Stories of Our People: Share Your Activist Anecdotes
This Stories of our People (SOOP) questionnaire belongs to the new website Protect Our Activists (currently at
), exploring activist culture and ways to foster a better and safer climate for activists and the activist community.
Thanks so much for taking the time to share your activist anecdote about any purposeful participation in any movement or organization working for justice, peace, equality and sanity, at any level from neighborhood to global (there is no one way to be a "real activist"). Explore at Protect Our Activists more about what activists and activism are.
Toss a tasty story or two into our SOOP pot. They will help nourish our understanding of activist culture and also serve as wholesome ingredients for cooking up fiction featuring activists depicting our community fully, fairly and flavorfully.
Some ground rules:
1) PROCEED FROM LOVE AND CARING. The purpose of this questionnaire is to help understand, protect and lift up activist culture and the activist community. Share the good, the bad and the in-between, in the spirit of working with others to make the world just, healthy, safe, peaceful and equally good for all its inhabitants. Our purpose is NOT to name, blame or shame, but to expand understanding in support of a community we value and love.
2) NO NAMES OR IDENTIFYING DETAILS. Please tell the anecdote without revealing the identity of the people and organizations involved. Say "an environmentalist organization" or "a union." Say "the US Civil Rights Movement" or "the international movement to stop NAFTA." Say "a colleague/comrade" or "Maria/Michelle/John/Roberto" (i.e., invented first names). Change the precise location. If you prefer, say "the person speaking at the assembly that day ... " when "the person" was actually yourself.
3) BE SPECIFIC. Tell the story as concretely and realistically as possible. Instead of just saying, "she was inspiring" say "she encouraged new people, asked for our opinions, laughed and sang with us as we marched." Rather than "it was a divisive action" say "the tone was very critical, the wording was not inclusive, it was not discussed with the whole group," etc. Real details of incidents, consequences, feelings, etc. provide material to build a good picture of our culture and community, useful both for discussion and analysis in our Activist Culture Explorations and as ingredients for crafting Fiction Featuring Activists. Double value!
Please reread your questionnaire before you submit it, with the above guidelines in mind. You can also edit after submitting, if needed.
To participate further in Activist Culture research and/or in Fiction Featuring Activists work, check the relevant boxes below and/or get in touch through the website.
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Your connection to activism
Tell a story detailing the best (or one of the best) activist experiences you have had. Be concrete: what exactly made it such a good experience and why. What resulted from this experience?
Your story--with vivid details, but not ones that identify individuals, please--painting a picture of a great activist experience.
What did you learn from the experience and how might it be replicated to improve safety, inclusion, general climate, etc. for activists?
What was the worst (or one of the worst) experiences you have had as an activist or with activists. Be concrete: what exactly made it such a bad experience and why. What resulted from this experience?
Your story--with vivid details but NOT ones that identify individuals, please--painting a picture of a negative activist experience.
What did you learn from this experience, and how could the story have had a better result?
Your burning questions
Examples: How do we define winning or losing an activist struggle? How can we protect our communities from division? How can we address emotional and physical burnout of activists? Etc.
Question 1, and why it is a burning question for you:
Question 2, and why it is a burning question for you:
Question 3, and why it is a burning question for you:
Go farther and deeper!
Join a discussion and/or on-the-ground exploration, work with me in other ways on delving into and lifting up activist culture:
Choose all you're interested in:
Join the discussion on protecting the activist community and culture
Organize a Stories of Our People (SOOP) workshop
Join a Fiction Featuring Activists writers circle
Invite JB to discuss Fiction Featuring Activists and her social justice mystery Rainwood House Sings
Invite JB to do a Neighborhood Novelists collective fiction project with youth
Participate in a Life in the Liberated Zone participant-observer visit
Any other comments or suggestions you'd like to share?
Send me a copy of my responses.
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