By Kerri Romeo
“`The first thing I’ve got to do,’ said Alice to herself, as she wandered about in the wood, `is to grow to my right size again; and the second thing is to find my way into that lovely garden. I think that will be the best plan.’”Alice
What was your intention when entering the political Wonderland? What did you hope to improve? The environment? Healthcare? Education? Were you interested in peace? Social, economic and racial justice? Women and children’s rights? Animal welfare? Getting money out of politics? It was clear what our purpose was and is.
“…the only difficulty was, that she had not the smallest idea how to set about it.”Narrator (from Alice in Wonderland, Chapter IV)
Our best of intentions did not deliver the results we wanted within the time we had expected. Activism is hope without definitive direction or guaranteed results. Do you sometimes stop and wonder ‘What am I doing? Or ‘What can I do?’ Or ‘Those in power make all the rules…change is impossible…why even bother?’ Sometimes the answers don’t come. You can feel small. But Alice reminds us to stay curious. To keep asking questions. To stay engaged. It is our adventure in activism.
The most familiar image that comes to mind when it comes to activism is crowds of people rallying and/or marching together for a common cause. This can be empowering to some, but it is not for everybody. The success of protests could not be without other activists and actions behind the scenes that lead up to each climactic moment. That memorable speech. That walk across the bridge in Selma. That new bill or law passed. That first vote by a woman or a black person. The suffragette movement officially began in 1869 (in America) but the 19th Amendment to the Constitution that allowed women the right to vote was not official until 1920. Martin Luther King, Jr’s leadership began in 1955 but the Civil Rights Act wasn’t passed until 1964. These triumphs were not instant or without struggle and were not accomplished single-handedly.
“Each of us has a unique part to play in the healing of the world.”Marianne Williamson (from The Law of Divine Compensation: Mastering the Metaphysics of Abundance)
The next adventure in The Wonderland Campaign begins with The Peaceful Puppy
What does your activism look like? Are you Wonderland Alice, digging into the rabbit holes and root causes? Or are you Looking Glass Alice, seeing issues from an alternative perspective? Is your expression practical or artistic? Do you prefer conversation or contemplation? What is your strategy: Active and social like a game of croquet or thoughtful and introverted like a game of chess? What awakens you: Injustice or an aspirational role in leadership (as a non-career grassroots politician motivated by community)?
Activism doesn’t look a certain way. It is simply a combination of action and awareness. It may be organizing or participating in a protest OR it may be writing a poem like Victoria Lynn Hall’s Messy or a play, music, a book or a screenplay (because sometimes fiction has a way of tapping into our emotions more readily than news stories because we have either lost trust or become desensitized to real life as a defense mechanism). It may be painting or creating. Your career may be a form of activism if it supports a cause you are passionate about. It may be deep discussions about current events like Ask Jesse’s Cabinet Concerns or teaching us all how to relax in Conversations with Lorie. Activism can be as simple as listening to someone’s story (really hearing them) or choosing to support small businesses rather than shopping on Amazon. It could be writing or calling your state representative about a bill you support or sharing the Amplifire Project’s latest newsletter that includes more links and action steps. If your heart is leading you towards an action (whether internal or external), if you stay open-minded and curious, if you are sharing your gifts…that is authentic activism.
“When hate is loud, love cannot afford to be silent.”Marianne Williamson (Twitter, 2018)
Kerri is an advocate for the introverted activist. Often at a loss for words in person, she writes to make sense of the world and connect with others. She wishes for more curiosity & kindness in the world.