Sometimes all it takes is one.
What are the opportunities and challenges of being an activist?
First of all, there's the question of balancing activism with the rest of your life. Activists often feel they have to give everything to their cause, at the expense of everything else. This can lead to burnout, imbalance, and a sense of futility. Hillary Rettig's The Lifelong Activist
is a wonderful companion for anyone who is, is contemplating becoming, or knows, an activist. It teaches you very practical steps and measures to take to make sure that activism is a joy not a burden and that every achievement leads you on to another.
So, how do you do what you need to do to change things. Josephine Bellaccomo's Move the Message
is the perfect book to help you plan and execute your activism in as efficient, empowering, and effective a way as possible. From the very outset of planning and targeting your campaign, to using volunteers well and shaping your message, from talking to power brokers to taking it to the street, Move the Message
not only helps you run a successful campaign, but provides invaluable insights into how you can be effective in all aspects of your professional life.
But why do some messages hit their mark while others are resisted? What are the psychological mechanisms by which change is affected or delayed? These questions are addressed in Change of Heart
by Nick Cooney. Nick has combed through the social science journals to show the lengths to which we humans will go to avoid having to change our opinions (!) and the techniques that activists, marketers, and others has used to break down our barriers. The book is written for non-profits, community organizers, and others so decisions can be made in their advocacy work—but it's applicable to anyone seeking to persuade someone else of the virtue of a new idea.
Finally, how do you sustain yourself psychologically in the face of violence and trauma. In Aftershock
, long-time activist pattrice jones illustrates the importance of recognizing post-traumatic stress disorder and preventing yourself from being overwhelmed and isolated. She talks about the importance of honoring your body, supporting your friends, and trusting in your feelings, and also provides very hard-headed and practical advice on getting through the toughest of tough situations.