Social Movements: Are we gaining steam again?

Posted on December 16, 2008. Filed under: America, Making Change, Social Activism | Tags: , , , |



My interest in social movements has heightened a lot in the past few months.  Maybe its the increased civic engagement during the election.  Maybe its the amazing session I attended at Independent Sector about creating your own social movement.  Either way, I have become fascinated with how social movements work, how they get started, why people join them.  So many great things have happened because of social movements.  The fact that people can gather to solve some of life’s worst problems is rather amazing.

Today, there are many social movements working side-by-side.  Some of these movements have been working for decades, while others are just beginning.  Some current movements are Service Nation, the LGBT Movement, the Reproductive Justice Movement, and the Environment Movement, just to name a few.

I think, now is the time to take our social movements to the next level.  All the pieces are ready, the people are ready, everything’s ready!

What do you think, in economic times like those that we are experiencing right now, is there room for social movements to take precedence again?  I think so.  I’ve heard more than a few times, that the greatest things happen in times of crisis.

As part of my new year’s resolution, I am going to take some of the passion I have to move some of my own community’s movements even further.  I am specifically excited about the We Vote project with the League of Women Voters.  We began the project last year to get neighborhoods interested in voting in their local elections again.  The Voting Movement (if that’s what we want to call it) is increasing, and I think we are going to be able to make it explode this year. Heck, you never know if what you’re doing is going to make a decades of difference.

So, I want to hear from readers.  What social movements do you want to be a part of in the next year?  What issues are driving your passions right now?


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2 Responses to “Social Movements: Are we gaining steam again?”

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You betcha. In order to be as productive s possible, I’ve narrowed my focus. Grassroots empowerment is the core and I’m trying to find the most basic direct level I can do that at. Good Morning rEvolution (which I see as a movement, not an organization) and growing intentional community in Grand Rapids are my “venues”.

BTW, one of the people I’ve found most hope restoring in the past few years is Paul Hawken and the ideas in his book ‘Blessed Unrest’. I’ve got the book in print and audio, but there are articles, interviews and videos available online which cover the main ideas. If you’re interested, I can send along a few URL’s to save time.

I think it is important for the organizations and movements to realize and remember that we are part of a larger movement (that is the core message of ‘Blessed Unrest’) – AND to share resources/information and cooperate on projects where our movements intersect. Something we could be doing better now, is connecting and building relationships so that we can see where the intersects are, share the information we have and not have to build relationship from scratch when we get to the places and times where we are working together.

Joy, thank you for the information. I see you are working on building intentional communities in Grand Rapids. You may be interested in helping out with the We Vote Project of the League of Women Voters Grand Rapids.

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