8 Acvs A Wks
their own oming out torie, whih were really peronal for them. hey aomplihedthi in a ery topial, intereting way and it wa fun and ery peronal — thi playthat ha o many meage in it, whih mean a lot more when it’ ombined withtheir own experiene. so thin the meage i tronger. he intereting thing aboutthe play wa that it effeted hange quily. Wherea my other experiene to dothing were long term that don’t really produe tangible reult right away… andthen people were taling, and it didn’t tae poliie or manual to get people talingand going through the red tape and all thi other tuff that we hae to do. We jutdid a play and reahed out to people diretly and it wa good.
This book is about successful activism, as described by activists themselvesreecting on their own work. The activists are from nine diverse groups andorganizations across Canada devoted to making a difference in the worldby furthering social or environmental justice. We asked eighty-six individualactivists from these groups with whom we partnered to talk about what suc-cess or effectiveness means to them and what they thought were factors orconditions that contributed to success. The incredible richness and varietyof stories they told us constitute the heart of the book. These stories areshared in chapters written by the activists themselves. In the other chapters,we describe the philosophical background, the context, and the methodol-ogy of the project and attempt to weave its various parts together in orderto make sense of the whole. Our challenge has been to convey the emotions,excitement, and profound commitment the activists express as they reecton their work.
We approached this project with two primary purposes. First, we wantedto support, in very practical ways, the valuable work of activists. We did thisby offering them opportunities to step back and reect on what they are doing and the effect or impact of their efforts on whether and how they were making a difference. In the often frantic world of activists, such reection can seemlike a luxury. Our second purpose was to explore questions of activist successmore broadly in the current political, social and economic context. We hopewe’ve succeeded, in some small way, in accomplishing both our goals.
Words such as “activism” and “advocacy” can evoke different meanings.For our purposes, activism is dened as acting to bring about social, political,economic or environmental change for a more just, sustainable and peacefulworld. Activism takes many forms. “Not only resistance and protest shouldcount as activism, but also building relationships between people that fosterchange in the community” (Hodgson and Brooks 2007: 20). Klugman (2010:2) denes social justice advocacy asworking forstructural and enduring changes that increase the power of thosewho are most disadvantaged politically, economically, and socially.It tackles the root and avoidable causes of inequities for those whoare systematically and institutionally disadvantaged by their race,