making social change
Some thoughts on making productive social change Affecting Social Change
is much more than mouthing slogans or sound bites. It can mean devoting hours - days - years - spending time with those who are reluctant and unwilling to hear the truths of others or to work at changing existing social policy or considering other ways of living. Yet making the fundamental changes in the values
that underlie oppressive social policies require interacting with those who oppose us. This must be done before we get to the voting booth, before we get to legislative committee hearings or public forums. We need to get our points across and to affect change in board rooms and private offices; in juvenile and adult corrections, mental health, the courts, in educational, cultural, legislative and personal spheres ~ where ever decisions affecting all our lives are made regularly and daily ~ and we need to do this now! We must infiltrate the meeting places
of adversaries and decision makers who oppose eliminating wrongs. We must insist upon and make impact by directly negotiating policy change, laws and directions for the future. Once there, being heard, we have to make our points clearly enough to be effective advocates for change. Now, affecting change doesn't necessarily make for chit chat or small talk at parties. You won't be making friends with those you meet and confront at policy plannings or while negotiating change, nor will your own friends necessarily want to know about the details of your efforts. Even if we cannot immediately make changes
to oppressive social policies or practices, our mere presence in some of these meeting places can prevent additional harmful policies from being implemented. Also ~ remember to stay in touch with others who know what you say to be true, and to refresh and replenish yourself from behind-the-scenes battles rather than burn yourself out. Stay healthy to battle successfully.
HISTORY: Written 11 November 1993 for a presentation at an Abuse Survivor's "Speakback" held in Waterbury, CT
Labels: commentary, philosophy, social change