There is often a high price to pay for being an activist, including feeling emotionally drained, being viewed as a troublemaker, placing one’s job in jeopardy, and becoming the target of backlash from colleagues at work or of harassment from intolerant individuals. ( Kiselica & Robinson, 2001)
Social change work is sort of like home remodeling and repair: any project undertaken will require a lot more time, resources and effort than anticipated. Social change is slow, labor-intensive, and often inefficient. Every new plank of change put into place can be torn down by fear and backlash, and we often have to rebuild again and again. The rebuilding can take place internally, and interpersonally, Each of us must define for ourselves what safe spaces and postures look like, and ways to access them. Many times we become tired and discouraged in the process. (Toporek, R. L., et. al., 2006).
Our strength for the ongoing struggle can be found in collaboration and coalition building. By working together we can educate others, and use our professional ethics and acumen to tear down ignorance and discrimination. We can use our unique perspective to analyze gender, sexuality, race, ability, and power as a force for change to dismantle structures that marginalize, isolate and oppress.
Join us in discussing safety for activists this Thursday October, 10, at 9 pm as we discuss the following:
What does safety for activists include?
How do you define safety for yourself?
What concerns do you have for present-day activists working for change?
What can we do better to ensure safety for activists?
What are you/ your agency/your community doing to ensure activists are safe?
Kiselica, M.S., & Robinson, M. (2001). Bringing advocacy counseling to life: The history, issues, and human dramas of social justice work.