I’m not sure that I’m really a social activist, but it’s a good title for this blog entry.
My confession is that I am not really sure what works in achieving change in this world.
I know that I am involved in lots of things and that there have been little wins along the journey. I have met many great and committed people over the last 30 years and get courage and resolve from their example. But I know that there are more things that I am concerned about now than when I was a young man. Perhaps I’m more aware of the injustice around me and the struggles of many in this very wealthy community that I live in.
In early 2014 I spoke at an International Social Work Day event and in preparation went back and reread an essay I wrote at the end of my studies on what my personal philosophy of social work was. It brought back memories, but I was struck by my statement at the time that my intended path was to focus on “people, politics and planet.”
Whilst the path since then has been circuitous it still holds true for me today. In that essay I wrote about how in the middle of my studies I was ready to focus just on social action strategies and campaigns, and politics, and that everything else was just scaffolding the dominant culture and system. But by the end of the course, I had realised that I needed to work with people, as it is people who make change, and that it is people who wear the personal costs of social injustice.
I think that this focus on People, Politics and Planet is even more relevant today than when I wrote it. I know that these things are linked and that my actions for justice now often involve all of them. I only wish I knew the best ways of getting to where I want to be.