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SAL/UER Videos

Racism and the Collapsing Society, Barbara Love and Tim Jackins, June 7, 2020

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“Action Is the Antidote”

In August 2014, I staffed for the second year a climate-change awareness booth at the local Strawberry Festival. I like the format of an information booth—the exposure to a wide range of people and the impact that just the presence of the booth has on the thousands who walk by it. This year our posted question, in English and in Spanish, was “What do you think about climate change? We’re here to listen!” People stopped to talk. Several groups of people just walked by but then turned to each other and asked, “What do you think?”

This year we included an RC listening project1 as part of the event and I focused on establishing more significant connections with fewer people. Many shared poignant stories related to the environment and other issues. I took notes about people who I thought had the potential to be interested in RC, or to connect me with other people or opportunities, or to join me in leading this work.

I had made a simple quarter-page handout that explained how to listen and had on it local RC contact information and the RC website. We gave this to a small number of people. After listening to people, we gauged whether or not they might be interested in an RC class and signed some of them up to receive more information. We now have a list of people to pursue. I am hoping to start a new class and invite these people to it.

When I started a conversation with someone, I never knew where it would go, but it almost always ended up being significant in some way. I made a point of talking with people who were running other booths. These contacts may lead to invitations to make presentations for organizations that serve youth, veterans, union members, and so on. I believe most people wouldn’t have stopped to talk if we hadn’t approached them. Learning to approach people in a friendly way is a key piece of this work. I am white, and most of the people I had contact with were people of the global majority.

I’ve learned that I can invite people to experience the power and beauty of listening partnerships without immediately introducing them to the RC Community. This has given me more confidence to hand out RC tools more boldly. As I get to know people, little by little I can share more information.

I met a Chicano at a listening booth in April. He spoke thoughtfully, and I made sure to invite him to my summer RC class. He attended three out of four meetings and was a terrific participant. He went on to help me with the booth. I brought him United to End Racism2 materials and a copy of Pensamientos.3 I’m looking forward to continuing to meet and hopefully to Co-Counseling with him.

An RCer who helped with the August booth said that people were far more receptive and interested in connecting than he had felt they would be.He was also surprised at how concerned they were about climate change. Polls had shown that public concern about climate change was dropping in the United States, but with few exceptions, when we asked, “What do you think about climate change?” the response was, “It’s happening,” or “It’s bad.”

I am learning that doing something, taking some action, leads me forward. I am spreading seeds, not knowing yet which ones will sprout. One action leads to another, and then another, and soon the possibilities are limitless. For anyone feeling like nothing can be done (for instance, about climate change), action is the antidote.

Thank you all for being part of this movement!

Nancy Faulstich
Watsonville, California, USA
Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion
list for leaders of wide world change


1 In an RC listening project, several Co-Counselors go to a public place and offer to listen to passersby about some important issue, such as racism or a current war. They may hold signs that invite people to share their thinking about that issue.
2 United to End Racism is a project of the RC Community in which Co-Counselors bring to people in the wider world what we’ve learned in RC about ending racism.
3 Pensamientos is the RC journal for Chicano/a liberation.


Last modified: 2020-07-17 20:50:52+00