Over the course of the past two months we've watched as Alex Steed has racked up thousands of miles, hundreds of Tweets, and tens of uploaded YouTube videos - all in an effort to better understand the nascent style of Millennial activism. Today he is back east and blogging from the comfort of his home. Read on as Alex makes some predictions for 2009.
During the Millennials Changing America tour, I traveled across the United States to talk with young activists and learn how and why they got into the business of - well, activism. By the time I reached the West Coast, I had finally gotten my bearings and felt like I knew what I was doing. And, I noticed that after meeting with various contacts, and hearing their stories -- I would almost always be asked, "So, what do YOU think we should do?"
I have worked in various capacities within the realm of digital activism - I worked for Change.org in the summer of 2007 as an outreach worker. Then in the middle of 2008, I started at The Point, recording stories about how the Internet was being properly leveraged by activists to raise money and support. At present, I research and write about the subject for NetSquared.
I've been excited to connect with groups and individuals who are working toward some kind of constructive change. My goal is to point them in the direction of resources, other groups, and caches of potential collaborators and volunteers. And, they seem excited about the prospect of working with other groups in order to achieve goals based on common values.
While on the road, it was inspiring to find that there was actually great reception and openness to working with other organizations. In fact, more receptiveness than I can recall a few years ago when everyone I knew was under the impression that they would be starting the next great non-profit (straight out of a political science degree, or other undergrad degree- myself included).
Now there appears to be this acknowledgement of a hybrid, spherical organizational structure in which top-down leadership is no longer the norm. Instead organizations and individuals find it easier to collaborate and work in or outside of various structures.
Most importantly for all of us - individuals and groups - is figuring out how to move into the next year in concert with one another. And, based on what I heard from folks I met on the road -- the willingness to partner, work together, and find collaborative solutions -- I think that 2009 is going to be a year of alliance-building.
After a year of changed leadership, we must collectively identify which issues are most achievable in the moment and figure out how we will work together to push our collective goals forward in the years to come.