Harnessing the Power of the Internet to Create Change
What are your challenges and barriers to creating change in your community?
My current interest is in creating open, participatory and representative government; a government not beholden to lobbyists, corporations and the rich. Specifically I would like to counter the influence of money on U.S. domestic and foreign policy; to create policy driven by a commitment to human rights and social and economic justice.
The single biggest barrier to change in my community is apathy, a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern. Human nature is that most people respond only when they are negatively impacted by a policy.
A sense of hopelessness is another barrier to change. A large majority of U.S. citizens voted against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Guantanamo prison, extraordinary renditions, torture, wealth inequality and corporate profiteering. Our current two party system where candidates are required to raise millions to fund campaigns favors the wealthy and creates a situation where candidates are beholden to special interests.
An uninformed citizenry creates a third barrier to change. Access to information is essential. It ensures that citizens make informed decisions rather than acting out of ignorance or misinformation. Examples are a recent exchange with a co-worker who referred to former President Hosni Mubarak as the President of India. An August 2011, CNN broadcast showed a map highlighting the city of Tripoli in Lebanon, instead of Libya, where the civil war is raging.
What are some of your present solutions to overcoming these challenges and barriers?
The social media tool that I use most frequently to initiate dialogue is Facebook. Shared information can easily reach hundreds or even thousands of Facebook community users by virtue of friends clicking the ‘share’ button. This past week I posted articles and YouTube videos about the current protest ‘OccupyWallStreet’ in New York City. One of the most creative uses of social media at ‘OccupyWallStreet’ has been to enlist supporters to order OccuPie’s from Liberatos Pizza in Manhattan's Financial District and have them delivered to protestors at their encampment in Liberty Park.
Writing and photography are my primary vehicles of communication. I post stories and photographs of my work on my website, Facebook, Flickr and a blog.
How do you currently use, or see the possibility of using, PulseWire and other online communities to overcome these challenges?
PulseWire or other online communities might be used to petition the U.S. Congress to pass S.229 ‘The Afghan Women Empowerment Act of 2009’ and it’s companion bill HR 2214 in the House of Representatives.
It might be used to demand protection for Haitian women who continue to be victims of sexual violence in the tent camps around Port au Prince.
Wikileaks recently released diplomatic cables indicating that the U.S. Embassy put pressure on Haiti’s President Preval to block a minimum wage increase for Haitian assembly zone workers producing clothing for U.S. companies Fruit of the Loom, Hanes and Levi’s.
PulseWire might be used to advocate for human rights and social and economic justice on behalf of people around the world.