The Activist Heart | Activism 101-2: What is an Activist?
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Activism 101-2: What is an Activist?

What is an Activist?

Video Transcript

Hello I’m David Marquis. Welcome to the Activist Heart.

Let’s take a moment and define the word activist. According to the dictionary, an activist is someone who knows more about your business than you do. No matter your business or your issue, an activist knows more about it that you do.

I really tried to say that with a straight face. And no, that is not in the dictionary.

But I do want us to discuss what it means to be an activist. Last week, I asked you to choose one issue that you are willing to speak for, to work on. I want us to get focused.

There are so many issues, so many concerns, organizations, challenges, pieces of legislation, executive orders, crisis, that we can easily become overwhelmed. Rather than being an activist, we become reactivists, which is a useful term coined by my friend Lizbet Palmer.

In the course of a day, simply using your phone you can donate to a cause, sign a petition, write your congressional representative, write an op-ed, text with friends to plan a demonstration, all of it while reacting to appeals that come across your screen.

There’s nothing wrong with that, not at all. But is this what you want to do? Reactivist or activist?

When I was coming up, activists were seen as serious people, community organizer with clip boards and protest signs, and there’s some truth to that. But these days, everybody’s an activist. Animal rights activists. Neighborhood crime watch. Environmental. Education. Women’s Issues. Tea Party. It’s all over the map. The width of the spectrum, which is good. We want people to be involved.

And these activists, people engaged in speaking out, in trying to move the world one direction or another (or keep it from moving) need all kinds of skills and knowledge. We will explore that.

But one thing every activist must have is SELF-knowledge.

What are you good at?
What motivates you?
What will keep you motivated?

Because most change does not happen quickly.

So look at that issue, that one thing I asked you to focus on last week. How are you going to approach that? What kind of vigorous action or campaigning – the dictionary definition – is right for you?

Activist or reactivist? One cause or a few? Or many?

I want you to stop, I want you to think about that, discuss that, write about that. That is your homework this week, that is your assignment. To look at yourself as an activist.

What are your skills?
What motivates you?
What will keep you motivated?

Look at that for this week. And we’ll be back

In this second video, David defines “activist”and challenges us to examine ourselves.

Assignment: What are your skills?
What motivates you?
What will keep you motivated?

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