Call to Action: Educate Your Activist Self

Raise your hand

if you were NOT a political activist before this election

That’s not surprising. Neither were many of us. Political activists were the people we supported, with our donations, along with their causes. They weren’t “us” – we had to get ready for work on a Tuesday morning.

This election, however, drove home that just sending money to a large variety of progressive causes, regularly voting, and signing the petitions outside of our grocery store is not enough activity to protect our values and interests. So for nearly two months now we’ve been forming groups, following up on Calls to Action, and we might have even attended a protest. But, what happens after January 21st? What then? What do we do? How do we keep going? Do we just let all this energy slide? How do we remain active?

“Movements need ongoing resistance – otherwise, the powerholders can just wait until the march is over and continue ignoring movement requests.  Movements require sustained pressure for change at many levels.  It takes time to build, but without ongoing resistance, movements don’t achieve their goals.”  Daniel Hunter, Building a Movement to End The New Jim Crow:  An Organizing Guide, p.7 Kindle Edition

We don’t know how to build a sustained activist organization

We need to know how to defend or promote our values. Well, folks, it’s time to get ourselves educated. The Trump agenda requires our consent for implementation. We must resist and continue to resist.

“when many of us think of powerful historical movements, we think of heroic individuals.  We’ve been fed an image of movements that is individualistic.  In fact, relationships, especially groups, are the building blocks of movements.”  Daniel Hunter, Building a Movement to End The New Jim Crow:  An Organizing Guide, p.20 Kindle Edition

This is our new normal:

Daily tweet beatings, misinformation, slander, double-speak, cowed leaderships, naked power grabs. You can either surrender your outrage and chew your anger until you can stomach swallowing it, or buckle down and learn how your own strengths contribute to active social change.

We don’t have a lot of time. The next election cycle begins January 22nd whether there are ads on TV or not. Twenty-six Republican gubernatorial races are up for grabs.  The outcome of these races directly effects redistricting and voting rights in those states. All 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested. 

 Time to educate yourself

Here are some additional readings and references on political activism, but please connect with us and share your own recommendations.

Nuts and Bolts: Community Organizing Books that Work

The Movement Action Plan: A Strategic Framework Describing The Eight Stages of Successful Social Movements

Daniel Hunter is an organizer and strategist with Training for Change, an organization which provides activist training.

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