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October 14, 2016

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How do you want to be a citizen?

July 27, 2017

“Each of us needs to stop being a passive observer of the suffering that we know is going on in the world and start identifying with the sufferers.” Grace Lee Boggs

 

Life — whether it’s your job, your relationships, just getting a healthy meal in your body — can be pretty overwhelming. Add daily threats to your neighbors and our democracy? It’s hard to avoid a shutdown (or a meltdown).

 

We are being inundated with calls to action, books and articles we ‘must’ read, and peer pressure to show up at every political brunch or resistance training. I have read myriad articles that urge me to turn off the news to stay sane and engaged, while also encouraging me to stay plugged in so I stay motivated. How do I do this right?

 

Movements grow by leveraging ‘movement moments’, when tremendous numbers of people are motivated and actively seeking opportunities to participate in structured action. We are in such a moment now. This is a beautiful and messy time — organizations across the country are struggling to create infrastructure to absorb interest and strategically build a sustainable base of members. And hundreds of thousands of Americans are searching for ways to engage that feel connective, impactful, and meaningful.

 

Organizers have a critical role building such movement infrastructure, but you as an individual must decide how, why, and when you want to dive in. We are entering a new epoch of responsibility. As in a traffic jam, so too in a democracy: We are not just “in” a democracy; we are the democracy. Complacency is not an option.

 

In order to stay sane and stay connected, here are a couple of key questions for identifying how and when you want to show up.

 

What issues or political events make you particularly emotional? Focus on the issues that make you feel more alive. We will burnout if we try to take it all on. We will be much more effective and fulfilled if we focus on the issues that enrage, embolden, and excite us, and work with the communities we are directly connected with already. Take 10 minutes to list the issues you care most