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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.


Adepeju's picture

Honestly, Susan, your post is

Honestly, Susan, your post is an eye opener. Reading through your challenges made me understand a lot of things about societies its various undertones. I wish you the very best dear friend.

One of Many's picture

You sound very engaged

Dear Susan:

It sounds like not only do you know a lot about situations of injustice and inappropriate priorities in our government, but you are engaged in making a difference, as opposed to feeling apathetic and disempowered. Bravo to you, Susan.

It is so tragic that our government does things because corporations tell it to, instead of considering the human rights issues and acting upon things according to that. Though I don't like learning things that are unfortunate, it is so important that we learn them, so thank you for blogging and facebook posting....and I look forward to you using WP!

I wonder how you might want to use Pulsewire specifically. I mean, were the possibilities you suggest ones that you want to do? If so, it's totally okay to say that. This is your voice -- what a link to power. Congratulations. This opportunity here can make a big difference.


Speaking my Peace

Susan Studebaker's picture

Week 3 writing assignment

Your writing was very clear and understandable. It is obvious that you have thought about the barriers and challenges and that you are working to overcome these challenges. Your examples were very enlightening and show how little some (and I'm afraid, it's actually "many") people in this country just don't pay attention to what is going on in the world. Nice job!


binapatel33's picture

Good post

Hi Susan,
I wish you all the best with your desire to help the women. You are doing a very good job posting on the website for your cause and I wish you all the best and hope that you are able to accomplish your goal. Your story is an eye opener and need to be read by millions to create further awareness. I wish you all the best Susan!

Kind Regards,
Bina Patel
hc Mediate, LLC

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