I’ve written almost 100 blog posts for be the future. When I started this blog, I didn’t know what would come from it. I’ve been online in some form for more than two thirds of my life. I’ve been a writer for even longer.
I decided to do a little navel-gazing and document my five favorite blog posts of the year. For people who don’t visit my site every week, this is my chance to show off some posts I’m proud of.
Here’s last year’s (admittedly backdated) looking future 2020.
We struggle and fight to receive resources insufficient to solve our problems. This fighting ignores what created these problems in the first place. The further enrichment of the elite class. Racism and classism perpetrated on generations of laborers. The constant denigration of the public’s social services. The diverting of money to an ever-expanding police state. We are all fighting to share a pie while the capitalist hoards ten.
In my own work, when I face a discussion that feels all too familiar, what I need is to take a step back. I need to think about what I know and why I trust my instincts. I need to remember the institutional racism baked into my public education. I need to be mindful of the colonial paternalism that my life experiences have always steeped in. I need to remember what ideas always get people out of their time loops, and why I haven’t chosen them yet.
Like so many aspects of our society, we need to rebuild and replace programs, not reform them. Campaign Zero and Little Free Pantries don’t feel like they have much in common. They are both examples of performative activism. In performative activism, the illusion of change gives cover to the status quo. Programs like these can help us feel like we’re part of the solution when everyone is watching. But in reality, these efforts keep us disconnected from our communities and each other.
BIPOCs fall through cracks so often in our system. They are often the last to find out about programs that have limited spaces and a long waitlist. BIPOCs who are vision impaired may never find out about them. People who speak a language other than English may not read about these services until it’s too late. Someone may have translated the registration form, but the website it lives on is only in English. The email and posters advertising the program are in English, maybe a second language if we’re lucky. Grants and donations don’t always cover the accessibility. Sometimes the nonprofit doesn’t have the staffing, education, or time to do them. For so many people, finding a program like this, getting food from people who have it, can feel like a matter of chance.
One common truth about change management is that it can happen, but it takes time. People say organizations move like old ships, shuddering and turning against the outside world. But organizations aren’t ships. They aren’t alive, not like we are. They are full of people. And people change every day. People without power or authority must often change, quickly, even when we don’t want to. But people in power often don’t feel that urgency, not even for crises that are centuries overdue.
That’s a wrap on 2021, folks! Thank you for all the love and support you’ve shown me over the past year. I have some really exciting stuff lined up for 2022. I’ll see you there.