"Social activism is the promotion and guidance used to cultivate changes in business practices, business policies or the government to influence social change. The duties of a social activist include communicating with policy makers, researching for the cause, and organizing responses for the media."
Social activism seeks to change and ultimately prevent the circumstances and situations that result in the neglect or marginalization of a group. Social activism is not a new thing-the early suffragettes were by any definition social activists, as were abolitionists, as were so many historical groups credited with changing the course of history. More recently you have the Civil Rights movement, the movement to create protections for the physically and mentally disabled in the form of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Occupy Wall Street movement as well as #BringBackOurGirls and the Umbrella Revolution, the literacy movements across the world, and so many more movements seeking to bring attention to and affect change for the situations of individuals and groups that are disadvantaged, marginalized, or in some cases, directly assaulted and abused.
At the core of each of these movements you have someone, or many someones, who looked at the way things were or are and said "wait, this isn't right-it needs to change". These movements weren't born fully formed-they started with one or two individuals who saw a need for change, and kept spreading their ideas, and as the movements grew, so did their influence. A movement doesn't need to be large or well-organized to be worthy: it may only be a hashtag-for now. It may only be a few people getting together for coffee or writing blog posts about their ideas-for now. You never know how and when something is going to grow into something bigger, though.
What does this have to do with books? Quite a bit-historically speaking, the women who spurred the suffrage movement were more educated and encouraged to read and speak out by family or friends than most women of that time. If Dr. King were illiterate, would he have been as successful in the Civil Rights movement? Would he have wanted to take the initiative if he had not been educated, if it had been illegal for him to read a book, as it was prior to the Civil War? We have access to books written about many of the varied social movements of history, from broad to individual perspectives, written to appeal to our children so that they can understand what they were about and why they were necessary. Literacy, of course, is near and dear to each and every bookstore owner across the world-with fewer literate individuals, there are fewer readers.
Social change and social activism is not just for radicals and revolutionaries-even a small movement or small change can make a difference. Part of the story of the Little Red Hen is that the Little Red Hen saw something that needed to be done (even planting a seed), and she did it. It didn't make a sweeping change, but it had an impact. The heart of the tale is that a little thing can be important, can make a difference, and that even if you are the only one doing what needs to be done, it's making a difference. #bearedhen is about seeing the need and doing what needs to be done-whether it's opening a bookstore, calling attention to a social problem, or pointing out discrimination or ethical violations; if you see something that needs to be addressed, don't wait for someone else to notice and take care of it. Take the initiative, make a plan, and #bearedhen.