20 Questions: Advocacy

  1. What social condition(s) are we trying to shift?
  2. What change will positively influence this social condition?
  3. What is the specific ask?
  4. Are there any acceptable alternatives to this ideal solution?
  5. What will be the result of making such a change for the community overall and in the lives of individual people?
  6. What are the financial, environmental, and human costs and benefits of making such a change?
  7. What stories illustrate the need for this change?
  8. What data support the need for this change?
  9. What visuals can be used to communicate the need for this change?
  10. What structural obstacles are preventing this change from taking place?
  11. What personal or organizational resistance exists toward this change?
  12. What are the values and priorities of the decision makers that we need to influence?
  13. What other individuals and groups are working on this issue?
  14. Who else cares about this issue and why is it important to them?
  15. How will we engage others in our advocacy efforts?
  16. What key messages do we need to share?
  17. Who needs to hear our key messages?
  18. How will we communicate our key messages?
  19. How will we prepare others to be effective advocates for our cause?
  20. How will we strategically time our advocacy campaign?

The Terror of Learning

Learning can be scary because it inherently implies detachment from currently held beliefs and understandings. It can be a threat to our individual or group identity.

Alternatively, I see learning as an opportunity to grow. While we may choose to shift our position as a result of something we have learned, learning can also result in having a more expansive view or increased flexibility to shift our perspective. We can do both while remaining still in the same spot, in the safety of our core values and purpose.

Optimism and Realism: Allies or Antagonists?

If you read this blog, you might have noticed that I am an optimist. Someone very kindly called me a ‘beacon of hope’ recently. While many people have expressed appreciation for the work that I am doing through The Fruition Coalition, others have expressed concern that it is detached from reality.

Can optimism and realism be complementary rather than contradictory? I think they can. Without optimism, our efforts to change the real conditions of our lives lack vision. Without realism, our dreams for the future lack grounding. Both are necessary, and both are mutually reinforcing.

The Humor of Political Difference

I am really happy about the number of women who were elected to Congress this fall. I posted a status update to this effect a few weeks ago. One of my friends, someone that I knew very well when I was a child, wrote a snide remark in response to my post. Normally, I might have found this to be offensive. But I know that he was, and probably still is, one of the funniest people I have ever known. I chose to feel amused and I responded with a similarly snide, yet convivial, comment.

Perhaps the true problem in our political system is that we are too serious and angry. It is not our difference that is problematic– it is our identification with, and interpretation of, these differences that causes conflict.

So let’s lighten up. Let’s focus on the seriousness of the issues we are exploring, but let go of the personal attachments that cause us to react with emotional violence. Let’s create a more miraculous world through our political system, and have fun doing it.

My NIMBY Campaign

Some people are prejudiced and judgmental.

Not in my backyard.

Some people are indifferent toward people who are poor or homeless.

Not in my backyard.

Some people prefer to protect themselves rather than to serve humanity.

Not in my backyard.

Some people project their fears onto the world around them.

Not in my backyard.

Some people perpetuate violence rather than promote peace.

Not in my backyard.