Social Activism and Treading Carefully

Social Activism and Treading Carefully

Throughout history stretches a long list with names of activists that were persecuted, tortured and even killed. Sometimes, their suffering or death only accelerated the changes they fought for.

But there’s an even longer (and mostly unknown) list with the names of hidden activists. Those that have treaded carefully and taken fewer risks in order to ensure their safety and thus, the longevity of their work. These are the little-known heroes that operated patiently, within the confines of a system (and often working around the system), changing it from the inside, slowly but surely (and often collaborating with the “outsiders” more than we will know in this lifetime).

What determines the success of a message? The shock and confrontation approach, or a slow and careful process of sculpting society? A sprint prodding others to act, or a marathon of implementation? The answer is: any mix of the above. That’s where an activist’s strategy comes into play. And let’s not forget that chance also plays a role.

Berta Caceres

To Be or Not to Be an Activist

Being an activist has never been easy. Even in the 21st century, the death sentence for speaking the wrong words can be delivered unexpectedly by those that happen to disagree for whatever reason. This happens despite millennia of social development, now culminating with a sharp rise in our ability to exercise the right for free speech thanks to the Internet.

Last month, just before UK’s referendum on whether or not they should stay in the European Union, a member of parliament was killed, probably because she was holding peaceful views in a country that is increasingly dominated by hate. Jo Cox was stabbed, shot, and then stabbed again, in a horrifying illustration of how the wrong politics and education have mutilated our society.