I’ve seen people at conferences giving the same talk they gave two years ago. Activists speaking and organizing in ways unchanged since 2015. Educators facilitating workshops with a curriculum written in 2012.
The world is different now than it was then.
The people you’re working with — or against, or for — have different mindsets, beliefs, knowledge, perspectives, values, opinions, grudges, predispositions, awarenesses, and biases now than they did then.
The world you’re working in — and trying to improve — is comprised of different technologies, constituencies, zeitgeists, cultural norms, and public knowledge now than it was then.
And the “then” could be yesterday. Or last year. Your “then” could be “before Trump was elected. Or “when we didn’t know this huge thing.” Or “before ‘Black Lives Matter’ activism started.” Or “when we weren’t sure whether this one thing would work or not.” Or “before our community experienced that travesty.” Or “when we didn’t have social media.”
When I started doing social justice work, most people didn’t know what “social justice” meant. They’d never heard the phrase. It was brand new to them. That was the first bar to jump: explaining what I was working to do.
That’s a “then”: when most people I encountered hadn’t heard the phrase “social justice.”Keep reading…