How can we approach activism in a socially distanced world? After all, all the problems we had before Covid are still there. Many of them are getting worse–economic inequality, violence against black people. Elections are coming up. We’re stuck at home. What can we do?
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Protesting During A Pandemic
Black Lives Matter march here in Providence in two days. I Really want to go. Is it wise to go during Corona? I’ve read the articles about how the Spanish Flu came roaring back after everyone gathered for parades in Philly, for example. In no way do I want to wade into any kind of crowded situation. Even if it’s outdoors.
And yet, the continuing violence against black people cannot stand. And if it’s going to end white people have to be part of the solution. After all, If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Without getting in to a long discussion of the value of protests—which is an important examination to have. Deciding whether to go on Saturday brings up the bigger question or what do we participate in activism in a socially distanced world? What’s helpful? what’s impactful? And what can we do besides nothing?
Embracing Activism in a Socially Distanced World Amongst the Chaos of Corona
Maybe at this point you’re wondering if this episode is for you. Maybe activism has never really been your thing. Or maybe you’ve done some stuff in the past but lately, you haven’t been doing much to create change in the world since coronavirus hit. If that’s the case, I want you to understand that it makes perfect sense. We’ve been dealing with huge change to the way we live and a lot of fear about our safety and the safety of our loved ones. It’s been an enormous shock to our systems. And when that happens, it’s hard for us to think about much beyond pure survival.
That’s to what Daniel Goleman, who write the book Emotional Intelligence, calls it ‘amygdala hijack’. and it keeps us very self-centered. It’s impossible to feel empathy when your brain is being hijacked by high stress. It cuts off access to your prefrontal lobe where your more evolved emotions, like compassion, are processed. We’ve been living in this new reality for long enough now that our initial shock has worn off.
Also, it’s been long enough that some of the crazy stuff we were inured too before it all started has begun happening again; there’s been a mass shooting again. George Floyd, a black man, was murdered by white policemen in Minneapolis. And we are raw now, and things we had become hardened to now just feel untenable. Also, our filters are wafer thin. Which is actually a good thing. Tensions are high, there’s rioting, there’s unrest but extreme discomfort is what ushers in change.
Your ‘Line In The Sand Moment’
I had the great honor to help Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, the grassroots army of mothers and others lobbying for common sense gun legislation in America, write her book, Fight Like a Mother. And in that book, she talked about how everyone has a line in the sand moment. When something happens that hits them so hard in the heart that they get up off the sidelines and start taking action. We are primed for those moments. So if you’re listening to this, I want you to take it as all the reinforcement you need to find a way to get involved.
Some socially-distanced things you can do right now are
Getting involved in supporting a candidate you believe in
All kinds of ways to do it; writing postcards, making phone calls, I’m even sending out texts for a candidate here in Providence –her team gave me the phone numbers and the scripts and I can do it in dribs and drabs here and there, from home. Whoever you know and like who’s running, they need you. Of course, you can donate too, or instead. Your time is priceless but your money sure does help, too.
You can share stuff on social
And step out and be seen talking about the things you care about. We each have more influence than we recognize. Even if you don’t get likes people will see it, and it will plant a seed in their minds.
You can certainly watch videos and read books about the issues that matter to you. Pick your subject and go google it plus reading list and you will get some great recommendations. Local independent bookstores are offering curbside pickup. Or you can borrow the kindle version from your library.
I am NOT tooting my own horn here, but last week after George Floyd was murdered and riots broke out I said on our neighborhood text string, has anyone seen reports of the riots? I’m feeling so many feels this am. And it started a discussion that led to several people making donations to black candidates, and how to talk to our kids about racism, and figuring out how we could go to the protest in a socially-distanced way. A lot of good came from those few words. I am NOT tooting my own horn here, I didn’t do it to be a better person, I did it because I was upset and needed to talk about it and it helped us all.
Daily Tiny Assignment
That’s four ways. Four ways you can jump in today and keep going and promoting activism in a socially distanced world. Your tiny assignment is to pick one thing and do it. Just break the seal. Get out there. We need you. Your voice matters. Use your power for good.
Calm The Eff Down
If you need help quieting your nervous system in the midst of all that’s happening, I pulled all the tips from my 21 Day Calm the Eff Down Challenge (that I ran at the end of April beginning of May here on the podcast) into a pretty mini e-book that can be yours for FREE.