Don't forget the small things
In my community, like most, there are a group of passionate people who want positive change. There are people, like all of us on here, who truly believe change can happen, even if it is one step at time. Yet, there are also people who do not believe their actions, that their own behaviors can change the world around them. Some people often think there are no problems at their front door or who ignore social injustices around them. I think in my community, the challenges lie in the people who are ignorant to problems in Canada or in the global community.
The challenge in a country like Canada, is getting people to realize their potential to enact positive change. This might be as simple as reading a thought provoking book, watching a documentary on human trafficking or buying a fair trade coffee at a local coffee shop. While attending universities, students are often engaged in their community but after they are finished, it seems harder for people to be engaged. Not everyone has to start their own organization, lead a team of volunteers abroad or protest at parliament hill, but understanding issues or even being aware of issues in their community is a small step. People often have a harder time fundraising for a homework club in Canada then they do when fundraising money to build a school in Guatemala for example. While both projects, both initiatives are important, in Canada, a challenge is getting people to engage in their own community. In a previous journal I wrote that poverty for example is not a secret, but hidden. People in my community like to think that problems, social inequality, racism, discrimination and negative stereotypes are not here, but they are. The biggest barrier is people ignoring these problems and blaming the inequalities on the individual. Growing up you are taught that working hard gets you ahead yet, there is a very negative stereotype in this community that if you are poor, you are not hardworking for example. When you take these negative stereotype, people ignoring real issues in their community and people not realizing their actions effect the world around them, it creates a environment where people almost feel they cannot engage in positive change.
While people do not chose where they are born, we can chose to be engaged in social justice issues nationally and internationally. It is through education, conversations, breaking down stereotypes and barriers that we can see change. Pulsewire is one tool to discuss issues in our communities, connect with other women and brainstorm ideas. The organization that I have led teams of volunteers internationally with has really tried to realign their original mission, which is to build relationships. I think this simple notion can really go a long way. This might be talking to your neighbour, making a friend in Nicaragua, reading someone's journal on Pulsewire or building a relationship with a youth at a youth homeless shelter. Building relationships with people in your community can enact positive change. When people meet to talk about issues, plan a social justice cafe or even eat local farmers food, they are making a change in their community. I think we often forget the small things we do really is the only way we can be the change we want to see in the world.