Friday, May 04, 2007

Why Do You Work for Social Change?

I got some good news the other day that I wanted to share. Each year our local weekly, the East Bay Express, does a Best of the Easy Bay issue where they name the best restaurants, movie theaters, record stores, etc. in the area.

This year, they named me the 2007 Best Podcaster:Blogger Most Dedicated to Social Change. The Readers' Choice was the Daily Kos, its founder, Markos Moulitsas ZĂșniga, or "Kos", lives in Berkeley.

This past weekend I was on a panel at the Stanford Women's Leadership Conference called, Solutionary Women: How Can I Create Social Change? I asked four other women, who I interviewed for the Big Vision Podcast, to be on the panel: Alli Chagi-Starr of Art in Action, Ilyse Hogue of, Melinda Kramer of Women's Earth Alliance and Reem Rahim of Numi Tea. I asked each of them to talk about the work they do, why they do the work they do, and their advice for other women who want to work for social change.

The morning of the panel I woke up and realized that I would have to answer my own questions, since I was on the panel too. Whoops! I'd never really thought about it--why I do the work I do.

I suppose it is partly from my family upbringing. Both of my parents have been involved in social change work, in fact, next weekend my dad, Tom Aageson, is receiving the Allen Stamm Humanitarian of the Year from the United Way of Santa Fe County. And I have always been drawn to work with some kind of service aspect. A quote by Rabindranath Tagore that I really resonate with is:
"I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy."
My goal with Have Fun * Do Good, the Big Vision Podcast and all of the other blogs and podcasts I am involved with is to share and highlight stories that give people hope, and inspire them to take action for positive change--including me!

In Mariane Pearl's book, A Mighty Heart: The Inside Story of the Al Qaeda Kidnapping of Danny Pearl (which I highly recommend), she says, "If hope is our most powerful weapon, fear is the greatest threat the terrorists wield against us. Fear paralyzes you, and I cannot afford that."

We live in a time where there is a lot to fear, but we also live in a time where we cannot afford to be paralyzed. It is a time when we all must share stories that give each other hope and inspire us to take action for positive change.

Why do you work for social change?

Logo from Big Vision Career & Project Consulting


  1. Hope is a large part of it for me -- it makes my efforts possible. Reason tells me that there is a need. Reason tells me that social justice will make the world a better place. Observation tells me where there is injustice. Hope tells me that I can make a difference.

    I was galvanised into action on the Millennium Development Goals because I saw for the first time that it is possible that extreme poverty could be eradicated in my lifetime.

    My action has been to support the astonishing School of St Jude in Tanzania because it has great vision and is extremely well run by Gemma Sisia. Thousands of bright children from the poorest homes and orphanages will get a first-world education due soley to this school. This core of well-educated bright citizens will make a huge difference to the future of their country.

    This is ONLY possible through donations and support from wealthy countries.

    So, my support will echo forward into future generations, as part of the ongoing process of long term social change.

    Check out my blog.

    Thanks for providing a place to think and share.

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Gillian.

  3. Anonymous9:54 AM

    Congratulations Britt - it's an honor well deservered.

  4. Yay! Congratulations on your recognition!

  5. Britt -

    I was touched by your stories about your parents. My first experience of activism was walking a picket line with my dad when I was about six years old, and I've never forgotten it. My mother always took me to the polls with her to vote, another experience that left an imprint I've tried to pass on to my own kids. Whether we picket, or vote, or spend our money so it matters, which is the messsage I'm trying to get across with my current work at, what really counts is that we do what we can to make a difference. Thanks for the difference you make.

  6. Hi Diane,

    Thanks for sharing your story! I checked out The Big Green Purse and really like the piece about how to give your purse a green makeover. Good stuff.



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