My name is David Marquis. Welcome to the Activist Heart. This is a course, a curriculum, in how to create lasting change. How to make the world a better place, which sounds big and all puffed up, but it happens. It happens every day. Someone decides to get involved, to get off the couch and change a law, to show up and speak up, to reform an institution, to take a stand, to feed a child or right a wrong.
Every day, someone decides to stand up and be counted (a citizen.)
I have been doing that for 50 years now. I’m 65; started speaking out when I was 15.
Along with my work as an activist and performing artist, I have also been a teacher. Some people have asked me to teach what I know – how to create lasting change – so I have decided to undertake that.
We will use a variety of platforms – posting videos, written materials, music, maybe a podcast or a tour of live performances and seminars. But it starts here and now – with homework! Yes, homework! Because of all the things an activist must do, homework is way up on the list. You have to know your stuff. Do your research. Offer solutions. Passion and slogans are not enough.
You have to go beyond the march.
I have marched. I have chanted slogans.
But I have also learned that to create change, your whole self has to be involved. The activist heart provides the fuel, the passion, the desire to bring change. But being an activist means body, mind, and soul, baby.
Bring it all!
Here’s your first assignment. It deals with the word “protest.”
Many people think that to protest means to speak against something. That is incorrect. “Pro” means “for” and “test” comes from the Latin “testare,” meaning to speak or testify. Pro-test literally means to speak for something.
What are you willing to speak for?
It is not enough to oppose injustice. We must be for justice.
It is not enough to denounce war. We must work for peace.
I want you to make a list – and don’t write down every good cause you can think of- write down three things you want to speak for. And then, choose one.
That doesn’t mean you’re going to work on that one issue the rest of your life, but for the sake of this exercise, focus on one because these times, these days, require focus. It is time to put aside dismay and distress. Let’s get focused. Now, think about your choice. Talk to friends and family. Write about it. Post it somewhere if you like. But start with that one simple action. Pro-test.
Whether you are a veteran activist or brand new to it, the Activist Heart will have something for you.
The truth is that activism is a hard path to a distant mountain. We’ll walk it together, one step at a time.
I’ll be back. We’ll be back. You will hear from me again soon.