Activism is often portrayed in the media as loud and angry. News stories especially gravitate toward photographs and video clips of people marching in streets and shouting into bullhorns.

Munjoy Hill resident Anne Manganello works on one of the raised beds where she grows fruits and vegetables at the North Street Community Garden in Portland in 2014. In the foreground are chives that are flowering. Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer, File

Activism can be thunderous and confrontational.

It can also be quiet and respectful. It can look ordinary.

It can be a librarian calmly handing a “banned” book to a child who has every right to check out said book from the library.

It can be a teacher showing up to work, day after day, continuing to deliver thoughtful lessons even though her work is underpaid and undervalued.

It can be buying food from local farmers or planting a garden.


It can be a teenager providing support to a friend being bullied.

It can be a husband driving his wife to a hospital appointment.

The right to peacefully assemble is essential in a democracy. Our world needs extroverts who are willing to march in streets and bring attention to issues through protests.

But there are many additional ways that people demonstrate support for the causes they care about.

Sometimes, activism can be as unassuming as taking a deep breath in and letting a deep breath out.

Emma Joyce

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