Activism quote by Alice Walker

“Untrained people who pretend to be a physician and dispense medical advice and treatment that doesn’t work or is harmful have their counterparts in the realms of government and activism.” — Richard Martin Oxman

After reading her heartbreaking essay on water in Detroit, I wanted to connect with Valerie Burris, but… once again direct contact info wasn’t made available by an author/activist who had moved me. Why is that dynamic so common?

That’s one of many things that must change immediately, but which is not being discussed in activist circles. Another thing that begs to be addressed is touched upon by Valerie in her piece when she notes that she’s coming off of a ten-year battle with little to show for it, to say the least.

The beast that must be brought down, then, resides within us and out there. Internally, we can do something about encouraging one-on-one exchange AND acknowledge that new paradigms for proceeding must be embraced. The beast out there — clearly — tries to lure us into the traditional approaches to bringing about institutional change.

I got all excited the other day checking out the video footage of Brigid Flaherty speaking beautifully in front of the D.C. Press Club on behalf of People’s Action of North Carolina. I immediately wrote to the organization, but — to date — I’m not in receipt of anything, not even the confirmation of receipt which I requested.

That’s another thing that really has to change. The pace at which activists are moving at present, the delays in getting back to folks expressing interest.

I’ve communicated the above many times before to concerned citizens, but I haven’t seen any changes to speak of within the realm of activism thus far. My outreach has been reduced, it seems, to water running off of a duck’s back.

Well, if it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck and moves like a duck….

Seriously, we need to not duck our responsibilities any longer. We need to immerse ourselves — get baptized, newly oriented — in a new kind of water. Avoiding the self-serving, egoistical charlatans in the activist realm. Some actually mean well, but are dispensing obsolete advice.

Right now, we’re merely swimming the good swim in a pool that gets dirtier — more toxic — by the day, on its way to being emptied. And I’d say that every reader here stands to benefit by contacting me post haste, so that I can at the very least delineate what other things need urgent attention, including how to deal with the fact that those in crucial decision-making capacities are overflowing with… MENDACITY.

The list is long in the land of ducks. Lots of quacks out there contributing to an activist plaque build-up that — soon — will soon be impenetrable, bad habits hardened beyond the possibility of change.

Valerie and Brigid are two sweet lights of hope. We just need to coordinate contact, and get down with new models for moving ahead rapidly through new arteries.

Rachel Olivia O’Connor is a member of the Oxman Collective. She can be reached This article was written in twelve minutes flat, and submitted without editing. She humbly and respectfully requests that the reader glance at her previous posting, and discuss the viable options we have for addressing the main issue spotlighted there. Regardless of where the reader resides.


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