Have you ever heard the term movement activist? It isn’t something I was very familiar with until a few years ago. With the help of my colleagues at the Western States Center and friends who continue to organize post-Seattle WTO for convenings such as the US Social Forum, I’ve found myself thinking, feeling and acting out of a deeper “movement building” framework.
I appreciate how the idea of a “movement activist” links us to the historical struggle for social justice. How the concept of movement binds us in solidarity with the oppression that communities beyond our communities experience, and calls us to find common ground. In fostering this common ground, I recognize that there is an ongoing effort to establish consensus around the roots of the problems our communities face. As one of my wise mentor-colleagues said, diagnosis determines therapy (thanks to the late Rev. Dr. Bill Jones).
A final note is on the being an activist, and how in this context of movement building, we are called to find ways to continue the work for a lifetime. How are we able to sustain ourselves? What is our support system? In working to change the social order, with institutional forces aligned to protect themselves and undermine efforts at transformation, how do we grow and adapt?