The St. John’s Status of Women’s Council’s Feminist in Residence, Chandra Kavanagh, is giving a talk titled, “Feminist Activism: A toolkit” at Memorial University on Monday October 30th at 12:00pm in room SN-4087, as part of the Department of Gender Studies Speaker Series.
“I would be thrilled if this talk was able to serve as an example of inclusive feminist activism in practice,” Kavanagh said. “I want to see people show up from every pocket of our community to take up space in the university, ask questions, and take home a toolkit that they can use to engage in feminist political action.”
Kavanagh’s talk aims to give people practical skills they can use to respond to injustice. She will walk participants through five activist tactics including; research, support, campaigning, organizing, and protest.
We asked Kavanagh to give us a quick break down of each of these tactics, explaining what they are and why they’re valuable to the feminist movement, to learn more you’ll have to catch the talk!
“Research is always first because before we can tackle a problem, especially a complex social or political problem, we need to understand it. There has been plenty of harm done by poorly informed activists with good intentions (some folks might remember the Kony 2012 movement as a great example of this.) Research helps to better understand the problem and understand some of the solutions to that problem that may already exist.”
“Support refers to supporting the local groups and movements that already exist to address a given social or political issue. As activists we often feel compelled to reinvent the wheel and build a solution from the ground up. I often tell my friends who are new activists that if you see a problem, chances are someone else had already seen it too and is working on a solution.”
“When I talk about campaigning I’m referring to the kinds of direct political action that a single person can take without needing a lot of resources. This includes writing letters to the editor, contacting local politicians, spreading awareness of an issue through social media or even talking with friends about your concerns.”
“Organizing is a bit more involved than campaigning. Some examples might include taking on a leadership role in your local not-for-profit, union, advisory committee, or activist group, encouraging your friends and family to take part, starting your own group or even hosting a politically focused event.”
“Protest is the final way that I talk about getting involved in the feminist activist community. I put it last for 2 reasons: 1) it is the one everyone thinks of when they think of activism to the detriment of the other 4 categories and 2) in well organized activists’ movements, protest is a last resort. It occurs after all of the other 4 methods have failed to achieve the intended results. There are lots of effective ways to protest from sit-ins to marches to strikes and it is a powerful option for creating change.”