Social activism should be less about protests, anger and opposition; and more focused on building better alternatives and preparing yourself to aid the injured and vulnerable in your community.
The Everyday Hero
The world is not a utopia. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. You recognize this. It’s why you practice situational awareness — to mitigate the likelihood that you or others in your sphere are targeted. And it’s why you support and praise those who put themselves at risk to protect the most vulnerable. This positive feedback makes more likely such heroic acts. And that’s why it is important to recognize that a heroic actor is not constrained to one profession.
No matter an individuals background, dress, official title, or other arbitrary characteristic, each of us contains the capacity to do a heroic act. Yourself included. This recognition, or shift in mindset — from one of looking a heroism as a professional function limited to those in a handful of careers, to one that understands that we can each have a positive, potentially life-saving impact — may seem subtle, but its implications are profound.
Once you acknowledge the fact that you have the ability and motivation…
Don’t Live As A Reaction, Act Deliberately
Does unaccountability within today’s policing model make you angry? Perhaps you too can pivot into a paradigm more sustainable and constructive. In doing so, you may find that you’re an even more caring and empathetic person as you come to recognize that like each of us, police employees and police supporters are each on their own journey, and for the most part do want to make the world a better place. Armed with this knowledge it’s almost as if you have a personal decoder ring that allows you to see through the superficial distractions to the mechanisms at work at the core of this issue.
No longer will every instance of police employee misconduct cause you to become irate and feel powerless. Instead, you’ll recognize such incidents — as unfortunate as they are — as symptoms of an institution based on flawed premises. You can stop living as a reaction — upset at the latest story or video — and start implementing positive, practical, sustainable steps.
Think about your interactions with police employees. Certainly, it can be attractive to lambast police carte blanche. But is it effective? Do such means achieve a more desirable end? Consider being in the shoes of a police employee. Your life, career, and friends are inculcated in the thin blue line culture. You’re constantly told that any non-police employee is not to be trusted, and that your primary task is to make it home after each shift. If you’re walking down the street or posted up at a protest and someone calls you a bastard, how likely would you be to deeply consider the rationale behind the statement? Probably not much. If anything, it may only serve to grow the division and reinforce the preconceived notions you already hold. In such a scenario no one wins.
Achieving a more just world, or a better world for the next generation, cannot be forged if everyone involved is led by hatred. Be the change you wish to see. A myriad of options exists for you to create a safer, saner world. This is achieved not by confronting police employees haphazardly but by using tools to maximize transparency, facilitate real-time emergency response betwixt those you trust, and by cultivating skills to de-escalate situations, render help, and make yourself less vulnerable to coercion and compulsion.
If you’re doing something that makes you angry it’s not sustainable….
both articles written by Pete Eyre
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