Creating Collective Vision, Moving to Collective Action
We need everyone. More voices. More outrage. More compassion. More people. We need so much more if we are going to make real and lasting change, if we are going to find ways to end violence in our homes and on our streets. If we are going to change the staggering statistics, if we are going to keep more lives from being lost, we need everyone.
In December, I joined the ranks of many dedicated activists committed to ending violence against women and girls when I participated in my first meeting of Cohort 2 of Move to End Violence. On one hand, I left inspired and energized by the depth and breadth of experience amongst my cohort. On the other, I thought of all the work we have yet to do together. Of all the questions we have yet to ask and answer.
My passion for engaging men in the movement to end violence against women and girls led me to ground myself in questions of violence and masculinity. Questions like: What does it mean to “be a man?” Must masculinity be violent? What causes violence? What sustains it? These are the questions we strategize answers to at Men Stopping Violence, and these were the questions I brought with me to Tarrytown, NY in December.
These are big questions. They are a matter of observing and chronicling the wide rage of forces at play in our society: cultural, political, historical. I realized, over the course of that week in the Hudson Valley, that if the problems are big, then so must our solutions be. The first step is begun. Coming together, embracing the paradigm created with so much intention and care, by members of Cohort 1 which calls on us to first and foremost, take a collective breath and put our cards on the table. To map our movement, and take stock of our strengths. To name our challenges. To center the voices and needs of the most marginalized. To enlist the brightest, boldest and most fearless amongst us. To deepen our shared understandings. To stand on the shoulders of the hundreds that made it possible for us to be here now and; to make a plan of action.
A plan of collective action. If there’s anything that can help us create a world free from violence against women and girls, it’s a movement with depth and heart. Focused on answering hard questions about what causes and sustains violence. Rooted in an intersectional analysis. Led by compassion and a collective understanding of what we’re up against.
We need everyone. More voices. More outrage. More compassion. More people. The good news is, we’re on our way.
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