I’m David Marquis. Welcome.
We began with the true meaning of the word protest… to speak for, and I asked you to focus on one issue that you are willing to speak for. We moved on to definitions of activism. Are you an activist or a reactivist? What are your skills? What motivates you and will keep you motivated? And then I asked you a rather direct question. What are your goals? What are you trying to accomplish?
Those exercises, those questions, lead us to ask today, right now… What type of activist are you?
Do you want to be on the front lines?
The person with the bullhorn leading the chants?
Or do you want to do the research, dig out the facts that help to carry the day in a debate?
Are you the organizer who builds the database and sends out the notices of meetings and actions?
Or, are you the person who does all of that, some things much better than others?
Here’s what I want you to know. It all matters. No matter what you are doing or your cause, it matters.
I happen to have public skills. Write, speak, perform. But, if you want paperwork to die, put it on my desk. I am horrible at that, so I have enormous respect for people who can keep things straight and manage organizations. Everyone can contribute.
There is a story that emerged from the Civil Rights Movement back in the day. In Atlanta, young activists were working to desegregate lunch counters and public places, and they were being arrested and put in jail for it. The Atlanta police would keep them locked up until the middle of the night and then let them out so parents would have to come get their kids in the wee hours.
Well, there was a black owned hotel that decided that it would keep its kitchen open late to feed the kids when they got out. That way, the parents would know where to go to get their kids, and the demonstrators would have someplace to get a meal after being locked up.
Now, who were the activists in this situation?
The kids who got arrested at the sit-ins?
The Proprietors of the black owned Hotel who decided to provide a place for the kids to gather?
Or the kitchen staff who cooked for the kids?
I say, they all were. All can serve. On August 28th, 1963, Dr. King gave the I Have a Dream speech. Hundreds of thousands before him on the mall in front of the Lincoln Memorial. He gave the speech but… Who set up the chairs and the microphone? Who organized all those buses that carried people to Washington?
Here’s your assignment. Look at the issue you chose. Your skills and motivations. Your goals. And now ask yourself a question. Who else do I need? Who do I need to recruit, join up with, work with, reach out to, or pitch in with?
You are not alone. Millions of others want to get involved. Find them. We’ll be back.