How do we create change?
There is no one way to take action. To be part of a movement, you don't always have to take to the streets.
This post is inspired by quotes from our panelists at the Grrl Zine Fair. These will be marked in quotations and overlaid in our graphics. All other opinions are our own.
"Having an impact on one person, is a win in my books."
We had the pleasure of hearing from India Ysabel, on how "People think that activism has to look a certain way, but this isn’t true. It can look like anything." Not every activist has a social media following. There's no requirement for you to make a name for yourself before you can have an impact. Some of the most powerful movements have been started over a cup of tea and a conversation. Just look at the Great Schlep. India reassured the audience, "Change doesn’t always happen on the streets, it can happen in education, in the workplace...community can be fostered anywhere. It doesn’t matter where you are, you can always create community and connections."
"Anger is the input and then joy is the output. You need to have both"
Eliza Hatch talked about how "It's really key to break down your skills," when thinking about dipping your toes into the world of activism. Whilst we're comfortable with the idea of musicians channelling their anger into something creative, we're not as familiar with recognising the output of finance or operations volunteers as a form of activism. But it's just as important as those taking to the streets, writing placard headlines and campaigning.
Selfhood is an entirely volunteer-led organisation. Which means we know how everyone, from our community managers to our data team have incredible value as activists. With any skill and passion, you can start your journey as an activist. For Eliza, it was a matter of "breaking down [getting started] into two different parts: marrying a passion that [she] had with a tool/skill that [she] had."
"Sometimes a little seed turns into something that flowers"
Zainab Asunramu told the crowd, "The driving factor" of her path to activism was her "lived experience." Adding,"We’ve had enough of the polished politician. The only qualifying factor you should have is that you should care."
This sentiment really echoes our own at Fo_. Lived experiences are essential and it’s also so important to look at yourself and what makes you happy, what makes you angry to decide what you might want to change.
Zainab left us with the thought, "Everybody in this room is an activist. We all do things everyday to change things in our community."
"My hope is that we never have to ask permission to make a change"
Noga Levy-Rapoport brought to the debate the argument that we shouldn't “have to ask permission to make a change or act on what we feel is right." It was a powerful reminder that “you don’t need credentials or a degree to be an activist - our own experiences are enough." We say all the time that everyday people can drive change. You don’t have to be an expert to make an impact.
Thinking of creating change?
Here's a roadmap to follow:
- Find a cause: Think about where you want to create change. Is there something in your environment, society or your community that need shaking up? By channelling something you see a need for, you can be sure it will be important for someone else too. Identifying this means you can then create a plan for how you’re going to get there.
- Find allies: Connecting with people with a shared passion is a powerful way to get started. Start with your friends and inner circle and form an informal team who share the same vision and values. Community is really key to driving change, having people around you who support you and who are working with you to drive forward change. Don't forget to see if anyone around you is already campaigning for the same cause - resources shared are resources doubled!
- Build an online presence: You don’t need to be a social media expert, and you don't need thousands of followers. Creating a space online for people to share ideas, resources and reach you helps build momentum and spread the word of the work you’re doing.
- Look after yourself: Burn out is a very real thing so we have to look after ourselves. Make sure you create time to check in with yourself and your well-being. Plus, joy is an essential part to driving change. Make sure you're not too stressed to appreciate the progress you make.
We’d love to hear how you are making space or thinking about creating change. Get in touch!