Are You a Helper? An Advocate? An Organizer? A Rebel?

Big Question: Where can I begin – how do my strengths, skills, and dispositions relate to advancing just, inclusive, sustainable communities?

Time Commitment: 45 minutes

Personal Reflection: 

Think back to earlier modules on local actions and migrant rights in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania , as well as civil society more broadly. Do you recall if you felt particularly attracted to charity, project, policy change, be the change, or visionary futurism? If you haven’t had the chance to view those earlier pages, or if your memory is fuzzy, take 12 minutes to read Artist activists, policy lobbyists, early childhood educators: The great diversities in making a difference.

In this graphic, there are five  circles, each with the title of a type of social change work: Charity, Project, Policy Change, Be the Change, and Visionary Futurism. There are small arrows between each circles suggesting that these social change types are reinforcing each other. The task of action is related to Charity and Project. The task of critique is related to Project and Policy Change. The task of restructuring is related to Be the Change and Visionary Futurism. The task of reimagining is related to Visionary Futurism and Charity.
Chart via Generocity.
Table via Generocity.

Why This Matters:

Reflecting on your strengths and dispositions across different types of change-making can help you find the location from which you can make the greatest impact. Additionally, appreciating broader movements for social justice can offer insight into how people and organizations frequently must work together – even across different change-making types, in order to make meaningful and lasting change. 

Diving In, Part 1: Everyone has a role to play

Training for Change defines four roles in social change: Helpers, advocates, organizers, and rebels. Now take 12 minutes to read and reflect on What role were you born to play in social change?

One of the essential insights of this framework is that everyone is needed, and everyone can contribute. It’s about finding the right location and, of course, doing so with cultural humility and critical reflection on structural violence.

In this graphic, there appears four circles with clockwise arrows: Helper, Advocate, Organizer, and Rebel.
Four Roles in Social Change

Reflection Question – Roles in Social Change: 

Among the four roles in social change and “great diversities in making a difference” identified above, where are you most attracted to make your contribution? How does that show up in your current service, internship, work, or life? How do you hope your social change role shows up in your work moving forward?

Reflection Question:

On an issue that you’re passionate about, identify organizations, individuals, or activists that address the issue through the lens of:

  • charity
  • helper
  • project
  • advocate
  • policy change
  • organizer
  • be the change
  • rebel
  • visionary futurism

Page Completion – Outcomes:

Now that you have completed this page and the readings, videos, and activities within it, you should have strengthened your understanding of: 

  • Different methods to advance a common cause toward more just, inclusive, sustainable communities
  • Different roles that social change agents play
  • Your own disposition toward social change roles and strategies

Please share feedback on this page by taking this 5-question survey. Thank you!

Next: What is sustainability and in what ways does it interconnect with global solidarity and local actions?

Citation for this page: Lion, J., & Hartman, E. (2020). How do my strengths, skills, and dispositions relate to advancing just, inclusive, sustainable communities? In E. Hartman (Ed.). Interdependence: Global Solidarity and Local Actions. The Community-based Global Learning Collaborative. Retrieved from http://globalsolidaritylocalaction.sites.haverford.edu/are-you-a-helper-an-advocate-an-organizer-a-rebel/

Further Reading

When We Fight We Win

Citations

Hartman, E., & Keene, S. (2019, August 28). Artist activists, policy lobbyists, early childhood educators: The great diversities in making a difference. Retrieved May 7, 2020, from https://generocity.org/philly/2019/08/28/artist-activists-policy-lobbyists-early-childhood-educators-the-great-diversities-in-making-a-difference/

Lakey, G. (2016, February 3). What role were you born to play in social change? Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://wagingnonviolence.org/2016/02/bill-moyer-four-roles-of-social-change/

Moyer, B. (n.d.). Four Roles in Social Change. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from https://www.trainingforchange.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Four-Roles-in-Social-Change.pdf