US Social Forum: We Can Change our World

We are told we can make a difference. Our parents, teachers, counselors, and mentors tell us over and over we can change the world.  We can make it better.  But we don’t want to perpetuate a society that marginalizes people based on race, gender, socio-economic status, or religion, so we become activists and organizers. We don’t want to perpetuate the inequalities in education, so we learn to create democratic classrooms. We don’t want to let large corporations decide whether we get healthcare, childcare or fair wages, so we unionize. We don’t want to abuse our environment, so we become conservationists.  Every day, we are trying to make another world possible.

What we aren’t told is how heartbreakingly isolated and difficult the work for systemic change can sometimes be. We aren’t always given the tools and resources needed to maintain the improvements we do make. We struggle to create autonomous communities, but in the process struggle against the rise of old power dynamics within these communities.

And yes, sometimes instead of persevering, we quit. We burn out. While our movements might ultimately be harmonious, they are often logistically disconnected and competing for the same resources. In a world where anything is possible, we need more space –better space – in which to support each other. We need to build relationships that reinforce our interconnectedness as human beings, our right to the basic necessities in life, and our awareness of the power we collectively hold to solve global problems.

This summer, we have an opportunity to do just that. Detroit is hosting the US Social Forum 2010 from June 22-26th. The US Social Forum is not just a conference, although there will be workshops running each day.  It isn’t just an event, although there will be art, music, and other creative expression that will bring you to your knees and get you on your feet. More than anything, the US Social Forum is a process – an ongoing people’s movement to create new systems, and a celebration of hope and possibility. It is an amalgamation of dialogue, reflection, testaments, and action. It is providing a place and time to network, articulate a vision, and define future  strategies for social, racial, gender, environmental and economic justice here in the United States and across the globe.

The US Social Forum is an opportunity to share tools and resources with each other. We will converge in Detroit only to disperse again, yet we will disperse with a vision, with renewal, replenishment, reaffirmation and recommitment to our struggle. We can change the world: it is possible.

Come to Detroit. Change your world. Change our world.

 Notions of Identity

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