What does it mean to be an activist?

There are just a few people in any society who become violent and damage property and life. Probably a lot more have violent tendencies that show up as hurtful actions towards those in a close relationship with them. The State of California recently published its statistics on Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). The high numbers are a definite cause for concern. But a majority of citizens do not contribute to IPV. Yet, almost everyone notices a violent tendency or a disturbing thought popping up in one's head, occasionally. A violent thought can appear especially when someone pushes one's buttons. One may react with a harsh word or simply with a thought of condemnation towards the button pusher.

So what is the big deal with violence in society? Life for most people doesn't seem to be severely impacted by it. Why should anyone bother to be an activist for a violence free society? Recent incidents of increased violence are a source of concern to sociologists, law enforcement officers and policy makers. Societies around the world appear to be in a delicate transition, according to these folk. Firstly, there doesn't appear to be a pattern about where and how violence will erupt, like in the case of Sandy Hook. Secondly, it is getting difficult for a parent to know when a kid is just going through a phase or bordering on a negative mental condition. Thirdly with no education being provided on managing one's emotions, an individual doesn't know how to decide when to seek outside help for a negative tendency.

Anyone can relate to at least one of the above from a recent incidence such as a (a) homicide in a safe neighborhood (b) outbursts of anger from a close family member (c) breakdown in familial communications (d) swings in one's own moods. A question always follows after any such incidence "Why doesn't someone do something about it?" This question too fades away with one's mind being pulled away towards caring for one's daily responsibilities. The result is that no one comes face to face with an answer to this question which nags one's mind from the background. What type of a world did our earlier generations leave for us? and what will we? Asking this question however can wake up the activists in any of us.

A majority of folk want to act but are unable to commit the time and energy. But one can always start with a small level of activism and grow. For example, a week of commitment and action for the campaign for a stress free violence free community is simple and effortless. Can a parent not commit to being aware of harsh words when they speak to their children for a week? Can a college student not commit to refrain from alcohol for a week? Can an employee not commit to refrain from sending a negative email for a week? Can a person of faith not commit to lighting up a candle at their place of worship for a week? Can a citizen not commit to avoiding watching violent movies for a week? All these acts matter. It takes many such acts to get the attention of society and the media. It is extremely important to stand shoulder to shoulder when we want society's attitudes towards stress and violence to change. Join the campaign and attend the launch event on March 24th