Editor’s Note: Social Change Manifesto is a republished call-to-action orginally created by the Andrew Goodman Foundation Millennial Advisory Committee. Please view the orginal manifesto here.
Today, economic inequality is on the rise. Equitable access to opportunity is being threatened by failing K-12 systems and ballooning costs of higher education. We are seeing disparate outcomes in education, health, employment, mobility and housing on an unprecedented scale. Communities of color are particularly affected. Despite the best efforts of many who have made fighting poverty their lives’ work, we have failed to turn the tide. And, much needs to be done to protect and improve the health of the environment.
Meanwhile, the entire notion of community has been transformed by revolutionary forces such as globalization and the Internet. Political engagement and activism have begun to take on new forms that have the potential to make power and responsibility more distributed and equitable than in times past.
Yet, we often let the magnitude of the issues lull us into inaction. As much as technology has great equalizing potential, it also makes us less likely to seek out deeper forms of human interaction. Daily, we are overwhelmed by information that leads us to scan for anecdotal evidence rather than to strive for deeper understanding of issues in all of their complexity. Online movements, such as ‘clicktivism’, though important pieces of comprehensive efforts, overemphasize ‘quick fixes’ where the scale of the solution is nowhere near commensurate with the scale of the problem.
It is in this context that we commit ourselves to charting a new path forward. This path must be informed by a renewed spirit of empathy and responsibility for others present and future. We cannot allow technological and social advances to render us short-sighted or allow the previous generations’ heroes to be lost in the Internet’s white noise. When we have the ability to connect and collaborate with virtually anyone across the globe with the click of a button, we cannot be satisfied with surface, knee-jerk forms of civic participation.
BUILD A WIDE NET
Expand your networks to include folks in sectors and movements beyond your specific interests. The digital space offers great potential to this end.
ENGAGE IN INTER-GENERATIONAL CONVERSATIONS
In order to marry the wisdom of leaders who have driven our most important social movements with the innovation (including technological advances) of today.
INNOVATE & EDUCATE
Strive to make positive change in every facet of your life, from the work you do to the things you buy. Educate others, while being empathetic. Learn from the past successes and failures. Don’t let the status quo define our generation.
CALL OUT INEQUALITY
When you see or experience inequality, make a point to understand the underpinnings of what systems are in place that lead to that inequality.
Harness the viral potential of memes to bring awareness to/raise money for causes.
MOBILIZE OUR GREATEST HOPE: THE YOUTH
Organize the constituency that has historically been at the forefront of social change — young people — where they are in physical and virtual spaces.
Today, we have the ability to share and co-create solutions like never before. Engage with the work, ideas, and experience of others to expand the adjacent possible.
HOLD GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABLE
Some of our most innovative solutions are emerging from the ability of citizens to harness government data for good. Push all levels of government to be more transparent and release data; an increased understanding of policy decisions empowers citizens.
DISRUPT THE SYSTEM
Be bold, think big, and fail hard.