On the power of showing up, over and over again
I found this to be a very encouraging article. All of our collective and individual efforts shift the world, even if we don't see immediate results. I regularly do one person acts of boycotting. Even when the act itself has no noticeable effect, the conversations I've had with others about my actions have planted seeds for change and action. I believe that these conversations are the foundation of powerful grassroots movements. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and generating discussion.
In response you- +++ - and Jewish Voice for Peace JVP/ not/ “Voices”- many erring this way. To departing Larry- as a Jew with hundreds at least relatives who are Israeli- Ignoring the destruction of Palestinian lives over 75+ years- the linking of Hamas- with the Palestinian People as a whole and the dangers Now to the Hostages as well as UN personnel and even Americans stuck in Gaza- killing more won’t help your fears- only the Challenging long/term effort to bring a just peace will ease all of our fears.
Oh, Garrett. You have cultivated an important discussion w your writings, but today you lost me forever. To speak about Israel bombing Gaza, without a peep about the Hamascide that ignited it, or why the cause of Israel remains important in spite of its deranged politics, gives voice to a growing movement that no longer separates anti Zionism from Jew hatred. I’m out. Unsubscribe.
My friends and I had the same discussions over many protests we experienced and then everything went back to its norm. Our protests were about environmental issues. Many of my friends got beaten and threw to jail and were followed for years by security police. Then the question emerges, what is the point of doing that when the forests were still chopped and those protestors lost their lives in constant fear and threats.
We don't actually know. Just like the story of that father with the origami crane. Thank you for writing about that.
And at the same time, I saw how the mentality of our community changed after our friends' lives were ruined. There were people started caring about them, about the issues. Young people read and learn what forests mean (such beginning education, need to be self-educated), what fresh air means, what less noise means. The younger people I met didn't go to protests. Many of them became research fellows and scientists to talk loudly on TV and interviews explaining what that means with pollution. I learn that the seeds come from those ruined lives. I learn that I also keep writing because of those ruined lives. The forest is gone. We didn't save any of it. But we learn to keep trying.
With this war, I am doing the same. Learning the same. I try to talk about it whenever I can. I want to understand and discuss the misery of those so far away from me.
This is a beautiful piece. Whether or not I agree with you about the Gaza situation is immaterial; the whole time I was reading I was thinking about my (seemingly endless) fight to end gun violence and it gave me the hope to keep going. Thank you.
Really appreciate this counter-point, and rhetorical visceral expression of your burnout. I’ve been there, I 100% know that feeling, and don’t want to counter it or say it’s not real. Instead, as somebody who appreciates all the years you’ve put into work for justice and who hears your burnout, what would it look like to show up for you right now?
Oh Garrett - thank you for this. Memories of our tiny protests at Beloit College, which felt meaningless but nonetheless, we showed up, with our candles.
My heart breaks for my terrified Jewish friends, and is broken and enraged as we watch the govt of Israel commit genocide in plain sight against helpless women and children.
I fear we're going into very dark times, but this reminds me to keep folding cranes ....
Thank you for this piece, Garrett. It was exactly what I needed to read today. I will be sharing it with some folks who I think could use the encouragement as well.
Well, of course your protests weren't going to stop the Iraq war from happening. But they helped, in a small way, to erode the consensus for pushing on as it became ever clearer that we were waist deep in the Big Muddy. The context for "The Surge" was already way different from the invasion, and from the Surge on, the only question was how to get out without being too obvious about being driven out.
Thanks for this, Garrett. I am a tenant organizer that’s been spread thin, and recently with protests in my city breaking out I said to myself, “it’s good that these are happening, but I’m putting in my work over here, I can support the boycott and be confident in my pro Palestine liberation stance, without spending several hours at a march” but I think siloing those things, or thinking I’m racking up points doing one thing to offset another is not a good mindset for social justice work. And I agree that sustainability is only going to happen if we see all these issues as connected. So I really appreciate the perspective you gave. It was incredibly thoughtful and I will hold on to the sentence” movements need something for people to do. “
Hey Garrett, I’m one of the ones who’s burned out. I appreciate your thinking, but the thing is I just don’t think the small stuff matters. I’ve been boycotting Walmart for 20 years, I very much doubt they’ve noticed. And the Crain story is sweet, but the US government didn’t know what it meant, mean while it cost your father money and time. Two things that are in even smaller supply now than then. When “alternative facts” are accepted as reality, it doesn’t matter how many letters I write or petitions I sign, you can’t argue with someone who genuinely believes with their whole being that 2+2=5.
I sincerely appreciate these recommendations/remarks because my granddaughter, Mia, has been active in NYC/JVP protests. They do make a difference! Let me join George Mark's comment in enthusiastic agreement with every word. I'm glad to see that Garrett Bucks concurs as well. He's terrific!
I began protesting in the 60's for Civil Rights and I view this as an extension of that cause. Thanks for this opportunity to express opinions. DD
My example for “things that seemed inevitable can change” has always been the fall of the Berlin Wall. Thanks for broadening my perspective. I will add the end of apartheid to my examples. These examples help me to keep showing up.
Even a slow dripping faucet can create a flood...."death by a thousand paper cuts", Etching away the tunnel in Shawshank Redemption....endless analogies, all so true. Every little ripple makes waves.
Thank you for this perspective, and the helpful links at the end. Most news reduces this down to simple dimensions when it's all so very nuanced.
I really appreciate this. As an educator, it always helps to remember how long and short it takes to make change happen.
I’m sharing resources for how to take action and for learning more on my Linketree: https://linktr.ee/amyphd