“Since Shadowhunters started, everything about my life has changed,” says Katherine McNamara (you probably know her as Clary Fray from the Freeform series). “To have people out there who are as equally passionate about the show makes all of the blood, sweat, and tears worthwhile, but I’m still just me. I’m still trying to figure out what it means to be an adult, all while being thrown into this world of fantasy.”
But recently, Katherine has been working on changing reality in a major way—she’s using her passion and platform for good as an ambassador for Girl Up, a United Nations-sponsored initiative that helps and encourages girls in developing countries. “Little differences can add up to make a change,” Katherine explains of her work. “For example, money raised has been used to purchase bikes. We’ll take a bike directly to a girl who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get to school.” And good news for those of you looking to make a change: This is something anyone can get involved in. “I’ve met several high school students who are ambassadors in their own right and are huge advocates,” she notes. “We have to do whatever we can to make our world a better place.”
The first step? Starting a dialogue about important issues right here and now. She does this with her co-stars. “The cast is always talking during hair and makeup,” Katherine says. “We’re such a diverse group, and we spend so much time with each other, so when we have conversations, we bring our own perspective to debate things in a very real way. For example, I had a lot of friends who were really worried about their future over the course of the election. Looking at these people hurting opened my eyes to the issue of passivity and the issue of our generation not feeling like they can make a difference or have a voice. It’s our responsibility to make our voices heard.”
Katherine wanted to share this message on how to incorporate what she calls “positive proactivity” into your daily live. Keep reading for her inspiring words. — Kristie Dash
“They say the only constant in our world is change, and boy, have we ever seen that to be true in recent years. This can be a bit terrifying for some. But this is where we come in. We are a new generation of open-minded individuals, willing to listen to views other than our own. We have the power to initiate the change we want to see in the world, and I believe it is essential that we take advantage of this opportunity. People are choosing to make their voices heard and to speak out for what they feel is right. I applaud those who are choosing to no longer be passive bystanders to the issues in our society. Political and social activism is one of the most important responsibilities we have as members of the national and the global community; however, we have to be sure we take action that has a positive influence, not a negative one.
“At this point in time, we have to unite—as a community, as a generation. We have to take action, speak up, make our voices heard, but do so in a way that is inclusive. Before you lash out with raw emotion, take a moment. Pause. Listen. Assess the situation and find a way to not only highlight the problem at hand but be a part of the solution. Listen to every perspective, not just those that align with your thinking. Educate yourself as to the root of the problem. If you understand the situation fully, from every side, from past to present, you can better serve the change that needs to be made. We have the power, the opportunity, and the passion to ignite positive change and truly make a difference in shaping our world. We as a society are at a turning point. Take a stand. Practice positive proactivity.” — Katherine McNamara