I’m writing this because perhaps you’re like me: you find news[feed] to be draining, it often leaves you in a funk—somewhat like a bottomless pit, whirling, tired and uninspired because nothing you do can possibly solve world hunger, get your Senator to change their position, or stop things falling from the sky in the middle east…
At the beginning of this month, I attended MCON (Millennial Engagement Conference), which aimed to gather thought leaders, filmmakers, tech experts, entrepreneurs, and [extra]ordinary people to explore and dig deeper into social justice issues, the planet, and identity. Attending MCON was a great experience for me—I’ve made some personal commitments to action inspired by the Case Foundation which I hope will ultimately benefit the people I want to serve and causes I care about (including you, my readers). Thus, I wanted to share some thoughts that may allow for the generation of new ideas—maybe you’ll even feel motivated to take a suggestion/step!
(Note/Disclaimer: these thoughts may be more beneficial if followed chronologically)
- What is your story? And how do you tell it? (I was inspired by Holley Murchison/ Oratory Glory)
- How did you get where you are today? – If you don’t articulate your story then you’re at risk of someone writing your story for you…and we know how that goes!
- What causes do you care about most? Does it have anything to do with who you are or does it only have to do what you want “to do” or how you want to “help” people? —do those people even want your “help” i.e. your tube well, your electricity, or your mind in business you may or may not know anything about? Because there are important distinctions between “helping,”“fixing,” and “serving.” I INSIST: PLEASE READ more on the differences here. [These are also lessons I’m committing to spreading from my public health career and working with a service learning organization]
- Do you know people or a local organization who is working on the cause(s) you care about?
- Often people who work for a specific cause are very open to having conversations regarding involvement or small steps you can take that will make a difference. For example, if you care about food waste educate yourself, maybe sign up for an organization’s newsletter (actually read it!), and talk to your company or businesses on how/where they can contribute.
- When you meet people, watch a video, or read a blogpost, article, etc. do you join the choir, OR do you critically think about who they are and what their message/intent is?
- At MCON the social Q&A allowed the audience to post questions for the moderator to ask the panel—people voted to bump up the questions so the most important ones were asked.
- These questions were DIFFICULT. Here are few examples:
- The photo journalist Robin Hammond, founder of Witness Change was asked how he feels exploiting (impoverished) people’s stories of suffering for his success. It’s a difficult question but it is important to be asked.
- Rob Greenfield, an environmental activist, traveled cross-country on a bamboo bike, composted his own waste (literally), built himself a boxed-home off the grid was asked how his privilege helped him start these initiatives and how he helps empower others. [Sadly, we were “running late” so he didn’t get to answer his questions but I’m sure he can.]
- Allison Williams, the actress from the recent film “Get Out” (written and directed by Jordan Peele) was asked about her comfort talking about race and her white privilege. She admitted how it can be uncomfortable but so eloquently urged people to be in uncomfortable positions and for those in positions of power/privilege to “be on the other side of the conversation.”
- If you, your company/organization are interested, check out Derrick Feldman’s Social Movements for Good for how to build an engaging social movement!
PSA: I’m thankful I received a scholarship for the opportunity to attend MCON – these are only a few of many reflections/thoughts. By no means does this post claim my understanding, perfection, or that I myself have the answers to the aforelisted thoughts/questions…I’m still practicing and I hope you’ll take a stab at thinking about it as well. 🙂
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Follow/Comment/Contact with any questions or ideas @Farzanaism_