(Today’s blog post is by guest blogger Mandy Chin. Mandy is a current student at Azusa Pacific University and former Director of Student Engagement for the Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition)
What happens when fighting for justice isn’t popular, when there’s no cool t-shirt to buy?
What happens in the following weeks, months, and years after the excitement of a missions trip, conference, social media campaign, guest speaker, or new documentary has run out?
How do we keep the momentum going and not burn out in this fight for justice? I would propose that we begin to ask ourselves fundamental questions that build the foundations of our activism. Here are several questions I’ve been constantly revisiting with a critical mind and open heart.
I hope you will join me in constantly revisiting these questions so that we can keep ourselves in check and figure out how to respond to injustice in ways that are appropriate, intentional, and sustainable, ways that build upon where we are now both personally and corporately.
- What does justice look like? There are so many opinions on how we should pursue justice but what do I think about the various methods people are currently employing? Are these methods effective? Where are the holes in our efforts and how can we fill them? How can we support one another?
- What do we want increased awareness to lead into and how can we build support for follow up and follow through? How do we advocate well and how do we advocate poorly? What should we be cautious of? Do I oversimplify systemic issues that, in reality, are complex and nuanced? How does that inform the ways in which I “take action?”
- Do I guard the dignity of my brothers and sisters when I share their story or offer help? And when I “help” them or “try to show God’s love,” do I consider the intentional and unintentional consequences of my actions?
- Is it right for me to “have a heart for” young girls in Southeast Asia who are sexually exploited and not have compassion for girls in my city who are suffering from domestic violence and sexual exploitation? Am I willing to sacrifice comfort and safety in ignorance to be aware of injustice down the street?
- What is my motivation for participating in justice work? Does savior mentality ever come into play? What other reasons motivate me besides “God told me so?” When I purchase fair trade goods, advocate, or serve, how often do I make it about my own experience, my personal growth, my resume, my reputation, etc.? Should these attitudes be adjusted? How?
- Why do I say, “that’s their thing it’s not my thing.” Why do I put up walls? What am I afraid of? How can I overcome these fears? As I go through different seasons in life, education, career, relationships etc. how can I use my skills, resources, and circles of influence to further justice efforts?
When we are diligent to regularly ask ourselves these pointed questions, we are better able to stay sharp and focused in the FIGHT.
(Need more help staying focused? Betty Ann Boeving, from BAATC will be teaching “Sustaining in the FIGHT for the Long Haul” at this year’s FIGHT Conference, May 2-4 at Mount Hermon. Click here for more information or to register.)