Tag Archives: fun

the fun in social justice

i commit to writing a blog post exploring the fun in social justice.

once again, northern voice, vancouver’s annual blogging and social media conference, was a lot of fun. two inspiring sessions were about making a difference in the world: one about doing good by darren barefoot, and another about social media and social justice by ajay masala puri and jeremy osborn. the one about social justice, which took place outside in the grass on a beautiful sunny afternoon, challenged all participants to commit to doing one thing towards social justice.

social justice plays a relatively large part in my life – among other things, it’s one of the categories here on this blog. also, right now i work for an organization that is entirely dedicated to social justice, the mennonite central committee. as i was thinking about a possible commitment it occurred to me that while i do dedicate a good of amount of my time and some of my money to social justice, there are moments when the term seems a bit heavy, maybe a little too serious. that’s how i came up with the commitment of looking at the fun side of social justice. fun is important for me; fun sustains me. it makes sense, then, to invest something in the fun side of this – it’ll keep my interest in social justice going! so here are a few thoughts on the fun part of social justice.

volunteering
each and every organization committed to social justice started out as a volunteer project, and i know of no social justice organization that doesn’t still rely heavily on volunteers. the cool thing about volunteering is that it can be tons of fun. who wouldn’t want to volunteer for the vancouver laughter mission society? how about collecting kids’ artwork for the canadian flowers for food society? one of the volunteer jobs i had a lot of fun with was organizing a fancy english afternoon tea party in the middle of the drug-infested downtown eastside to help collect money for bus fare for people who couldn’t afford it to go to doctors’ appointments, job interviews, etc. volunteering can give you a carte blanche – whatever you want to do, you can probably find a non-profit organization who will want to engage your services for it.

novelty
people engaged in social justice are often leading-edgers, pioneers. i think that’s why social justice and social media go so well together – they both tend to attract those of us who will never be happy unless we’re standing right at the cliff, looking at new possibilities, new landscapes. there’s such an excitement that comes with trying out something that no-one has ever done before (one reason why raul and i are so into mental health camp).

super cool people
and the people you meet! fascinating! one of my co-workers has assisted first nations people for decades – but he also has an awesome bluegrass band. another one of my coworkers, who is incapable of going through a week at work without coming up with at least one completely novel way to help our clients, has worked with the amish, busted his chops as a waiter in japan, and researched thai monks somewhere in a remote forest. granted, you can meet interesting people anywhere, but i don’t know of any other sector where the company of stimulating people is so easy to come by as in social justice circles.

community building
“it’s fun, you walk up and down the street and you know everybody. you sit and chat with people and you hang out,” says my friend micha, who works with a group that does neighbourhood-based restorative justice. of course there’s many ways of building community but again, people who feel passionate about striving for a common, elusive goal such as social justice – they just build a special kind of community.

where have you found fun in social justice?

blogathon: isabella’s amazing interview powers

my friends J and M just came over (at 12:00 at night!) to keep me company as i brave the last few hours of the blogathon. so we did two interviews. here is the first one. i’m “i”. please observe my stellar interview skills.

i: what should i interview you about?

j: fun!

i: what’s the most fun thing you’ve done in the last 24 hours

j: i cleaned my bathroom. it was really great because i had flylady inspiration.

i: flylady! tell me more about flylady!

j: flylady is all about encouraging good habits without guilt or pressure. and the mechanism is a web site and email list.

i: without guilt or pressure. tell me more about that.

m: that’s quite the interview technique you have. tell me more about it, tell me more about it!

j: there are inspirational stories from people who have felt overwhelmed by housekeeping.

i: oh, it must have my stories, too!

j: possibly. a lot about feeling overwhelmed and then baby steps to get out from under it.

i: hm.

m: hm.

j: ask me for an example! (she’s prompting the interviewer)

i: okay, tell me more about, uh, give me an example!

j: well, there’s the swish ‘n’ swipe. 30 seconds once a day in the bathroom and it never gets disgusting. and then “polish your kitchen sink” and “dress to your shoes”. when you get up in the morning you dress for work and you make sure you wear your shoes. that way you’re serious about yourself at home, too.

i: so you like being serious?

pause.

deep sigh.

j: when it gets the job done? yes.

i: but we started talking about fun. i’m confused.

j: i did other fun things.

i: like what? tell me more …

j giggles.

j: i got dippity doo for my stepson. he just got his hair done fancy for camp.

i: hair done fancy for camp???

j: dyed black with teal highlights and a mohawk. (apparently mohawk is not spelled moWhawk. no mowing going on here)

j and m: and the dippity doo is for the mohawk.

i: and that was fun?

j: thinking about my stepson going off to camp powerful is a lot of fun.

m: camp powerful? what a great name for a camp for kids.

j: he’s going off to camp powerful. feeling empowered.

m: camp powerful would be a great name for a camp.

i: and a fun name!

that concludes this interview. wasn’t it fun?

canadian mental health association

this is an entry for my participation in the 2008 blogathon, a 24-hour marathon of blogging. please support the cause and donate – however much, however little – to the canadian mental health association (vancouver/burnaby branch). to donate, email me or use this URL: www.canadahelps.org/CharityProfilePage.aspx?CharityID=d2252. you should be able to get there by clicking the link; if not, just copy and paste the link into your browser. it will take you to the appropriate location at canada helps.

thank you for visiting, reading, commenting and, if you can, donating!