If you’re reading this, you probably consider yourself a progressive in your political and social values and, in all likelihood, are or have been an activist/supporter of one or more of the urgent issues that define our time. But given current and recent events, it’s very possible you’re feeling stunned, disheartened and overwhelmed by the global horrors of climate crises, war, terrorism, increased isolationist/conservative nationalism, diasporic human displacement, and a range of other tragedies and miseries.
I will not minimize or sugarcoat what is happening. But I do want to express my conviction that proactive endeavors by citizens on a massive level worldwide can turn the tide. And this is genuinely possible if individuals and organizations big and small are aware of each other, connected by communication and mutual support, and a shared willingness to be hopeful even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. There have been terrible events and periods throughout human history. But owing to combinations of determination, organization, compassion, and interconnection, humankind has survived, often overcome, and in many instances thrived. True, these are scary times. But collectively, we have the power to…yes…change the world.
Indeed, these efforts are already happening. Those individuals and organizations big and small are working right now and have been for decades. Progress, albeit what many may see as a lesser scale than hoped, has been achieved and is increasing. As I was preparing to write this article, an old saying my grandmother epitomized kept coming to mind: “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” If all you are seeing right now is the darkness, it may be because you haven’t yet lit your own candle, nor have you seen the candles of millions glowing all around. Hope is alive and struggling.
Of myriad examples, I’ll begin with the Global Citizens Circle (GCC) for which I am a senior advisor. For more than 42 years, GCC has fostered diversity, inclusion, and civil discourse aimed at creating constructive change. Tens of thousands of intergenerational participants around the world have engaged in hundreds of Circle discussions, empowering a global learning community of social action. Through these Circles, people from all sectors and perspectives have met each other, discovered each other’s work, learned new approaches and tactics, and in some instances have formed partnerships and other alliances. GCC helps create connections and offers opportunities for the creation of communities of action.
Global Citizens Circle is now being revitalized – in part because of a new alliance with the Social Change Initiative (SCI) whose mission is “To improve the effectiveness of activism for progressive social change particularly in divided societies and to influence the way this work is funded and supported.” Because SCI closely aligns with GCC’s mission, we’re working together to relaunch Circles under the umbrella theme “Intergenerational Listening and Learning: Delivering Progressive Social Change.” A new community has been formed.Download Article 500 Club