Wow, it’s been an inspirational first few months of the 2018 Justice Forum Pilot program!
Our goal at the start was to answer this question: can we build meaningful communities and share meaningful ideas using virtual environments?
This question came out of the concerns I’ve heard about the future of humanity: are we growing apart? Are we changing so fast that we are leaving too many people behind? Are traditional relationships and communities breaking down? Are we locked into bubbles of ideas and people? Is inequality getting worse?
So far, it seems like the answer to that first question is yes.
I’ve gotten to know some pretty awesome folks, including Cory Ramsey, the first official forum member, who’s studying programming and introduced himself as a guy who’s “just trying to shine some light on this dark world.” Cory is Vegan, and is very interested in connecting the ideas of Veganism with peace, health, and thoughtful consumption
Maurice has recently adopted a plant-based diet, and has suggested the same for his mother who’s struggling with some health issues. Maurice introduced himself as “Just a regular guy. Learning to be stoic. Adopting plant based diet this year. Read a lot, hopes to make a pilgrimage to Camino de Santiago in Spain sometime.”
Steve Smith is another inspirational member, having worked internationally in peace talks and locally in dispute resolution. Steve’s profile statement: “I’m from Ohio! I’ve been working for social justice most of my life, much of the time outside the US, but also at home.”
A more recent addition to the forum is Andy Coleman. Andy helped start the local chapter of Sunday Assembly, organizing weekly meetings with guest speakers for an audience hungry for wisdom and community. Andy says his goals in life is “to be a better human than I was yesterday.” Awesome.
We’ve also had a few visits from Lynn Post and Stephen Block, both of which have been unable to continue with the pilot. I appreciate their contributions and hope they are able to return!
Finally, we have a new member as of this week: Xander. Xander has a compelling profile statement: “One of my key a life missions is to maximize my positive contribution to others and the world during my limited time (like everyone) here on earth. As individuals and as a society we should embrace the drive to always improve and face key challenges head on. I’m a passionate believer in technology’s ability to bring positive impact and lasting development to our lives and our world, and I dedicate my abilities in both my personal and professional life to such causes. I care a lot about the fate of humanity and the world around me, and over the last few years have been spending my volunteering time toward marine conservation causes in the Pacific Northwest, US.” Well said, Xander!
We’ve had 11 meetings this year, and each has been recorded. We are following a monthly theme pattern, and spent January talking about Core Problems. In February we shared solutions, and in March we talked about The Future.
Our meetings are very loosely structured around agendas. We discuss what we’d like to present, and members accept “challenges” that result in short presentations in future meetings. The objective of the challenges is to engage forum members in a meaningful process of cultivating and sharing ideas and experiences related to the theme.
As we move forward this year, meetings will become more formal. We’ll add more members, up to the goal of 50 by the end of the year, and with each new member we’ll get feedback on the experience to make adjustments. Our goal for the pilot project is to have a sustainable civic club of individuals each contributing to meetings, and each working on personal, professional, or community projects.
The purpose behind the Justice Forum goes much further than challenges, agendas, or even meetings. The purpose is to remind ourselves, and each other, of the most important things. This means different things to different people – to some it may be getting reminders of chores to keep up with the responsibilities at home. To others, it may be a reminder to be compassionate at work. Still others want to be reminded about our broadest social and environmental challenges, and how to do something about them today.
Toward this end, the monthly themes are intended to generate interesting experiences of sharing, creating, and inspiring.
People want to make the world a better place. I want to get started building that platform; a place for peace seekers to think more broadly than just one nonprofit, yet able to focus down to the most important level; one single person who needs help.
Interested? Join us! More information and an invite to visit a meeting can be found here: choosejustice.org/forum.
Founder, Justice For Life & Justice Forums