Tag Archive: activism

July 29, 2014

Creative Change 2014

I just facilitated the 6th Creative Change Retreat at the Sundance Institute in Utah.  The amazing experience leaves me grateful to my friends at the Opportunity Agenda for trusting me with the design and facilitation of such a significant convening.

Today more than ever I am convinced that the change we want to see in the world is a change that demands the evolution of consciousness and culture.  As the artist and the activist come together – as they become one – we will be able to join into a different kind of intervention.

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June 24, 2014

Agree on Process

pillars

You might have picked up that I’m down on too much process and too much meeting.  It’s a funny place for someone that makes a living facilitating.  It is part of a semi-conscious effort to look at the opposite of my core assumptions and seek the wisdom there.

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October 1, 2010

Malcolm’s Missive

Malcolm Gladwell has certainly whipped up something of a firestorm, at least among social media and network enthusiasts.  In a sense, his timing couldn’t be better as this very morning IISC staff gathers with some very bright and committed network building thinkers and consultants to take our ongoing conversation about networks for social change the next step, with some practical application in our collective sights.  I expect, and hope, that some of the energetic on-line conversation Gladwell has inspired in our community will continue during this in-person gathering.

In case you missed it, the author of The Tipping Point published a piece in the recent New Yorker entitled, “Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted.” Read More

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October 1, 2010

Malcolm’s Missive

Malcolm Gladwell has certainly whipped up something of a firestorm, at least among social media and network enthusiasts.  In a sense, his timing couldn’t be better as this very morning IISC staff gathers with some very bright and committed network building thinkers and consultants to take our ongoing conversation about networks for social change the next step, with some practical application in our collective sights.  I expect, and hope, that some of the energetic on-line conversation Gladwell has inspired in our community will continue during this in-person gathering.

In case you missed it, the author of The Tipping Point published a piece in the recent New Yorker entitled, “Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted.” Read More

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October 1, 2010

Malcolm's Missive

Malcolm Gladwell has certainly whipped up something of a firestorm, at least among social media and network enthusiasts.  In a sense, his timing couldn’t be better as this very morning IISC staff gathers with some very bright and committed network building thinkers and consultants to take our ongoing conversation about networks for social change the next step, with some practical application in our collective sights.  I expect, and hope, that some of the energetic on-line conversation Gladwell has inspired in our community will continue during this in-person gathering.

In case you missed it, the author of The Tipping Point published a piece in the recent New Yorker entitled, “Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted.” Read More

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August 27, 2010

Movement Time

Six weeks from now, on October 10, 2010, 350.org is sponsoring a global work party to spread and deepen awareness about and inspire further action around our growing climate challenge.  This grassroots movement is spreading at a time when most governments and businesses seem inexplicably stymied about how to make fundamental commitments toward shifting unsustainable behaviors.  And it feels like we are on the edge of a tipping point, perhaps spurred by this summer’s record breaking heat wave and dramatic weather events in places like Pakistan and Russia.  So consider signing up for or hosting a local event if you have not, and take a moment to read this call to action by co-founder Bill McKibben following the failed climate bill in Congress – “Get mad and then get busy.”

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November 9, 2009

Information Power

In this world where encyclopedias are written by millions on-line, policy change is influenced by citizen lobbyists through internet organizing and micro acts of inspiration and hilarity are seen daily on You Tube, the Tactical Technology Collective has created a video that illustrates this power called “10 Tactics for Turning Information into Activism”. They asked 50 human right activists: “What is info-activism?”

Be inspired by their answers!!!!

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July 22, 2009

I Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident

As I sat down to write this morning, I was pulled in two different directions. And laughingly realized (again) that I am pulled, actually, toward creating the bridge between them. Recently, Ellen Gurzinsky posted a fascinating article on her Facebook wall by Derrick Jensen called Upping the Stakes: Forget Shorter Showers – Why Personal Change Does not Equal Political Change. Jensen describes in detail that we become convinced that our individual actions will be enough to address major issues like climate change – and in so doing, stop short of addressing the deeper structural issues at play, and the main culprits – capitalism, industry and agriculture. And so he advocates for changing our focus to structural activism.

I also read a fabulous article about a retreat Pema Chodron did in Seattle this week, in which she talked about Boddhisatva practice – and specifically about the importance of not “getting hooked” with emotional reactions that lead to our own and others’ suffering. She describes that this way of being in the world creates real transformation. And in her amazing way, leads us in the direction of personal transformation to bring about transformation in the world. Read More

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June 5, 2009

On, Women, Revolution and Love

I’ve never been much of a feminist. In the crucible of my political coming of age, I internalized a strong message. I could either be a ‘race woman,’ devoting myself to improving the conditions of black people, or I could ally myself with bourgeois white feminists. There were no other choices, and clearly only one was acceptable. A small group of female African American seminary students was working out a ‘wymist’ theory that took gender, race and poverty seriously but I didn’t take them seriously at the time. I constructed my identity primarily around race. Like many African American women who’ve played a prominent role in the struggle for freedom and justice, I would advocate for the community as a whole—no particular emphasis on women. Focusing on women, and especially highlighting sexism and misogyny within the black community, was an especially hard row that I didn’t want to hoe.

In the past two years, I’ve begun to take women’s work – organizing among and on behalf of women – more seriously. Why? Because I’ve begun to see a unique source of power I had missed before. I’ve worked with incredible African American and Sudanese women in the Sisterhood for Peace who working toward peace for the whole of Sudan. I’ve wept as I watched documentaries about the horrors facing women in Darfur and as I read A Thousand Splendid Suns, set in late 1980s Afghanistan. I’ve learned with great pride about Liberian organizer, Leymah Gbowee, who catalyzed the Women in Peacebuilding Network—a movement of women who were sick and tired of losing sons, brothers, and husbands to a 14 year civil war—and whose actions led to the war’s end.

From Sisterhood For Peace.

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April 16, 2009

Scooter Reflections on Social Media Tools

Vespa.NEWNEW

Riding into IISC this morning by scooter, I was reflecting on some things that have happened in the last week as a way of getting ready for a conversation I;ll be in this afternoon about how to bring more social media tools into our consulting practice. As we are working globally with groups (among which is a beginning field of Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace) and are attending to our carbon footprint, we’re looking at ways to deepen our practice in this regard.

A few things came to mind. I was reflecting on a number of important things I’ve seen happen for advocates over the past week on Twitter. The Moldovan “twitter revolution” that came about because six friends were drinking coffee, discussing how upset they were about what they saw as election fraud and decided to try to start a flash mob, gathering their friends to protest. They were expecting a few hundred to come but by the time they got to the square, 20,000 people were waiting – and the votes had to be recounted. (Click here for an article about this.)

Or the Egyptian blogger, journalist and human rights activist Wael Abbas, who was arrested over the weekend and tweeted constantly everything that happened to him. This was passed around on twitter so that he ended up with hundreds more people following him by the end of the day – and was released. As Ervin Staub talks about in The Psychology of Good and Evil: Why Children, Adults and Groups Help and Harm Others, this was a powerful demonstration of the importance of bystanders actively witnessing atrocities and making it known that they are – in this case, in a virtual space.

And then there was the Twitter and Facebook firestorm that happened over the weekend about Amazon’s “de-ranking” books with gay and lesbian content. Within a few hours, the story was the top story on twitter and (from my small section of Facebook) was also one of the most frequent things being written about on Facebook. People were quickly signing petitions, passing along information about how to write to Amazon.com and starting a boycott until they changed the policy. Within about 24 hours, Amazon.com came out with an apology and has promised to fix it. (Click here for an article about this.)

While I personally am waiting until the books are all ranked again before I’ll shop from Amazon, it’s clear to me what a difference social media tools can make. They’re fabulous for spreading news quickly and for organizing a response.

And what about how to work together virtually – beyond quick responses to situations? What are the tools for that? I’ve been thinking a lot about this – more to come!

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