everyday activism

Pondering how best to catalyse discussion on this subject among people who may regard themselves as ‘everyday’ or ‘casual’ activists. I’ve responded to threads posted on the Pink Parent site and started a thread on the Rainbow Family Tree site. Then linked the two… now the question is, will anyone respond?

I described the term like this in a recent paper:

Many Digital Storytellers don’t regard themselves as ‘special’ but rather ‘ordinary’; similarly they don’t regard themselves as paint-throwing, capital ‘A’ activists but rather a more ‘everyday’ variety. They are just people leading lives, sometimes dull, sometimes dramatic, but always with paramount consideration for being true to themselves. They are the type of people who, when asked by a child at the checkout ‘Are you a boy or a girl?’ may just, if the mood strikes them, give a complex answer, thereby contributing to greater social awareness of gender diversity. In other words they are ‘everyday activists’.

And have started looking at how other researchers explore this concept:

“described by Mansbridge and Flaster as individuals who ‘may not interact with the formal world of politics, but they take actions in their own lives to redress injustices…’ (Mansbridge & Flaster: 2007)”

I think Molly’s story (part of the Rainbow Family Tree archive) is a brilliant example of Digital Storytelling as Everyday Activism!

Find more videos like this on Rainbow Family Tree

Update: Ha! I’m too cynical re social networking. Sophie posted a reply within minutes and gave me permission to cut and paste:

Thanks for your comments and the links, I hadn’t come across those before :-)
I think you have to use personal stories as that is the strongest way to connect with politicians and others. It’s the way we relate to each other in real life….we meet and we tell each other about our lives. Even more powerful is being able to relate those personal stories face to face. Jamie Briggs now has a mental picture of a same-sex family, he now knows we are real and that our daughter and our family exists within his electorate. By meeting face to face we have an opportunity to change mental constructs that people have built up around what same-sex couples and families are like.
It’s funny you use the term everyday activism as I also act as an advocate in my professional life. I often use the term quiet activism and my favorite quote is:

“If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to sleep with a mosquito.”

Anita Roddick, Body Shop founder (1942-2007)

Maybe we can get a discussion rolling ; )