Healing a divided nation.
Is Political Activism Enough to Achieve Social Reform?
A Case for Spending Equal Time in Community Building Activities to Achieve Social Reform
As a late boomer, middle-class, cishet, white male, I understand that my activism around achieving social reform is an activism of privilege. Neither police reform, abortion laws, immigration policy, nor LGBTQ rights will affect me. As one who finds myself in the center of the privileged demographic, I get it. The following words are addressed to others like me, who are activists out of privilege.
Since the 2010 Supreme Court decision on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the small donor revolution has given voters hope for competing against corporate funded PACs. And since then, grassroots activists have been spending their time and donation money primarily in the political arena, coming to a crescendo during the Trump presidency. Candidates on local, state, and national levels, both in our own and faraway districts, sent out a relentless stream of requests for donations, requests often reinforced by local activist groups. “No one can afford to sit on the sidelines any longer” became the rallying cry.
The importance of the political struggle cannot be overstated. This is where we drive the stakes of structural change into the ground, and defend them. Changes that will help us build a society that treats all equally.
I’m a passionate political activist. But political activism has its downsides and its limits – unsavory compromises, the watering down of core values, settling on mediocre candidates, our candidates not delivering – and losing.
What if a majority of voters were in agreement with our values and we didn’t have to fight so hard politically? Read more…
SalaamUSA – We Bring People Together
We can help your community take concrete steps towards achieving social reform.
Our programs work.
Do you want to get involved in helping your local community achieve social equity? SalaamUSA can help. We are a non-religious, nonpartisan nonprofit that brings people together – across the human-erected barriers. We work with local volunteers to help them implement our groundbreaking programs.
We operate under the premise that we can work to eliminate institutional/structural inequities from both the top down (political activism) and the bottom up (grassroots community activism). We focus on the latter. Institutions are made up of people. Change the people, change the institutions.
Our programs are designed to help predominantly white communities engage meaningfully with other groups. For now we have two offerings:
Being good neighbors to Muslims – a program designed to introduce churches and community groups to some of the Muslims in their community. Click on the link to learn how you can help bring an awareness event to your community.
Real Friends, Real Community – an intentionally diverse small group network that brings people together for meaningful connection through our stories. Click on the link to learn how you can join a group, or help us facilitate one for your community.
Our groundbreaking community building activities are making a difference. We have facilitated hundreds of interactions between Muslims and non-Muslims at the grassroots level. Our Real Friends, Real Community pilot group brought 8 people together across vastly different racial, religious, and cultural differences to find true friendship. Please reach out to us so we can help you get your local community involved in productive work for social equity.
The work of community building has never been more important.
“I was so excited to hear for the first time a non-Muslim explain my religion correctly!!!”
Rasha T.Muslim woman
“Salaam is the bridge to mutual understanding and respect through education and interaction. Sometimes one does not know where to begin when seeking a broader kinship with those of different backgrounds, Salaam provides the unique experience to close the gap, to bring people together.”
Tama Becker-VaranoFounder and Director, Change Begins with ME
“Kudos to Steve for his dedication and commitment to bridging positive and meaningful relationships between Muslims and Non-Muslims! Salaam is a wonderful example of how to embrace our diversity and promote peace and justice in our world!”
Christy Bantugan-BohanFounder and Director, Pax Christi San Diego
“In a world full of division, ignorance, and hate, Salaam builds the bridge of peace with education and fellowship as we share our stories and work for the common good.”
Joseph DirbasRector, All Souls' Episcopal Church, San Diego