3 Point Plan For Taking Matters into Your Own Hands

Siafu looks at what you can do to affect change in their governments during elections and after

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By Sabine Friesinger

You own the government, it’s not the other way around. When you own something, it's up to you to manage it. In the midst of decisive provincial elections, Siafu wants to help you learn skills that work to bring about real change in your world. Illona Dougherty, co-founder of the Montreal-based non-profit Apathy is Boring, thinks that the most important thing to remember about election time is that democracy isn’t just about voting. “Democracy is about being in touch with the people in power, holding them accountable and making your voice heard.” Dougherty said. Whether at the provincial or municipal levels of government, whether it’s about the environment, the economy, the healthcare system or education, it’s time for you to recognize your own power. You don’t need us. You don't have to find someone to follow. Think about it, and make things happen.

1- Just do it.
Choose an issue that matters to you. Pick an action that could highlight attention to this issue. Once you’ve got the right action, just do it. Fight the temptation to spend your time trying to organize everyone else. Make a commitment to personally complete a meaningful action, even if just in one area. Spend your time actually doing something rather than on office politics, e-mail lists, or turf wars. STEP a-w-a-y from the Internet. Get out in the field where the action is!

If you choose to work alone, you'll quickly learn that there are many others like you, and they are achieving amazing results. For some, it might be especially enjoyable to work with a small group of people. One citizen who began working alone but then evolved into the founder of a group is John Brakey. He has very good advice: "I'd rather see 10 groups, each with 10 people, than one group with 100 people. You find out that in any group regardless of size, one, two or three people seem to do all the work. At least with 10 groups, you know you'll have 10 people taking action.”

2- Mobilisation
When talking about mobilisation, we often tend to think about large demonstrations, sit-ins or rallies. But it doesn’t only have to be that. Have a House Party. Gather a group of five to 30 people, make them aware of the need to take action. Your house party will be a way to bring together like-minded individuals, raise awareness, and build your own army of citizens working together for change. The synergy, hope and support created in such a group will be inspiring. Create your own epicentre where real progress will be achieved! The purpose of your house party will be to assemble a handful of people, mobilize them and get them to mobilize others.

3- Be the Media
Help the media cover your issues. Gather videotape, photographs, audio, and public records to buttress your case with the media. And become your own media – whether or not the media covers the most important issues, take it upon yourself to make sure the word gets out. Whether it’s through writing a letter to your local weekly newspaper, posting videos on Youtube or hanging a 15-feet long banner from your building, be creative and don’t limit yourself to the obvious.

Remember, by getting active on issues that affect you, you may just contribute in opening the door to an unexpected evolution of citizenship.