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It's an annual Center for Story-based Strategy tradition to put forth a list of the Top Social Justice Memes for the year! Nominate your favorite memes of the year, today!This list considers memes used or created by our social movements to challenge the status quo, and the mass memes shaping politics and pop culture. For us, memes spread meaning through story, via symbols and practices and are transmitted through writing, speech, gestures, images, rituals, and phenomena.
From climate change fueled disasters, to attacks on immigrants and neo-fascists in the streets, Trump’s agenda of hate, destruction and greed threatens us all. Fortunately historic numbers of people from all walks of life have joined the resistance. AND, fortunately one of the widely used manuals for teaching organizers about narrative, messaging and strategy has just been released in an updated, expanded 2nd Edition.
On J20 and J21 (Inauguration Day & the Women’s March on Washington) the Center for Story-Based Strategy team joined organizers and members from 4 alliances - Climate Justice Alliance, Right to the City, Indigenous Environmental Network and Grassroots Global Justice - in DC to come together as the It Takes Roots to Grow the Resistance delegation - connecting struggles for land, water, housing, and gender justice to firmly stand up to Trump and his corporate cabinet as the defenders of our communities.
This was quite a year for memes and stories. Our initial list of memes was noticably longer than previous years. Thanks to our trusty criteria, we managed to narrow it down to 10 Top Memes for 2016. It is also important to note that for the last three years Black Lives Matter has been on our Top Memes list. This year we found ourselves noticing that while BLM did not make it directly on the list, its influence and message can be seen throughout it.
Over the course of 5 transformative days (and on the heals of the Orlando Massacre) 50 people gathered to share, learn, connect, and expand the possibilities of what story-based strategy is and how it can truly Change The Story. We opened the training with "Imagine the Angels of Bread" by Martin Espada, and we closed by making our own version of this powerful poem. We share this now to serve as both a source of inspiration & as a reminder of what we know to be possible.
Has anyone else noticed recent commercials using a particular word that rhymes with, say, "chatter"? This may have passed you by if you only watch TV by streaming or get your news strictly online. But it would seem that Corporate America is using calls to social justice as calls to consumerism.
It can feel like the world is falling apart at the seams. Rising sea levels threaten entire communities, and the 1% get richer while the rest of us struggle more and more just to get by. Donald Trump has all but sewn up a Presidential nomination, riding a wave of racism and anti-immigrant hatred. It seems like nothing can stop the world from collapsing around us. But there is another world rising up in the place of the old one. It’s this new world that the Center for Story-Based Strategy (CSS) helps others to imagine every day.
CSS has been involved in building the North America climate justice movement for a number of years, recently through our role as a founding member of the Climate Justice Alliance’s Our Power Campaign. In December of last year the world’s eyes were on the United Nation’s COP-21 Climate Talks in Paris where the countries of the world negotiated the first ever truly global climate treaty.
In January 2016, after nearly two years of community members raising health concerns about their tap water, the situation in Flint finally got some national public attention. There was the typical blast of media coverage: TV lights, headlines, journalists asking politicians a few tough questions… but inevitably the media cycle moves on while the day-to-day crisis still exists.
Three years ago a handful of fast food cooks and cashiers went on strike in New York City. Their brave action, taken without the protection of a union or a labor contract, sparked what has grown into the Fight for 15 Campaign that includes fast food workers, home care workers, gas station attendants, Wal-Mart workers and airport workers.
The time is coming, once again, to gather social movement leaders, change-agents, and communications practitioners in beautiful Corbett, Oregon (Menucha Retreat and Conference Center) for 5 days of hands-on training and creative strategy-development: that's right, it's almost time for CSS's 2016 Advanced Training!
Last November CSS co-founder Patrick Reinsborough travelled to Berlin to attend a convening of the European SmartCSOs Lab. Smart CSOs is an international network of campaigners, activists, researchers and funders exploring how civil society organizations can be more effective drivers of systemic change.
I was that little girl who sat up front during reading time in the school library, and borrowed the maximum amount of books at least once a week. I would try to read books at the dinner table (Sorry, Mom!) and at parties when I couldn't leave my friends - I mean, characters - and their adventures behind.
As the climate movement grows, the limited vision of the climate crisis as a siloed, single “environmental” issue has been replaced by a growing recognition that climate destabilization is a symptom of deeper flaws in our economic and political system.
Greenpeace has been designing and implementing high impact, headline grabbing campaigns for over 40 years. Our work at the Center for Story-based Strategy has been greatly influenced by the original Greenpeace ideas around using media spectacle to create “mind bombs”.
Top Memes considers memes used or created by our social movements to challenge the status quo, and the mass memes shaping politics and pop culture. For us, memes spread meaning through story, via symbols and practices and are transmitted through writing, speech, gestures, images, rituals, and phenomena.