HOLDING ON TO HOPE
Today I am reflecting on the question I’ve heard several times recently from friends, activists and donors: “How can you hold on to hope when things are so bad?”
I have to admit that sometimes it’s hard. But because of the work I do I get the privilege of seeing huge victories and changes happening when people join together and follow their vision toward big things. Traveling throughout the country on my book tour has brought me and our staff lots of excitement and hope. People are looking for “different” ways of approaching huge societal problems and wishing for a pathway to join together to make big leaps into the unknown.
I have also found hope in some government policies. For example the health care bill, while not all that we wanted, now makes it possible for thousands of children and young adults to get health insurance who were previously denied. I know this not only from news reports but because children in my family have benefited from this change. Also, for the first time in 15 years, I will have the ability to choose to move back home to North Carolina because both my partner and I will be allowed to have insurance despite pre-existing conditions.
Fortunately, I’ve learned we don’t have to leap into the total unknown. The answers are there – within environmental work, education, economics, healthcare and food sustainability. We need to build a real, strong and connected movement around these issues. This means we have to go beyond the “converted” – those we mostly talk to — and educate and mobilize a majority of the public.
My book tour took me all over the country and I was a guest on countless radio and television shows. While most of the stations were progressive or fairly liberal, several were very conservative talk shows. People were interested in what I had to say because I talked about values – the future of our children, a good education, a healthy environment – things that resonated with everyone. Somewhat surprisingly to me, I found that we all agreed on many of the same things – even though we sometimes had different ideas of how to get there. Many people were interested in how we work together across our differences to move forward to a more just and sustainable world.
As we move into the next ten years at Spirit in Action, we are beginning to address these questions and hopes through POWER UP Networks. In this newsletter you will learn of two new networks we are starting in the coming year: Standing in Our Power and EMERGE for Action.
So this is a time for boldness – not giving up. It is a time for great courage – not letting our fears stop us. If we just work on small changes, though they are fulfilling and valuable, we will not make long term, big changes in the world. We have to bring all the puzzle pieces together—small changes, individual work and big ideas — in order to create a different world.
I’m prepared to jump off the cliff into the unknown and work for the revolutionary change we need. I hope you will join me! I promise to share my parachute.
Peace and Power,
Executive Director, Spirit in Action