Friday, December 28, 2007

What Are Your 2008 Activist Resolutions?

"[S]top thinking about how crazy the times are, and start thinking about what the crazy times demand."--Seth Godin

A couple weeks ago blogger Latoya Peterson posted her 2008 Activist Resolutions on Racialicious. Some of her resolutions were to reconnect with her city council members, get more involved with youth outreach through the arts, and "stop saying 'Africa.' Africa is not a country. It is a continent."

Many of Latoya's readers shared their activist resolutions in the post's comments. Atlasien of Upside-Down Adoption said she was going to become involved in a local organization for immigrant rights. Elizabeth said she would like to write her representatives and local newspaper more, like Vegankid does.

B! of A Daughter's Geography was inspired by Latoya's post and wrote her own Sunday Shine * {Activist Resolutions}. Her resolutions include eating local organic food, teaching her students about healthier eating options, and volunteering at a community garden.

I really liked this idea so thought I'd post my own:

1. Continue reading and learning about why genocide happens and what I can do to encourage the United States to be a part of the solution. I recently finished reading A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power. It was probably one of the best books I've read and definitely helped me to better understand the issue, and America's policies and history around it. Power is on my Big Vision Podcast dream interview wish list, if anyone knows her and can provide me with an introduction.

2. Interview more activists/visionaries of color for the Big Vision Podcast. Last year I interviewed 12 people for the Big Vision Podcast and 4 of them were people of color. I'd like to up that number to 6. Zainab Salbi, the founder of Women for Women International is also on my dream interview wish list, if you know her.

3. Carry at least one cloth shopping bag with me at all times. My aunt gave me an Envirosax for Christmas that should make keeping that resolution easy. The same company also sells a shower timer that I'd like to start using too.

4. Write to Jacinta Onoro, the woman I am sponsoring through Women for Women International, each month.

5. Donate 5 % of my income. (Check out this interesting Giving Calculator).

6. Have more fun while doing good. I worked a little too hard and did a little too much this year (evidenced by the fact that I am in bed with a cold right now). I need to be a bit more balanced in the fun department in 2008, spend more time with my family and friends, read silly as well as serious stuff, and take time to enjoy all the things that are going well in my life and in our world.

What are your 2008 Activist Resolutions?

Photo of sign from 2003 Iraq war protest by me.


  1. ugh - Samantha Power?

    she's good at denouncing state terror when it's not the U.S. doing the killing, but when we are doing the killing - when she is in the *best* possible position to stop it - she's nowhere to be found. as such, she provides great intellectual cover for the U.S. government to continue carrying out its foreign interventions - as long as someone from the government gets up and says, "But we're doing it to save lives." That's the only evidence Power needs, apparently - she just wants to be told by a U.S. government official that the U.S. government only has good intentions, and then everything is ok for her. And what of the high-level officials and the Documentary Record that state U.S. intentions having nothing to do with humanitarianism? Not applicable, apparently.

    for more info (the original Znet article is no longer available):

    but the statement of activist goals is a good idea.

    i've been thinking about creating a website that tracks activist tactics and their success rates. so, water activists in, say, Stockton, can know how the folks in other U.S. cities and Cochabamba, Bolivia and elsewhere fought off privatization.

    There are only a few corporations that need to learn these lessons to fight more effectively, but us citizen groups are many and varied and don't have a central organizing structure. A website like this might be able to help. definitely has the right idea:

    I'd like to see this line of thinking applied across all activist causes.

    Usually by the time I think of something, it's already been done, so I'm thinking some sites like this already exist.

  2. Anonymous1:17 AM

    My biggest resolution is to inspire more young people that wouldn't normally act to do something that changes the world!

  3. My simple resolution is to continue to give kids a gentle shoulder-shake beyond the myopia of appearance-based cultural cues to open up their eyes to a broader worldview.

    Until kids can think beyond a chipped nail and bad hair day to learn of life in other cultures, we'll be reinforcing vapid values and feeding into the media/mktg. machine that just creates more 'churn' (much like the "Story of" eludes to) We'll be deconstructing that poignant film in a media literacy post very soon, too...)

    Shaping Youth will kick off the year by hosting various teen outreach endeavors...

    Like jewelry making parties for continent to continent outreach in a service-club school capacity to support the documentary in post-production right now called "Silent Bravery: The Women of Africa."

    You can read about their work to empower abused girls in Zimbabwe via their Tapestries of Hope blog, which we've detailed w/links here in our post about making philanthropy FUN!

    Some may see it as 'shallow' to combine entertainment and education like the ideas in our post, but it sure 'works' far better than 'preach-n-teach tactics.'

    So, here it is in writing:

    I hereby 'resolve' to mobilize youth by activating core caring in various forms of content creation. We'll help empower kids in upbeat, social/media forms of fun, to make a difference in communities online and off.

    Hold me to it! (Great post idea, btw!)

  4. Anonymous11:55 PM

    okay, so the last few years i've preferred new year's mottos to resolutions (much harder to break), but i'm inspired by your list here and by 2008 thank-god-we-get-a-new-president optimism, so i'll try for a few New Year's Activist Intentions.

    Conscious Consumption
    *Buy fair trade coffee and tea
    *Always carry at least one reusable shopping bag (those envirosax bags are much cuter than the ones i got at the grocery store and may be added incentive for actually carrying the bag, which is usually the part i forget to do)
    *Figure out sustainable personal solution to the whole no-recycling-pickup-in-hawaii situation (can you even believe it?!)
    *stick with a few simple rules for assessing the probability that a potential purchase has been made with ethical labor practices
    *donate regularly to a few mindfully selected organizations and follow up with them/participate in non-financial ways
    *become a little more extroverted in the social philanthropy world - donate to friends causes and invite people to join or donate to causes i'm interested in (preferably without feeling like a tool or having flashbacks to the door-canvassing, telefundraising, and whatever-a-thon activities of long ago).

    *Help people in my community register to vote, especially young unmarried women

    aight, good luck, bb.

  5. What an inspiring post, Britt! Glad you're ready to give yourself a break as part of your resolution too. Best wishes for a terrific 2008! K.

  6. Have just returned from a visit to India and the realisation that I know so little about society and culture outside of the western world ie the larger part of the globe. What I saw re-inforced what I already knew in that you must never rely on newspapers for the provison of accurate information and now to learn what I can do, my starting point is to learn and understand first. Thought some of your ideas were great though. I've blogged about my own travels (within the context of my blog's theme) at

  7. Women for Women International’s work in the DR Congo will be featured this Sunday, January 13th on CBS News’ 60 Minutes. It’s scheduled for 7:00pm but you can check your local listings. Thank you for spreading the word and be sure to watch or record it and visit for more info!

  8. Hi Judith - It sounds like you've been on quite a journey.

    re: "What I saw re-inforced what I already knew in that you must never rely on newspapers for the provison of accurate information."

    Citizen journalism is becoming more and more important. You might enjoy checking out and

  9. Hi Trish,

    Thanks for the heads up! I'm going to Tivo it.


  10. My resolution isn't specific to 2008, but I made it this year: My goal is to help at least 1 million people out of extreme poverty, or $1-per-day poverty, during my lifetime. To some the goal
    is embarrassingly low given the scale of the problem, and to others it's unachievably high. To me it's a stretch goal that I can achieve if I focus on the following principles: humility, sustainability, income generation, collaboration, and scalability. I look forward to joining the conversation and learning from you about how I can achieve my goal. Thanks for your relevant and very readable blog.

  11. Hi Ryan - that's a great idea. Imagine what a difference it would make if everyone in the US who could afford it donated $1 a day/$365 per year. It would make a huge impact.


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