Democratization of Media
In the days before youtube when email was just catching on, I was living in Tucson, Arizona and broadcasting one of my activist projects – a little talk show on public television. In about 1994, one guest I brought on was a midwife named Chalice.
Chalice offered a teaching about the Age of Aquarius. Chalice said that we were entering the Communication Age. The midwife said we, humanity, could use communication for good or for evil. Chalice imparted us with her foresight on communications in the last days before the internet revolution took off.
Republican politicians in Arizona passed a bill in April through the state to authorize a website to receive funds to continue to build the US-Mexico border wall, I was distressed to learn a few weeks ago on The Chronicle of Philanthropy website. You can watch network news coverage of the story here.
Communications for Strategic Fundraising?
Twenty years later, the republicans in Arizona might believe that they are doing something good, protecting Americans by using communications technology to raise funds for to build the border wall where the federal government will not. I personally believe national security will come when we have less disparity and more cooperation between the people along the border zone.
I well understand that the Federal Department of Homeland Security’s border wall is a chief modern day violator against indigenous peoples in the border zone – particularly the Apache, Yaqui, and O’odam, as I wrote about for the Green Party newspaper Green Pages in 2008. The feds waived 38 federal laws in order to build that wall, breaching the very democracy that their efforts are supposed to be securing. Not to mention a broken immigration system and an unjust criminal justice system.
In Arizona we are seeing the wealthy use innovation philanthropy to have a state policy authorize a new media campaign to raise private funds to further a federal program. As of this writing, the state’s Build The Border Fence website has raised over $118,000.
Smart Social Innovation
A more positive example of social innovation which established a mechanism for use of private funds for a public program is the Domestic Violence Advocate position employed at the Oakland Police Department. Orchestrated as part of an immense Memorandum of Understanding that brought domestic violence nonprofit agencies under one roof together at the Alameda County Family Justice Center, now-County Commissioner Nadia Lockyer set up the private-public-nonprofit cross-sector collaboration when she was the Executive Director of the facility.
Innovation is supposed to help us heal the world. Innovation is all-the-more powerful when we combine philantropy, technology, social, and communications innovation. I spend much of my time facebooking and tweeting, researching, campaigning, and even writing policy to make positive change.
But as the midwife named Chalice taught me back in 1994, we can use these new tools for good or evil. The test of how we apply innovation in the world is part of humanity’s spiritual evolution.
For the Good
The Hebrew saying gam zu l’tova means “this too is for the good.” In the case of the State of Arizona’s effort to privately fund the border wall, my hope is that this particular evil application of innovation philanthropy and technology will be only a stepping stone and perhaps invoke some learning that will lead to understanding so that we can reapply these tools to build better lives for everyone.
Instead of on public television, I am thrilled to be able to share Chalice’s teaching with you through democratized media, in this my second blog post. Its up to us all to use our social media channels for positive change and to use the comment space with civility, to exchange our ideas and share wisdom, so that we can all become better informed and together find the best solutions to the world’s challenges.