By Valerie Miller, Lisa VeneKlasen, Molly Reilly, Cindy Clark
Making Change Happen is a series of short publications about the strategies and ideas shaping social justice work produced by Just Associates in collaboration with various partners. Each publication takes on a different theme.
The latest in the series examines the complexities and opportunities for understanding, constructing and transforming power. It looks at concepts and current dilemmas for social justice activists & groups. Building on these concepts and analysis, a second companion piece will focus on empowerment and action strategies for movement building.
Over the last 15 years, people and organizations concerned about social justice, equality and development have increasingly turned to policy advocacy and campaigning to promote change. Despite the promise of these approaches for advancing people- and planet-centered agendas in public policy, many activists find themselves holding the line against further rollbacks of important economic, environmental, racial justice and gender equality gains, and searching for more effective ways to engage and transform power. This search is leading to deeper inquiries about the nature of change and power, inquiries that revisit past history and approaches, while tapping new energy, ideas and opportunities for revitalizing social movements and change strategies.