Job Opening in Community Activism

Editorial

Wanted: Community Activist who can deliver the art community to support social justice. Because of recent tragic events, the homeless community currently has a job opening for a community activist. We cannot pay any money, but the rewards are incalculable. We need someone who can bring social justice to the Greater Clevelanders in digestible portions that will not offend. Homeless people will interview people who can undermine society in mocking and yet entertaining fashion. We are looking for someone charismatic and can keep the attention of a crowd, but will not try to dictate the agenda. They leave the leadership of the movement to the experts, those who have experienced homelessness, but will attend demonstrations and will confront injustice at every turn.

The qualifications for the job include an easy nature, and jovial personality. The successful candidate will be able to work with a diverse population. They must treat all as brothers in arms from those with a mental illness to those with a drug problem. They must realize that the prison industrial complex is as much of a problem as the war in Iraq and can see that racial discrimination is alive and well. They must be available at all times for protests, demonstrations, and emergency meetings. When a city issues eviction orders to a group of squatters or the shelters organize a softball game to make the bail for protesters or the Coalition throws a party to celebrate the end of a horrible despot of a Mayor, the activist must be ready with a new work to commemorate the event. Most importantly, the applicant should be non-judgmental. The social justice movement requires that the activists set aside their personal biases and accept that we are fighting for equality and fair treatment for all people including criminals, the lazy, those who have made mistakes as well as the politically popular children.

     Skills necessary for the applicant include some demonstrated success in the arts community in order to have credibility with peers. Must have an ability to inspire artists to work on social justice pieces. Even though it is obvious, the successful applicant must be creative and think of unique approaches to get the message out. Some examples of real world creativity would be criticizing County policy on the day that County officials are giving you an award or bringing the needs of the homeless community to local area bakers through poetry. Must have a good deal of energy, and eat, sleep and breathe social justice. It is important to have the ability to attract new members to the movement by subtle means like art or entertainment.

     While activist and public education organizations do a good job in getting the message out with statistics, persuasive arguments, and experts, it is the artist who is usually most effective at altering the course of public opinion through ridicule, sarcasm, and subtle forms of humiliation. The successful candidate will need to be well versed in all of societies problems, and be able to see how they all relate. The individual must cloak themselves in a symbolic coat of social justice with sleeves of the death penalty, a lining of poverty, a belt of universal health care, and a train of universal living wage. The community activist will need to inspire with humility with humanity on the side. The perfect activist must be subservient and willing to commit for the long haul. They must have faith that change will occur, but not be depressed over the slow pace of change. The candidate must be willing to work behind the scenes, but shout the message from the front of the pack when necessary. This individual must have the ability to heal wounds and riffs within the artistic community, but allow a certain amount of tension and competitive fire to invigorate the movement.

     It is a heavy sword that you pick up if you choose to apply. You will gain in notoriety, but also in stress. You will be the subject of criticisms, and will most likely be cheered and jeered. You will take on the rich and powerful, and they will take you on. You will be sought after by politicians looking for “cool,” and you will be condemned by politicians looking for conservative voters. Your friends will decrease, but you will be invited to a lot more parties.

     To apply submit qualifications and resume in the most creative way that you can think of to the NEOCH offices. For those especially creative or gifted ideas we will present in a future edition of the Homeless Grapevine. Finalists will be chosen, and will perform a live audition before the men at one of the local shelters, and will be on probation for the first year of service. If you have to have to ask questions, you do not understand and are probably not qualified. While the monetary rewards are limited, the societal benefits are priceless. For more information see George Carlin, Michelangelo, St. Paul, Frederick Douglas, Thomas Paine, or Jonathan Swift.

 

 Copyright Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless and Homeless Grapevine Cleveland Ohio published July 2004 Issue 65B