.
“A student-run think tank that produces research and opinions about past, present, and future campus policy”
Resources for students include:
Trainings & workshops
The mission of the Social Justice Ally Training program is to educate members of the Florida State community about issues related to social justice in order to develop allies who will promote an equitable and inclusive environment and serve as social change agents in a diverse and global society.
The Multicultural Leadership Summit, held on the Florida State University campus each January, focuses on building a foundation of knowledge that will enhance student success in leadership in the areas of multiculturalism and social justice. MLS educates participants to empower them to be agents of social change in an increasingly diverse and global community.
The mission of this program is to provide a space for Florida State University students to fully understand the range of diversity and multiculturalism, including but not limited to ability, socio-economic, age, rural/urban, veterans, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, gender identity & expression, religion, and faith structures through workshops that are focused on awareness, discussion and collaborative learning activities. Through the 8-week program held in the Spring Semester, participants are challenged to gain knowledge about how to support fellow students with various identities to create a more united campus. Weekly 2-hour workshops ensure that this vision can be met.
Allies & Safe Zones is an ally development program to promote acceptance and support of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Pansexual, and Two-Spirit-identifying (LGBTQ+) people. Allies & Safe Zones is coordinated through the offices of the Department of Student Governance & Advocacy at Florida State University and is offered regularly to the campus community. The program is open to all, regardless of orientation, identity, or expression.
Florida State University is proud to be a campus affiliate of the National Coalition Building Institute, an international, non-profit, leadership training organization that works to eliminate prejudice and discrimination throughout the world.
Members of the NCBI @ FSU team hail from a variety of backgrounds and roles on campus. They share a commitment to using the NCBI model as a proactive means to reduce oppression and discrimination and effectively navigate controversy and intergroup conflict in the campus community.
Campus Academic Resources
Better known as DIRECTO, the organization "enables ways to incorporate diversity and inclusion in research projects, teaching methods, and higher education life at FSU by
- "Offering a 'safe-space' for individuals, groups, and the Tallahassee higher education community to feel comfortable to discuss issues surrounding diversity, inclusion, and equity.
- "Connecting people and initiatives on campus that can increase diversity and enhance equity and inclusion."
The libraries has a Diversity & Inclusion initiative whose purpose "is to have a library that is culturally competent. Cultural competency is the ability to hold enlightened and mindful attitudes towards cultural norms and behaviors, this includes how people treat each other based on their various identities."
In addition to these initiatives, Bridgett Birmingham serves as Diversity & Inclusion Librarian for the library system. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tallahassee/ Leon County Resources
Becoming an involved member of your local community is important. These are some resources that can help you to become more involved in decision making, community groups, and neighborhood efforts.
Tallahassee City Government
- City of Tallahassee Government Organization Chart
- Tallahassee City Commission: Along with the mayor, the City Commission serves as Tallahassee’s governing body; “they set policies and rules by which the City is operated, including establishing City goals and target issues, as well as setting City tax rates.”
- Meeting dates, agendas, and minutes can be found online.
- You can use this online form to contact City Commissioners.
- Citizens can comment on any meeting item scheduled for public hearing. In order to comment, they must fill out a speaker form. Speaker forms are available at the support column at the entryway to the City Commission Chambers. (For more information, call the City Manager’s Office at 850-891-8200.) City Hall is currently closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Citizen comments for upcoming meetings can be submitted via online form.
The mission of Tallahassee Human Relations Council is to serve in an advisory capacity to the Tallahassee City Commission and to the Equity and Workforce Development on issues presented to the Council. Some of these issues include: promoting an understanding of human relations issues among and between members of the Council and the community, as well as internal diversity matters to improve the quality of life; developing relationships between diverse community groups; and establishing an objective process by which issues related to diversity in the community may be proactively addressed.
The County Commission is Leon County’s governing body. Its members vote on policies, rules, and taxes at the county level, while setting goals and priorities for the county.
- Meeting dates, agendas, links to video calls, and minutes are posted online.
- Public comments for meetings are currently being accepted via online submissions. For assistance submitting comments, contact: LCG_PublicComments@leoncountyfl.gov.
- Concerned citizens can email all County Commissioners to express your views as a citizen.
Leon County Schools serves 34,000 students at public schools in Tallahassee and surrounding communities. The Leon County School Board meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 6 p.m. in the Aquilina C. Howell Instructional Services Center at 3955 West Pensacola Street.
24-hour Support Hotline: 211 or 1-850-617-6333 To provide assessment, emotional support, crisis assistance, education, training and referrals with accurate, up-to-date resource info. The purposes of the 2-1-1 Big Bend Community Resource Database is to catalog community services, maintain accurate community information, provide information to the public at large, and link people with needed services.
Broader Organizing Resources
Caring about social issues and causes looks different for everyone, and can change over time. Here we compile resources that we've used to think about how we show up in this work, as well as the individual rights that are protected when we show up in more visible ways.
Deepa Iyer of the Building Movement Project offers resources to, in times of crisis, help answer the questions, "what are my values, how can I be aligned and in right relationship with them, what are the needs of the communities who anchor me, and what can I offer with my full energy?"
The Youth Activism Project is a nonprofit that "promotes youth-organized campaigns in the US and abroad that diagnose problems and propose solutions to their local decision makers and officials (like school board members), community elders, and elected officials."
American Civil Liberties Union
"The ACLU dares to create a more perfect union — beyond one person, party, or side. Our mission is to realize this promise of the United States Constitution for all and expand the reach of its guarantees."
ACLU Florida: Know Your Rights
Training for Change
Training for Change is a training and capacity building organization for activists and organizers with the belief that strong training and group facilitation is vital to movement building for social justice and radical change. The organization offers frameworks for social movements and a robust toolbox for action and training.
Understanding power and how it flows is crucial to successful advocacy work and organizing around a cause. Eric Liu offers a simple introduction to the types of power in society and how it flows.
To engage more in depth with this topic, you can read Liu's book, You're More Powerful than You Think: A Citizen's Guide to Making Things Happen.
Library of Congress: Right to Peaceful Assembly
According to the Library of Congress guide to Peaceful Assembly, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the United States Congress from enacting legislation that would abridge the right of the people to assemble peaceably, and the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution makes this prohibition applicable to state governments.
Things you can do RIGHT NOW
Museums featuring social movements
Due to COVID-19 museums are operating differently, many are offering virtual tours and other information on their websites. Take a few moments to visit and learn from these:
- Learn more about the Seminole Tribe of Florida by visiting the Ah-tah-thi-ki Museum
- National Musuem of African American History and Culture
- Equal Justice Initiative, which is home to the Legacy Musuem and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice
- Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
Learn about local history
Learning about local history is vital in providing insight into issues that continue into the present. In Tallahassee, there are a number of great resources for local history:
- The Grove Museum
- The John G. Riley Center Museum
- The Carrie Meek-James N. Eaton, Sr. Southeastern Regional Black Archives Research Center and Museum at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University
Donate to a cause that matters to you.
It doesn’t have to be much: $5, $10, $15 can go a long way!
Learn about candidates running for office in your community.
We have a primary election on Aug. 18, and a general election in November. If you are not sure where to start, in Leon County, you can visit the Supervisor of Elections Office here in Tallahassee. If you reside outside of Leon County, you can learn more or find you local elections office at the Florida Division of Elections.
Learn more about social justice issues
Watch one or two movies, documentaries, TED Talks, etc. each week to learn more about social justice and equity. (Right now many outlets such as Netflix, Hulu, and Xifinty have a Black Lives Matter section; and during cultural months these same venues tend to highlight movies, songs, television shows, and other media dedicated to creating a deeper insight into the culture and lived experiences of that group).
Self-care/ Coping with burnout
It is not possible for us to be in full activism mode at all times. We must balance our commitment to our cause with the need for self-care. Here are some resources you might consider when you need to pause to refuel and rejuvenate yourself.
Mindfulness & Meditation
FSU offers this unique reflective space, located between the Psychology Building and the College of Medicine on W. Call Street. "There is no correct way to walk the labyrinth; there are many possibilities for your personal reflective practice. For some people, the path is a metaphor for a journey." Whatever your reasons for visiting the labyrinth, check out these tips for making the most out of the experience.
The Meditation Room is located on the third floor of the Global and Multicultural Engagement Building, better known as the Globe, at 110 S. Woodward Ave. The meditation room is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday for "any member of the Florida State community who seeks a quiet, simple place to reflect or meditate."
Aliya Khan discusses ways to recognize and manage activist burnout in this piece for Everyday Feminism:
"You can distinguish burnout from bad days and bad fits if you find that a) it’s persistent over time, b) you experience it in more than one situation, and/or c) if it’s a change from how you used to feel in similar situations."