Boss Up with Bevin Your dream life is at the end of your comfort zone

2017-01-23

What Kind of Activist Are You? Free Five Minute Journaling Exercise!

In light of the tremendous success of the Womens’ Marches throughout the country this weekend, a lot of people are feeling a strong call to action but don’t know where to start. I have a simple, five minute journaling exercise that can help!

I think this event was so legendary that our kids are going to think of it like we think about Woodstock. When I was young I always asked people who were young adults around that time if they went to Woodstock. Everyone has a good story about it, even if they weren’t there.

On Friday Dara, me and my friend Rick Sorkin implemented Love & Resistance, a Shabbat Dinner party centering activist uplift. We had a number of amazing presenters and Dara’s facilitation of ‘From Words to Action: Changing the Way we Organize with Love & Resistance’ was a hit. (She’s a professional facilitator and she’s fabulous.) I thought the content of her thirty minute facilitated discussion was a fabulous place for folks to use for self-reflection about their activism.

The pics aren’t in from the event but here’s Dara at the Madonna Inn!

Dara broke down five types of activists.

Protestor
If you are the first out on the picket line, you love to participate in boycotts, you are totally into calling your Senators and Congress folks, you might be a Protestor.

Protector
Unfortunately, Dara’s example for this type happened to her on the way to dinner. At the ATM in Silverlake, getting cash to pay for the restaurant, a man walking by screamed “Get all your money you Jew bitch.” For real. So if your inclination if you saw this happen was to roll up on Dara and find out if she’s okay and figure out how you can help her, you might be a Protector. Same if you are on a Southwest flight (where there are no assigned seats) and you sit next to a person of size to keep them from getting hassled by fatphobic seatmates. Or if you engage in other actions of one to one solidarity with folks who are vulnerable for a host of reasons… you might be a protector.

Bridge Builder
If you were invited to a meeting to talk to Drumpf supporters, would you do it? Do you want to figure out how to connect with people who don’t believe in the same things you do? Do you believe empathy and understanding can help us end racism, sexism, homophobia and the like? If so, you might be a Bridge Builder.

Healer
If your activism stems from a place of offering meditation, yoga, mental/emotional/spiritual/physical healthcare practices. If you gather people together to create healing, or practice self-care you might be a Healer.

Art Maker
If your activism is in the form of making art or music, if you hear “write for an SEO project working to make the internet more positive” and you immediately email them about it, this might be your form of activism.

The stickers are what folks in the room identified as. You’ll note glitter stars are a theme throughout the event. Photo by Tristan Taormino.

Dara then broke out groups of each type of activist (knowing that people fall into multiple categories.) I adapted the group work to journaling prompts here:

Consider the 5 types of activists. For this exercise, I want you to think about the type of activism you feel most drawn to right now. (Picture yourself doing each type of activism. Whichever one rings with the most joy, that’s what you feel drawn to.)

1. In your experience, what’s working about what activists in this area are doing?

2. What are the biggest challenges these activists are facing?

3. What could these activists do to improve the way they organize moving forward?

4. What’s one thing that you would be willing to do to improve the way you engage in activism?

If you find yourself currently engaged in a different type of activism, apply these questions to that type in a subsequent journaling session. If they are different, journal about why you’re active in an area that is not what you are drawn to!

My piece was about Mariah Carey’s Lingerie Lifestyle as applied to social justice. Photo by Tristan Taormino, who helped us by co-hosting, donating a prize and inviting folks!

Doing this simple and powerful work has already impacted how I perceive people in my life and helped me understand better how to work in coalition with them. At the event I noticed when we talked about Bridge Building there were people in the room who actively roared against it. That’s totally okay if you have a strong aversion to one type versus another, it takes all kinds! In my opinion, Bridge Building is essential work to creating change, but so are all the other types of activism. Healing is also essential—and sometimes activism means powering down, healing yourself and staying alive.

I also extra loved that there were report backs from each group. Big takeaways I loved were Protectors saying to remember to stay in listening mode and let folks be autonomous when you’re working in solidarity. Protestors saying it’s been 60 years and we’re still protesting the same stuff. Bridge Builders saying to remember to see people as people, not as monoliths as their ideas. Art Makers saying they need to make sure they are using their art for activism and standing behind what they believe.

Photo by Tristan Taormino.

Whether your activism is protesting or protecting, we need you more than ever so that we can collectively take that marching resistance energy and shift that arc towards justice under the weight of our boots/heels/wheels/loafers/sneakers/sensible lesbian sandals!

Our event was made possible with a grant from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. We asked our guests in lieu of tickets to donate to Project Q, a fabulous non-profit in Los Angeles that serves LGBTQ homeless youth. If this resource is valuable to you, consider a donation!

2017-01-16

Honor the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other Social Justice Heroes on January 20th, Inauguration Day

What a weird juxtaposition–this week in the United States we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and we experience the inauguration of an openly racist, xenophobic, rapist. I’ve been thinking a lot about what individual activists can do to keep our spirits up in spite of what is to come. I think it is vital we resist. I also think that if MLK, Jr. was still alive he would lead us in peaceful, loving resistance. Because we don’t have his leadership in person, we can be inspired by his legacy to do something on January 20th!

I’m sure there’s some of y’all who are just going to self medicate to make Inauguration Day survivable. That’s totally okay–stay alive! We need you! But if you want to do something, I have compiled a list of ideas to get your juices flowing. How can you build up your light and the light of others?

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

1. Host a dinner.

Bring friends together, talk about how to find hope, past times you struggled and triumphed, remember how we got through the Bush years. Discuss interrupting White Supremacy, social justice movements that we can learn from and build on, and share things that are giving you hope and resilience. Repair the World has some great hosting guides for dinner discussion (from a Shabbat perspective) around racial and social justice.

Dara and I got a calling from the Goddess to plan a dinner focused on Love & Resistance, a sort of revival for social justice. (We’ve got so much going on we tried to ignore it, but the way callings work it just couldn’t be squashed.) We want folks to feel energized to change the world and work for peace. We engaged my friend Rick Sorkin as a co-host and it has rolled out into something really fabulous. I can’t wait to share about it!

The ultimate measure of a person is not where they stand in moments of comfort and convenience, but where they stand in times of challenge and controversy.
–- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

2. Share about social justice ancestors that are meaningful to you.

What if our feeds were full of hope and stories of resistance on January 20th instead of doom and gloom?

I’m really interested in bringing in the legacies of social justice folks who didn’t rise to the level of international notoriety that MLK, Jr. did. So many people have left their footprints in our past. Ever since the election, when I pray I ask for help and resilience from our social justice ancestors who bled so that we can have the freedoms we do.

Write about people’s stories who inspire you. Especially if you have a Grandmother or relative who is unsung but who inspires love and resistance! I love those stories. Feel free to link below in the comments and hashtag #loveandresistancejan20.

3. Bang pots and pans!

At 6PM Pacific time there is a coordinated neighborhood action called Bang the Pots, Raise a Din in keeping with the Latin American tradition of registering protest against the government by banging pots and pans. What I love is that it is so accessible and easy–just go out on your porch and make some noise! Engage your neighbors!

4. Go see Hidden Figures!

This movie is incredible, it celebrates pioneering Black women at NASA. It is simultaneously a math action movie, civil rights movie, Mad Men level vintage 60s gorgeousness, has such compelling storytelling modalities, breaking glass ceilings, busting through limiting beliefs and a really sweet romance! I cried twice! It’s super important we go see these types of films in the theater so future fabulous movies centering Black women continue to be funded!

Wouldn’t it be amazing if Hidden Figures broke box office records on he who must not be named’s inauguration day?

A nation that continues year after year, to spend more money on military defense, than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. –Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

5. Watch 13th on Netflix!

13th is excellence in documentary storytelling. It’s compelling, moves quickly and keeps your jaw dropping about how the prison system went from a national incarceration rate in the 500,000s to the 2,000,000+ prison population rate we have now. It shows how slavery’s abolition in the 13th amendment lead to the current prison industrial complex. I think every American should be required to watch this movie before they graduate high school. It also reminds us at the end that oppression is a beast that continually changes its form and we need to be ready for it.

How are you making commitments to social justice work from the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and our other social justice ancestors? I would love to hear about it. Leave a comment below!

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life.
Longevity has its place.
But I’m not concerned about that now.
I just want to do God’s will.
And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain.
And I’ve looked over.
And I’ve seen the promised land.
I may not get there with you.
But I want you to know tonight,
that we, as a people will get to the promised land.
–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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