“Resistance does not start with big words but with small deeds”
(Remco Campert, Dutch writer)
In the past weeks, we have had the privilege to submerge ourselves in the latest academic debates on minority rights and social activism in the Netherlands. We read together, debated together, and grew together – individually, and as a group. Through the concept of intersectionality, we learned how to approach social issues in more productive ways by approaching humans as intersections between various identities. Through Amok(!), we learned to seize opportunities. And through microrevolutions, we learned to see the potential of cheeky everyday resistance against those in power.
But what good is learning if you do not put your lessons into action? Today marked a new stage in our fellowship. We met with four inspirational persons who all, in one way or another, translate complex social issues to an empathic language that speaks to people. Anouk Eigenraam taught us to write journalistic articles that leave enough room for readers to respectfully disagree with the contents while still understanding the logic behind the article. David Limaverde showed us how theatre techniques can be used to give a voice to those in society who usually do not speak out. Through his Theatre of the Oppressed, David promotes social change by offering his audience new imaginaries to engage with. Kim van Haaster showed us how documentaries can serve as a source of pride and inspiration for social groups that exist at the margins of society. Sometimes you need a lens to find the particularities of everyday life. And finally, Ilana Cukier provided us with ten key lessons about strategic campaigning for social change: the most important one being that we should embrace the power of the movements that we are building. Although different in medium and style, these four activists all stress the importance of promoting a vision of future possibilities that people can relate to. In a way, these persons all find ways to bring humanity in action.
It is now up to us to translate our recent insights, combined with our existing social engagement, into a series of actions: articles, plays, documentaries, and campaigns! In the upcoming days, we will focus our attention on finding new and creative ways to connect to people and strengthen the position of minority rights in everyday life. We have had all the big words that we need, and now it is time to shift our attention to small deeds. Because that is how resistance starts.
P.S. There were birthdays, we had cake, it was the best.