Social Change: It’s an Inside Job
By: Hannah Cree | CMNGD (COMMONGOOD)
Little me, a cliche.
Holding a sign that read:
“Make Peace Not War!!!!!!!!”
With more exclamation marks than I could count.
At the age of 15 years old,
I believed I was revolutionary.
Or I just wanted to skip school.
After I saw my grandmother,
who refused to let us call her that,
so we used Foofie, a nickname from her nephew, inquired:
“What do you think you were
accomplishing by holding that sign?”
I eagerly responded:
“I don’t want war, I want to see CHANGE in the world, like peace.”
Instead of rolling her eyes to my naive statements,
she explained how in the 2nd World War, although it was awful,
people pulled together to do their part, any part.
She collected aluminum foil into a big ball then would bring it in
to be recycled for a little ‘pocket money’.
When she was offered a position as a
secretary in Washington, DC at the Canadian Consulate,
she jumped at the chance and then shared
this about her experience:
can start by protesting,
it can bring awareness
to the cause but ultimately
it doesn’t actually make
the other side change.
If anything they dig in more
and then war happens
and continues to happen.”
Change may start because you are angry
or fed up with something,
that’s what anger is good for – use it for change
but ensure it’s for transformative change.
Because people don’t change because you yell,
scream and protest – if anything they dig in deeper.
Yet what happens when you feel loved, safe and secure?
Because when your basic needs are met,
you are open to explore new ideas,
new ways and even dreams.
People don’t change in criticism…
but they can change in love.
Because change starts on in the inside first.
Foofie was deep, in a quiet way, and I didn’t
always see this side of her, but that story I never forgot.
Foofie went on to be the first FEMALE realtor in Western Canada.
She was divorced with 4 kids in the 1950s
when women couldn’t get a bank loan without a husband.
She was a fighter,
a recovering alcoholic
and a fierce example of breaking open.
She showed me through her story there are 3 ways of
participating in social change:
1. Work within the systems as a change agent.
Find the system, and pair it with the change you want and your natural talents
to become a social change influencer.
We need more people who are innovative
slowly shifting the dynamic within organizations.
2. Create a whole new model to disrupt it.
There are some models which simply don’t work, they weren’t built with inclusivity in mind and no matter what you do, it can’t be fixed. Go create a new one, understanding what went wrong before.
3. Do both.
Because sometimes a whole new model needs to be created within an old system to disrupt.
That was the first time and last time I ever picked up a protest sign.
There is nothing wrong with protesting, like Foofie said, if used effectively it is a great awareness and ground swell tool.
Instinctively I think Foofie knew where later
My best superpowers would be most useful
And gently redirected me.
I just came from spending a 4 days with hundreds of
other powerful women at SheEO, where my company received
funding and incredible support from a community of women activators.
I wrote this on my flight home after sharing an intense few days
with other women-led businesses, which surrounded me with the most
incredible support and insight into me and my purpose.
Happy International Women’s Day Foofie!
Until you dove in and within.
The mirror now reflecting
Hard yet soft
Funny yet sharp
Peacemaker yet activist
Open yet driven
No brushing this aside
Step into it
Step into you
Change happens when…
love is present.
Shifts happen when…
You go within.
You know what to do now
Go MAKE things happen.
ALL the fucking things 🙂
Hannah is the co-founder of CMNGD
Hannah is the co-founder of CMNGD (COMMONGOOD) and a leading Alberta advocate for compassionate business innovation and education with ATB. She is a sieve for information and is often found sharing stories through speaking events and writing.
In her work, Hannah combines experience in entrepreneurship education with a passion for ending poverty and homelessness in Canada.
Together with her partner Dave, CMNGD (COMMONGOOD) was created, providing employment to people facing poverty through a commercial laundry service tailored to the restaurant, health & wellness and event industries.
Their award winning social impact organization is currently expanding across Canada and doubling down on making good more common, together.
Make Good More Common: www.cmngd.com