Community as an agent of change
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead.
With wars and multi-layer crises including biodiversity, the cost of living and lack of clean air, it is pretty understandable to be feeling paralysed. I know I do sometimes.
But this is where community can come to the rescue. While Greta Thunberg has famously said, “no one is too small to make a difference” it can often feel that way. Especially with the dividing noise of social media added to the mix.
The importance of community as a means to protect our mental health is not a new concept. In fact, the government of Bhutan measures the country’s happiness across 9 pillars, including ‘social vitality and connection’ - a.k.a, a sense of community. And while community is a protective measure against poor mental health, it is also essential to widespread social change.
Community as an agent of change
The feminist movement has brought about a wealth of rights for those who identify as women. From near-universal suffrage in the early 20th Century in many parts of the world to later, during the second wave, the right to work. Later still, identity and sexuality came to the foreground. And although women are still very much fighting for basic human rights, including access to medical procedures such as abortion and equal pay, the movement has come a long way. I would argue that without mass protests and petitions - real instances of community action - women would not have even a fraction of the rights they have now.
The civil rights movement is another example of community action at work. Black Americans came together to battle against segregation and the very real legacy of slavery that was infringing on their everyday lives. The movement drove the creation of The Civil Rights Act of 1964 which banned discrimination in public facilities, including lunch counters, hotels and schools and made employment discrimination illegal based on race, colour, religion, sex or national origin. The document was the most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction. Another success was The Fair Housing Act—which prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of dwellings based on race, colour, religion, sex or national origin.
More recently, the climate action movement, led by groups such as Extinction Rebellion and Fridays for Future has led to widespread change with regard to both national and international climate action. Their protests were a huge factor in the UK declaring a climate emergency in 2019, and as of May 2022, 39 countries had done so.
Adding technology to the mix
So it is clear that community is not only good for our health but also can lead to real and impactful change. With the power of smartphones, the power of community can only grow. We no longer need to meet in person to take action but can organise across countries and time zones. Social media is a good place to start, but it can be divisive. It turns nuance and context into mere soundbites.
viaGood on the other hand is the antidote to that. We bring the connectivity of social media without the slogans and divisions. Everyone in the viaGood community is on the same team.
So, what are you unhappy with about our world? Species extinction? Biodiversity loss? Gender inequality? Don’t feel you need to take on these challenges alone, sign a petition, share an event, donate, connect with like-minded people in the viaGood app and make a difference.