I attended We Are Many: Reflections on Movement Strategy from Occupation to Liberation, a panel discussion about a book of the same title moderated by Mike McGuire, with co-editor Kate Khatib. The panel featured contributors Lester Spence, John Duda, and Ryan Harvey as well as one other speaker whose name I did not catch. The book is a collection of reflections on the Occupy Movement. I have not had the opportunity to pick up the book yet, but the discussion that this panel sparked gave rise to several questions that I feel the need to reflect on.

What do you do when people aren't paying attention? This came up while discussing police repression and how it is often violent acts by the police that bring media attention to movements such as Occupy. It is clear that police repression is never a positive thing so how can movements make people pay attention without violent abuses of power occurring. It seems to me that even if an answer to this question is found that what is necessary goes beyond just paying attention. What one really wants if one is involved with activism or woking toward any kind of change in the world is both attention and care. How does one make people care? I followed this line of questioning then to not just being about attention or care, but also action. Once you have people's attention and they care about what you are working toward how do you encourage them to take action to move toward this change, both individually and by leveraging resources to be able to create real world change on a larger scale.

This led me to the question, can you make people care if they don't know you? This is what drives my own work. I believe that most people are doing the best that they can most of the time, but because of the way the world is still divided and separated, there exists divisions between people that are both historical and institutionalized and that are often extremely difficult cross. People are not interacting with others that are different from themselves because of the social, economic and other boundaries that are constructed culturally, thus preventing any deep and meaningful interactions between people of difference. Human beings have a great capacity for empathy and understanding, but the opportunity needs to be created so that there is space for this capacity to be utilized. The panel also touched on this idea of capacity - how we can take stock of our own capacity and how we can use the capacity of all populations when organizing. Someone spoke of successful organizing being about tapping into the capacity that the population you are working with has because all people have ability. It is in this idea of capacity that the potential for connection is rooted. 

This is why healing is such an important part of any work toward change. People are hurt by the divisions and ways that power is abused. In order to reach a greater capacity for empathy and thus action, one must address, heal and support others'  healing as well. Only then, can people realistically to work at their greatest capacity and realize their greatest potential. Then they will acknowledge the values that are strong within them and those that are weak and be able to act from a place of confidence when confronting another who may have different strengths and weaknesses. It is only through this self-reflection and a willingness to see oneself, others and the world honestly that allows for the ability to have the capacity to work together to address inequity and move toward change.