Movement Building: How Do We Build A (Diverse) Movement?

Movement ICONIn a bid to answer the big questions facing the environmental movement in Manchester, MCFly has been mining the minds and experience of climate activists. In the last issues we looked at morale – getting it, keeping it and sharing it. This month’s topic is all about diversity. How do we get more people (especially ones who don’t look like us; white, middle-class, child-free) involved in the “climate movement”?

To do list:
+ Reach out to community groups but don’t except a huge response straight away. These things take time – a lot of time.
+ Build a personal and face-to-face relationship.
+ Attend community events where you’re not expected. Ask to be added on their mailing lists etc so you can keep on eye on these opportunities.
+ Be aware of the obstacles facing a community whether that be poverty, language barriers, internal conflict or just a lack of time.
+ Make specific demands and focus on the communities strengths when deciding on this.
+ Remember that these issues are really new to some people and so nothing is obvious.
+ Be flexible – about they way you meet, the place, the time, everything.

“I think people underestimate how hard it is to take that first step alone. In a lot of Muslim communities there usually isn’t someone who is involved in green campaigning that people can turn to to ask questions and also to encourage them to get involved.

The lack of that personal connection can also make it hard for people to have the knowledge and confidence to approach groups. I think if I didn’t go to university and get involved in activism which helped me link to other networks, I would never have become a campaigner. So I think that personal connections, especially long-term, are really important to encouarge more diversity.”

Lamees Hafeez, Muslim green campaigner from Burnage

About arwafreelance

Freelance journalist based in the UK with an interest in the Middle East, environmental issues, Islam-related topics and social issues such as regeneration.
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