Effective activism is a long term process. There have been individuals and organizations at work doing commentaries about child protection in British Columbia for some time. Perhaps we are at the intersection now at which our collective concerns can merge into a movement for change. Citizen engagement has been effective in the past and it can be again. Uncovering the principles that produce effective activism is the need right now. Inspired by an excerpt from environmentalist Paul Rogat Loeb's Soul of a Citizen, I wish to suggest some principles which work for people who speak to numerous challenges including keeping a local school open to aggressive cleanup of the Gulf oil spill.
We want to do something to change the way child protection work is prescribed and practiced in British Columbia. If you live elsewhere the suggestions below can similarly apply.
Suggestion #1: Begin where you are. You don't need to have all the answers or information and you don't have to be perfect at expressing the need.
Suggestion #2: Approach this action in steps. Set your own level of involvement so you are not submerged in the work load.
Suggestion #3: Build a supportive community. Much more is accomplished when a group of good people come together online or in person.
Suggestion #4: Be strategic. Determine what it is that you are agreed you should accomplish. Find allies and together decide how you can best communicate the urgency you have identified.
Suggestion #5: Enlist those who are uninvolved. Volunteerism is not common, so many people with their own concerns, fears and doubts must be encouraged to participate and when they become active they are capable of great achievements.
Suggestion #6: Look for improbable allies. The wider you spread the circle of interest and involvement, the greater becomes the probability of breakthrough to change.
Suggestion #7: Persevere. Continue. The longer you work at advocating change the greater the measure of change and the likelihood of accomplishing that change.
Suggestion #8: Enjoy the journey. Changing an aspect of our world for the better should not be gloomy work. Savor the company of good people and other assorted soul lifting activities.
Suggestion #9: Dream big and think large. Jettison the fear of taking on the most egregious injustices, and tackling them on a provincial, national and even global scale. Small actions have a history of shifting the course of history.
Suggestion #10: Listen to your heart. Your heart has dictated your involvement from the start and it will fuel your continued engagement.