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Roots of Change: Social Justice and Media

6 Oct

November 2-4, 2011

Portland, Oregon

We like to promote efforts to create a peaceful and just world for all.  Thus, we’d like you to know about Roots of Change: Social Justice and Media.  This conference addresses the prevention of gendered violence (aka violence against women).  How does this conference fit a connectionist perspective?   It’s in the name.  Roots.  This conference focuses on something called primary prevention.  Primary prevention is about preventing the harmful behavior in the first place.  This means focusing on the root causes of the problem, in this case gendered violence.  It’s about creating environments that promote health and well-being so the “bad stuff,” whatever that may be, doesn’t ever have a chance of happening.

We know that the same root causes that lead to sexual violence support violence and exploitation of all animals and the planet itself.  We encourage you to attend Roots of Change to explore those roots and lend your connectionist voice to efforts to eliminate them and to create a world that works for all.

What other conferences should we know about?  Leave a comment!

What are you FOR ?

9 Nov

Public Health, Outcomes, and Connecting the Dots

22 May

As someone who focuses on primary prevention of sexual violence  (preventing the behavior from ever occurring in the first place) in my work, I (Ashley) use a public health framework.  This means I do a lot of public health-type things, like creating logic models and strategic plans.  Given that I do this work all but two days a week, and often on the weekends, I usually find myself thinking about how useful these skills will be when I finally have more time to devote myself to the Connect the Dots initiative.

“Wait, what?  Are you going to tell us how great logic models and strategic plans are for connecting the dots?”

Yep.

Well, I’ll spare you the dry details.  Clearly any movement needs to have direction.  While I respect and expect the movement’s growth from the ground up, as a grassroots initiative, we must have a vision for where we are going. This is where planning comes in.   What I think we haven’t asked ourselves enough is, What do we want to see?  What outcomes do we expect?  I can think of plenty specific and measurable short-term outcomes that we’ll be pursuing as the initiative develops.  But as a whole, as a movement, what are our long-term outcomes?  What do we want to see in 5 years?  10 years?  50?

As with many movements, like the movement to end violence against women, we are really great at saying what we are against.  We want to end oppression, duh.  But what are we for?  What do we hope to see in the world?  What do we want to promote, rather than simply prevent/fight/end?  I think we need to spend some more time thinking about this.  Here are just a few thoughts about what we are for, long-term outcomes that we expect as a result of this connectionist movement:

  • Human, animal, and environmental well-being (I say this a lot, I know)
  • A Peaceful World for All
  • Compassion Towards All
  • Empathy for All
  • Justice for All

Stacia listed the following in about 2 seconds:

  • Eating animal products is something that is only done if there is no other way to get all of your daily sustenance with a plant-based diet (could be geography related)
  • Competent food distribution ensures that no one goes hungry
  • The human population begins to use water resources in a sound manner and everyone has access to clean water thereby eliminating the many pediatric deaths due to diarrheal illnesses due to drinking contaminated supplies
  • Heterosexuality is seen as one shade of normal (rather than the norm) along with the myriad of other sexual ways of being
  • Psychiatric illnesses are no longer stigmatized and the victims of them are given the resources needed to maximize their lives
  • Critical thinking skills are taught in schools
  • Racism ceases to exist
  • Human culture shifts from encouraging the minimization and exploitation of the female body to viewing and treating women and men as equals.

And on and on.  True, it’s hard for me, no matter the topic, to focus on the positive.  That’s why I only include 4 bullet points above.  What do you want to see?  What does a world in which people connect the dots look like to you?  In public health, we may call these outcomes, but I often find it easier to ask, What do I expect to see as a result of these efforts?  What do you expect to see?  What will a world that has benefited from a connectionist movement look like to you?

UPDATE: After this blog was written, I discovered that the Animal Rights & AntiOppression blog posted a great piece on measuring success. Read it! I love this blog.  It makes me feel less alone.  And so do all of you who consider yourself part of this movement.  Thank you.