Be The Change: How to Make a Mind Map for Activism

Welcome to Be The Change, a series on grassroots activism, community organizing, and the fundamentals of fighting for justice. Primarily instructional and sometimes theoretical, this series creates space to share tips, learn skills, and discuss “walking the walk” as intersectional queer feminists.

We’re just a month into Trump’s presidency and I am stressed out. Every day it seems like there’s a new controversy or terrifyingly regressive Executive Order being passed and it’s been a challenge balancing self-care with staying informed. We’ve potentially got another four years of this bullsh*t and we can’t afford to burn out.

As we move forward it’s essential that our efforts be collaborative and creative. It can be difficult to motivate yourself to keep ringing the perpetually busy lines of local representatives, but a phone party with friends helps hold everyone accountable. That’s how I came up with the idea to create a mind map for activism. I couldn’t be the only one who was feeling overwhelmed, and creating a mind map with friends would give us an opportunity to bounce ideas and strategize together.

For those who are unfamiliar, a mind map is a diagram that connects information around a central subject and is especially useful in organizing thoughts. If you’re already meeting up for a postcard, tweet, or phone your representative party, try taking a creative break to explore other ways to manifest your activism.

I’ve been making so many protest posters lately, I decided to make this a no-budget craft and used the blank side of one for this project.

First I decided on a central theme. I chose “Still We Rise 2017″ because I wanted to concentrate on what I’d be doing over the rest of this year and I wanted to emphasize resilience.

There’s obviously no shortage of issues to tackle, but I decided to concentrate on a few rather than spread myself too thin. I summarized them as Women’s Health, Black Lives, No Human is Illegal, and Community.

Next, I decided on three actions I could take to support each of those issues. This part of the exercise really forced me to examine what I was currently doing and where my efforts were falling short. I settled on actions like “Donate sanitary kits to Downtown Women’s Center” for Women’s Health and “Fact check everything before sharing online” for Community.

I like to add to my mind maps over time, so I left some space for future branches. I added a few embellishments, but you can get as creative with pictures and colors as you want. Once you’re done, perch your mind map somewhere you’ll see it often to remind you of your commitments.

Not one for arts and crafts? There are plenty of Google tools available if you prefer a tech approach to mind mapping.

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Danielle is an LA-based writer/editor and moonlights as a tarot reader. Her work has appeared in Rogue Magazine, Scripps College Magazine, LA CANVAS, The Africa Channel, Matador Network, Wear Your Voice Mag, and FORM Magazine. She is the founder/organizer of Free the Nipple Yoga, a monthly women's workshop that promotes body positivity and empowerment. You can visit her personal blog at and follow her on Twitter.

Danielle has written 6 articles for us.


  1. ummmm i love this bc one of my goals for march is to think on the question of “how can i serve my communities well” and this is such a good bainstorming tool!!

  2. How does one donate to the Downtown Women’s Center? Can I just walk in and make a cash donation? Thank you.

  3. This is a great idea!! I’ve been starting to feel the burn out already and there is so much more to do! I think this will help me stay focused!

  4. Danielle, this is such a fantastic idea! I’m used to drawing mind maps for basically everything, but had never thought about them in the context of activism. I’ll do it ASAP!

  5. I love this idea and need it separately because I have been feeling v overwhelmed lately and put myself into a kind of paralysis because I want to do everything about everything. Thanks for the reminder to make manageable goals!

  6. Thank you! This was super helpful this week for helping me focus on doing concrete things instead of feelings.

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