Yopp is where you go when someone shouts, “Educate yourself!”
Yopp is where you go when you’ve suffered deeply at the hands of society and need to feel heard.
Yopp is where you go when your uncle makes a post on facebook completely misrepresenting what privilege is but this is the third time this week you’ve tried to explain privilege to someone and you are simply burnt out.
Today I wanted to tell you the story of why I created the social justice blog Yopp, what Yopp’s goals are, and how you can get involved in making those goals a reality.
In the world of social justice, one of the first things you learn is how, through no fault of your own, there is a huge body of info that you never knew existed. In school, we’re taught so little about the impact that oppression has on marginalized groups or how the history of social activism looks when told from the perspective of the marginalized. As a result, we end up pretty much being responsible for our own education and development.
Over the course of my self-education, it bothered me that there wasn’t any singular place that I could go for quality, in-depth, informative articles about social justice. I learned a little bit from here and a little bit from there, and even though I saw newcomers with the same questions over and over, I struggled to find single articles that answered our questions. It seemed like anyone was capable of identifying the harmful behaviors society had taught them but most people didn’t know where to start.
I also noticed that explanations about privilege and microaggressions and discrimination were always specific to one group at a time: In my journey, I learned about sexism first, and then racism, then later I added on homophobia, classism, transphobia, fatphobia, Islamophobia, and eventually ableism to my pool of knowledge. I noticed that treating these issues as completely separate topics that needed to be studied one at a time frequently backfired: “I have male privilege? Wait, I have white privilege? Now I have cis privilege? This is too many things to remember!” People felt overwhelmed by the constantly growing and evolving body of rules and terms and would throw their hands up after learning about just a few causes.
It bothered me that this piecemeal strategy was the default approach despite the fact that there were plenty of commonalities between the different forms of oppression that were pretty easy to extrapolate to other groups once you understood them. But because the different branches of activism were so separate, I regularly saw the same activists who would fight hard against certain behaviors in their oppressors, turn around and engage in the same behaviors against a different oppressed group that they weren’t a member of.
I also knew that many people found the way that social activists communicated to be preachy and judgmental. I understood that what they were seeing as drama was actually completely justified anger on the part of people who had been oppressed for hundreds of years. I firmly believed that people who had spent their life making themselves smaller and unobtrusive were fully within their right to express themselves exactly the way they needed to, and not just prioritize the needs of the people that had hurt them so many times. And I knew that non-marginalized people watching them didn’t understand that context.
I have this body of knowledge because I spent the last 8 years dedicating myself to learning everything I could from the sources that were available to me: Books by marginalized authors, research that has been translated and narrated into impactful articles available online, and most of all, from listening to the individual experiences of people that I’ve met. I did so out of a deep-seated sense of obligation to reduce harm whenever possible and my love for learning.
My personal experiences as a young woman that has had to manage disability, chronic illness, poverty, and several types of mental illness, gave me direct insight into many of the issues that I researched, but it also gave me compassion for the issues that didn’t affect me directly. As my knowledge grew, between my research, my compassion, and the skills I already possessed as a writer, I discovered people found clarity, understanding, and validation when I wrote about what I learned.
So, I made Yopp to accomplish the following goals:
- To provide an online school and an all-encompassing hub of resources that teaches the overarching principles of the mechanics behind social justice, in order to teach more issues, more efficiently.
- To validate both the perspective of the oppressed and the person just learning about oppression for the first time, since most of us will be both people at some point in our lives.
- To create connections between the different aspects of activism I found most important: Education, the touching stories of individuals, recommendations of media, criticisms of common faulty arguments, and calls to action.
- To maintain a platform for other marginalized writers to share their stories and perspectives.
I made the material free because I wanted it to be accessible to as many backgrounds as possible, and because I wanted to lower the threshold to you using the articles as references for when someone doesn’t understand a concept in social justice and you don’t have the words to explain it to them.
I called it Yopp after Dr. Seuss’s “Horton Hears a Who.” Yopp is the noise that the little Who made so that together with the noise of all the other Who’s, the volume was loud enough to convince the other animals that the Who’s were real and deserving of safety.
I cannot end any form of oppression by myself. No one can. My hope is that by creating these resources, I am effectively training hundreds or maybe even thousands of people how to be social activists themselves, thereby amplifying the power that I have as an individual into something much, much bigger than myself.
Why You Should Invest in Yopp
In April of last year, I started a Patreon for Yopp so that my community would have an opportunity to be financially involved in Yopp’s growth over time. Patreon is essentially a crowd-funding website that enables individual fans of a content creator to pay an amount of their choosing on a monthly basis. $5 a month from 50 different patrons is a really big improvement for creators whose work would otherwise go largely unpaid.
It’s always been important to me to keep the resources on Yopp accessible to everyone and not hide them behind a paywall. But although guest writers are always compensated for their work, I create the majority of the resources completely unpaid.
By becoming a patron, you would be acknowledging the value that these resources have brought to you, whether that is because of something they taught you or because linking or quoting an article enabled you to teach another person, thereby continuing this chain of spreading information.
Yopp is also a long-term project that is always in progress. I currently have 40 additional educational articles planned that will build on one another to create a fully functional curriculum of sorts. (You can read the existing educational material here at Yopp Academy.) These articles are extraordinarily work-intensive to write and I am not always in good enough health to be working on them, so this educational foundation will likely take years to complete.
I don’t need a lump sum of money upfront, I need people who are passionate about my work and are in it for the long haul. I need investors that want to see me build Yopp up to its full potential, over a long period of time. I’m looking for supporters that recognize how much the work I’ve done already is worth.
I want you to come on this journey with me, with whatever it is that you have to offer, even if that is only $1 a month. If you have the financial privilege to do so, by investing in Yopp, you are supporting and enabling the education of future activists who don’t have access to that financial support. You are helping keep this content free and accessible to everyone. You are enabling me to offer you the best version of my work that I have.
Becoming a patron is super easy and bonus content rewards start at the $1 tier! Click the button below to become a patron and support Yopp.
Buy Our Merch
Another fun way to get involved in the Yopp community and support Yopp financially is to buy our merch. On our Zazzle store you’ll see our line of Ableism Bingo Cards, individually designed and hand illustrated bingo cards with phrases and scenarios tailored to specific types of chronic illness and disability.
And on our Redbubble store, you’ll find a wide range of products with our logo on it (in different colors too!) and you’ll find original designs drawn by me that follow themes of disability and chronic illness awareness, mental health, and social justice in general.
Anytime you buy Yopp merch, 15-30% of the cost goes to supporting Yopp directly! Check out the full range of products that you can purchase with these designs.
Other Ways You Can Help
I know not everyone is in a position to contribute money to a cause they care about, so I also wanted to outline other things you can do if you want to see Yopp succeed and grow!
Subscribing to this blog is the best way to ensure that you get notified about every article as well as updates and announcements relevant to Yopp. Now when you subscribe, you’ll receive my article, “Guide to Being an Awesome Ally” which is exclusively available to subscribers, and it’s free!
If you don’t receive a confirmation right away, make sure to check your spam filter when you first subscribe and add Wix’s auto email address to your address book to prevent it from disappearing into spam in the future.
Share on Social Media
Social media is an awesome way to get the word out about the content you love, but the way you engage with it makes a huge difference in how far it spreads. Many platforms use algorithms that deprioritize content that leads you to leave their site, meaning, I can post a link to a blog post on my social media, and even if you follow me/are friends with me, the link might not show on your feed. If you want to help substantially increase the chances of my content being seen, consider engaging with me on social media in the following ways:
- Could you share my articles on your social media? At the bottom of every article, there are a series of buttons that allow you to share that article on several different social media platforms. Sharing my articles is probably the most impactful way of promoting my work.
- Could you also share the link to my patreon? Here’s the link to copy and paste: https://www.patreon.com/kellahannawayne
- When you see my work pop up, could you give it a like, a retweet, or a clap? Engaging with my posts in these super easy ways really increases its reach.
- Yopp doesn’t have a comment section, but when I post my articles on social media, could you leave a reply or leave a comment?
- Can you follow me on as many platforms as possible? You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Medium.
Click on My Ads!
The ads listed at the top and bottom of my blog do earn me money without costing you any, but only if you click on them!
In addition to running this blog, I am also a freelance writer! I love writing about the causes that are important to me andI love being paid for that writing. If you’re looking for articles or pieces that are meant to teach something, that tell a story, or that blend the narrative with the informative, I’d love to write for you. I specialize in topics like disability, chronic illness, mental health, trauma, and abuse but I’m happy to discuss or pitch other topics that fall in my wheelhouse. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in working together.
Invite Me on Your Podcast or Youtube Show
If you’re a podcast or youtube creator and you’d like to talk with me about the topics listed in the previous section, I would love to be on your show! I really enjoy the opportunity to convey information orally as well as in written form and going on your show gives me an opportunity to reach new audiences about this blog. Here are interviews that I have done in the past to give you a sense of what I’d be like as a guest.
Re-Publish My Work
I try to be careful about the free work that I do because I want to normalize paying writers and paying marginalized people for their expertise. If you don’t have the budget to pay your writers but you do like to feature guest bloggers and you think my work would fit well with your blog, allow me to recycle or republish my work on your blog and I’m likely to do it! Contact me at email@example.com if you’re interested.
Here’s a list of articles to share to get you started:
- Power Dynamics Part 1: What Happens When Someone Has More Power Than You Do?
- Explaining Privilege: An On-going Series
- Redefining Disability: An Identity of Adaptation and Creativity
- A Comprehensive Guide to Assisting with a Mental Health Crisis
- You Strike a Woman, You Strike a Rock: Gender-Based Violence and Xenophobia in South Africa
Thank you to everyone who has offered me emotional and financial support so far! I couldn’t have gotten this far without you.
About the writer: Kella Hanna-Wayne is the creator, editor, and main writer for Yopp. In addition to creating a collection of educational resources for social justice, she works as a freelance writer specializing in content about her experience with disability, chronic illness, mental health, and trauma. Her work has been published in Ms. Magazine blog, The BeZine, Betty’s Battleground, and Splain You a Thing. You can find her @KellaHannaWayne on Facebook, Twitter, Medium, and Instagram.