I have often been asked what Voices of Humanity is all about. I say VoH is designed to promote human unity with gender-equality and support for diversity built-in. I explain that each month participants will write messages on topics of their own choosing, vote on each other’s postings and at the new moon the top-voted messages from the women, the men, youth, middle-aged, seniors and humanity-as-one will be publicized. These top messages will be generous, intelligent and optimistic, and will give us (humanity) a welcome new picture of ourselves. If we can enlist massive numbers of participants, we will build a heartfelt sense of human unity to underpin real trust and cooperation between the nations and religions, giving us our best chance to bring order out of chaos and prevent the collapse of human civilization.
Yeah, but what is Voices of Humanity actually going to do when we bring that vision down to earth? That’s what people ask when I have finished my elevator speech.
Dodging the question, I describe how Voices of Humanity will give a global voice to all the marginalized groups: indigenous peoples, refugees, disadvantaged minorities, endangered children, veterans, and to the movements that bring people together: interfaith, peace, supporters of the United Nations for starters. Yes, asks my new elevator friend, but what does that translate to? If I get involved, what will I be doing that will make a difference?
Down in the lobby, now, I give it my best shot: “That’s for you and all the other participants to decide, but I can give you a better idea how things will go.” So this is my vision how we can make Voices of Humanity social media work for us in what I hope is a practical way.
Each month we have winning messages from the six Voices of Humanity. The question is how can we act on those winning messages at the individual and local level? Forget the national and global levels for now. We are not nearly organized enough yet for concerted action above the local level.
Now here’s my plan: the Nonviolent Action community, @nvaction, will address the question of what we can do at the individual and local level. The global VoH community will give us something to think about at each new moon. The Nonviolent Action community will discuss and come up with practical suggestions by the following full moon. Individuals can take their cue for action around the world from what the Nonviolent Action community has suggested. Local VoH teams will arrange to have meetings on or shortly after the full moon so they can decide on a course of action taking into account what the online Nonviolent Action community has come up with.
Feedback from those who have taken up the call for action will energize the larger community. So maybe this plan is not so futile! I love that cartoon – thank you Shel Silverstein. “There’s a lot of hope even in a hopeless situation.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shel_Silverstein
As we grow in numbers, the various communities can spin off their own Nonviolent Action committees. For instance, messages hashtagged #nonviolence #interfaith #nuclear_disarm will bring together interfaith nuclear disarmament people who want to do something in a concerted way about the distressing and frustrating nuclear arms situation. This kind of networking across the silos is going to be a big selling point for the Voices of Humanity technology. Until we have much greater participation, though, we need to concentrate on action at the most general level.
The VoH networking-across-the-silos component will enable many specialized nonviolence action committees to work together with a heartfelt sense of unity. I can see the local NV Action committees joining together in plenary session at their full moon meetings to decide an overall action plan based on the previous new moon’s winning messages, and then breaking out into specialized tables to come up with even more specific actions.
Organizations such as local sustainability groups will be welcome of course, but for starters, we will be looking for individuals and their friends to participate. That means you! Organizations by their nature have as much on their plate already as they can handle. Once we get off the ground, then our attraction for organizations will grow. It is possible that we will become the UN’s “across the silos” platform for civil society at every scale. To be sure, there are half a dozen major steps between here and there, but the prospect is exciting and realistic enough to give it a go. Your participation could make the difference.