Community & Government

The Power of Organizing

Gloria, adrienne, Amanda, and Tina share their philosophies of activism, as well as the deep sense of joy, community, and transformation that social movements can inspire.

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Topics include: The Power of Organizing The Challenges of Organizing The Joys of Organizing Organizing Is Imagining the Future Do One Thing Today


- What's fun about social justice movements-- and they are fun, I have to say, and exciting-- is thinking, well, maybe if we did this, that would happen. And getting together in a group, because we are social animals, to make that happen. [MUSIC PLAYING] I think that we often try to start things from the top down, as opposed to understanding that movements grow like trees from the seed up. - I've done both. I've been sort of bottoms-up. I've done a lot of door-knocking and a lot of phone-banking. But I've also seen what you can also do from the top down. And I think it's a both and. You can take some big, visionary policies and try also to inspire the grassroots. With social media now, that's a big difference than when I started doing this-- with a message that bands people together. Big change, I think, needs both. And so if someone is feeling alone and not sure what to do, I would say there are just resources. And it's easy to find them now and connect with them, at least virtually. And I encourage people to do that. It is a way to expand both how you learn about it, but then figuring out, what among those things makes you passionate? This is a moment where there is a lot going on. There are new policies, like caregiving proposals, in DC. There is a lot of unrest in lots of communities, where people are struggling with issues of racial injustice or food insecurity. And every community is struggling to figure out how best to respond. And it can feel overwhelming. But I would say, for anyone who's trying to figure things out, read. There's amazing book lists and resources out there. Read about racial injustice. Read about feminism and gender inequity. Read about violence against women. And as you're reading and listening to stories and watching films-- so many of the streaming services actually have a collection-- there will be something that will strike your heart and will be the thing that really sparks, in you, the desire to do even more. And then start local. Find out who locally is doing it. Is there a food pantry in your neighborhood? Is there a church organization that is working on violence against women? Is there a local elected leader-- your mayor or your city council person-- who's sponsoring something around girls leadership? And here's the thing about politics, they are always looking for volunteers. You will be welcomed with open arms. It's really true with any of these organizations. There's so much work to do that everyone is looking for the volunteer to come in. And don't feel shy about not knowing anything. They really are looking for people who are willing to stand on a street corner and hand out grocery bags as people drive by, or are willing to knock on those doors and talk about the issue that you're passionate about. That's all you have to do, is start. - I love the word activism, but I worry that maybe it seems impersonal or forbidding or-- and it's so not. - I t...

About the Instructor

Women’s rights activists and political changemakers Gloria Steinem, adrienne maree brown, Amanda Nguyen, and Tina Tchen know there’s strength in numbers—especially in the fight for equality. Now, they’re coming together to dissect the issues women have faced in the U.S., talk about their advocacy efforts and personal challenges, and introduce ways you can play an active role in the feminist movement in your everyday life.

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Gloria Steinem, adrienne maree brown, Amanda Nguyen, and Tina Tchen

Four women’s rights activists discuss the feminist movement in the U.S., ways they’re creating change, and how you can join the fight for equality.

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