There’s a call for change to help make the world a better place. Wondering what you can do to contribute and make a difference?
It’s a simple phrasing that leads to more complex questions: How to fight misogyny, racism, anti-semitism, sexual-antagonism, anti-immigration, fat-shaming? How to prevent more harm or promote more health, safety, humanity and less hate in the world?
Everyone of us has different views, different stories and definitions as also different ideas about how to participate. Change can be brought about with a wide range of people working collaboratively across a wide range of activities rather than imposed through top-down measures.
One has to embrace all the four spaces – individual, relationship, community and society – to create and sustain long-term social change. As individuals, we have to take action in every one of these areas, in many different ways and places. This makes us part of a larger, more powerful totality – one inclusive of individuals and organizations, which too are comprised of individuals, making an obvious case in point.
History tells us that successful social movements rely on various, overlapping actors, working across a broad spectrum of engagement involving people at all levels. Activism has to ingrain itself into every level of society and institutions that humans are part of, be it families, schools, places of worship, city streets or legislatures and courtrooms.
Even if the individuals are political, their personal beliefs need not be confined to them alone. That’s the reason why grassroots movements go beyond more than a vital response to moral shock and turn catalysts.
Recently, the Women’s March on Jan 21 was the largest, most diverse and organic display of a “better nationalism” that this country has seen in decades. It’s over now, and all of us need to keep moving forward until we fully recognize and include each other, all those who are still experiencing and speaking up about their exclusion. Remember that social change often happens through grassroots movements, but real change has to happen through the system.
Even though the past has seen powerful voices for change, they have been unsuccessful over the history of our nation to propel women, especially the marginalized, into leadership or power.
Today, we have a cabinet that is the most white and most male in a quarter century. Political parties and the media powerhouses are steeped in system justification of the status quo and very unlikely to bring about the change that’s the need of the hour.
There are as many ways to take action as there are people in the world. That’s why the grassroots movement is vital to change. And each one of us matters. We have to continue our march, alone and together.