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Fear: another brick in the wall(s)

My city, Recife, was pointed in a research some years ago as the most dangerous in Brazil. This unfortunately reflects how my community is immersed in a routine of violence and vulnerability. The risk of being aggressed or raped lingers as a constant presence in our minds and we need to shape our lifestyle considering such possibilities.

Therefore, I would say that the violence itself is one of the main barriers to creating change. But it becomes even more difficult to create a positive impact in my community because of one of violence's effects: fear. People are afraid of each other, and, this way, isolating ourselves from one another. This attitude blocks many attempts of cooperation, solidarity and sympathy among fellow citizens and consolidates a cycle of exclusion.

We do have reasons to be afraid. But if this process goes on, the exclusion will become deeper into people's minds. I wonder until when are we going to struggle for survival simply by building higher walls around our homes, instead of trying to reverse the process that causes all these outrages.

Of course, reversing the process would demand a lot of hard work. And this leads us to another of the main barriers to produce change in my community: lack of time. In modern life, the rythm we tend to lead is often very stressful. Most of the people I know are unsatisfied with the social situation in my country, but, very often, people simply don't have time to think about these issues in more depth or, what is even more tragic, many don't spare time to participate politically in the democratic process.

I believe the only way of eliminating these barriers is raising awareness and fostering people's interest on these subjects. The more we become convinced that something is wrong within the organization of our community and, mainly, that these wrong points are changeable, the more we are compelled to do something about it.

My present solution for all that is to speak up. In the last years, I've grabbed all the opportunities I could to make my message heard and to stimulate dialogue about the change we want to see in our world. Locally, I've taken part in youth councils in local newspapers and I've organized debates in my university. Globally, I've attended to conferences on social exclusion, poverty, women's rights and gender equality.

One of the most relevant strategies I've found was using Web 2.0 as a platform to speak. My blog, related to the G(irls) 20 Summit, has helped me a lot in sharing my experiences regarding women's issues and raising awareness among my friends, NGOs, activists and government agents worldwide.

Because of that, I see PulseWire as a very powerful tool for me to reach these same goals. But now I believe it will be possible to reach even more people, for we are connected in this same online community. Therefore, I am very optimistic that the outcomes for my activism will be even more concrete and relevant.

Comments

AmyM's picture

Eloquent and powerful!

Thais,

You have done such a great job with this assignment. Well done! You clearly answered the questions of the assignment in a compelling and eloquent way. Despite the real dangers faced by you and other women in your country, you are actively working for positive change. What you have already achieved is remarkable. I have no doubt that you will continue to be a leader in your community. Thank you for all you do!

All the best,

Amy

Christine L's picture

Yes, speak up!

Thais,
You have done excellent work and your one voice I am sure will have a tremendous impact in creating some change in your community. You are right that speaking up and being an advocate is a way to success and the forum provided through Web 2.0 is immense in its scope.

Congratulations in your work so far. You are a fearless inspiration.
Christine

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”- Mahatma Gandhi
www.harmonydrs.com

tallybery's picture

Dear Thais, I am here as part

Dear Thais,

I am here as part of the listener group to congratulate you on your assignment. Your piece is trully inspiring . We suffer, in Brasil, from this enormous gap between social classes. I belive that violance comes as the natural response to this social desiguality. It is not enought to fight for peace walking the streets of Ipanema with a flag...We will only be allowed to have peace when we conquer social justice. We are still far from that, but I belive we are closer than never...so I thing we have to keep on this direction and to speak up is a way to guarantee that we move forward, inspiring others and collaborating to promote a changing of cultural paradigms. I am looking forward to reading your next text.I am with you on this battle to changing our Brasil into a more fair country :-)

Mei Li's picture

Engaging

Your post is inspiring!

I connect to many things you wrote:

"...many don't spare time to participate politically in the democratic process."

This is a problem in the US as well. People do not spare the time. They are distracted by other things that keep them feeling complacent or uninterested in learning about their communities - how everyone is connected, how we influence each other, the subtle and huge changes that come about by communicating with each other.

"I believe the only way of eliminating these barriers is raising awareness and fostering people's interest on these subjects."

You have to find things they can connect to. My favorite way to raise awareness is by talking to children :) My 9-yr-old nephew began to raise awareness about pollution and animal cruelty because I had honest conversations with him about where his food comes from and what is happening to the environment he lives in. He was living in Texas. I stressed health affects caused by environment by helping him connect himself to these issues. After a short period of time, he wanted to protest :) He did not understand why adults were not concerned with how the earth would be left to him and those to come.

I know these are 2 different topics. You are talking about violence and a community and I am talking about pollution and a 9 yr old - my point is that people can become more engaged when they are taught how they are directly effected by things.

Which is why I smiled over the next few lines I read by you,
"The more we become convinced that something is wrong within the organization of our community and, mainly, that these wrong points are changeable, the more we are compelled to do something about it."

"My present solution for all that is to speak up. In the last years, I've grabbed all the opportunities I could to make my message heard and to stimulate dialogue about the change we want to see in our world. Locally, I've taken part in youth councils in local newspapers and I've organized debates in my university." And all of this. You never know how many people feel the same way you do. I am sure you are already a leading example in your community by combining passion with activism and raising your voice.

"...our compassion is the practice of unconditioning." Jakusho Kwong Roshi

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