What are the most urgent issues in your community?

Taking action in the places where we stand helps us to feel empowered and optimistic about our ability to affect change. Participating in the local issues that are relevant to us is one of the very best things we can do to feel good.

Activity: Calling all activist superheroes!

Discover the active citizen in you.

  • Design a prototype of yourself as a full volume justice superhero. What issues do you want to stand up and change in your world? Brainstorm the issue, and the symbols that go along with it.

  • If you aren’t sure what you care about, write down or record the aspects of your life that you love the most, and then from there think about any inequalities that might exist for others.

  • Have a think-pair-share around who your favourite hero figures are in the digital worlds and what they like most about them. Think about their costume and the way this tells us a story about who someone is.

  • Using some blank paper, or a digital drawing tool such as Procreate, design yourself as a hero persona in the struggle for justice. Think about:

    • adornment – this may be a traditional taonga, a family heirloom, or some extra embellishments, such as a special hat that reflect the cause you want to fight for

    • clothes patterns – what pattern or colours could you use on your outfit to describe your cause?

    • sidekick – what creature, animal or imaginary pal could be connected to this struggle? Think about the special qualities that they could bring to these activist adventures

    • shoes – what are the shoes that are needed for the adventures ahead?

    • tool – what tools are going to help your activist cause? Is it cardboard and a vivid marker for lots of placard making? Is it cups of tea for gathering community together?

  • Share your activist superhero with your friends. Talk about the ways in which they imagine themselves as a changemaker. Have you got similar or different ideas? Organise yourselves into groups with a cause in common, and create a crew name and symbol.

  • Design a set of battle stat cards (view and download trading card templates). You might like to include on the card details such as your hero name, ancestry, story, the cause that you are passionate about, the skills you have with the weapon you use in the fight for justice (e.g. pen, platform, etc.):

  • Exhibit your activist superhero with labels explaining the symbology you have used and why.

  • Using your crew focus, scan your school for super local actions you could take to create a better world.

    • What practices could you introduce to your school to address some of the protest issues that you’ve been examining?

    • Are there all gender bathrooms that need to be created?

    • In what ways does the language and culture of the school reflect mana whenua and diverse cultural identities?

    • How can you celebrate and centre those who are disabled?

    • What are the waste policies in place?

Activity: Local justice for the win!

Connect with existing protest movements in your area.

  • Talk with your friends and family about what they think are the most urgent issues facing your neighbourhood or community at the moment. Once you have a sense of the range of issues that people are concerned about, you may want to conduct a larger survey to see what seems most important.

  • Research the existing community groups that are in place to address these issues. One of the simplest actions we can take is to volunteer with existing movements that are already in place. This means that we do not replicate existing efforts, or unwittingly take focus away from them, or their expertise.

  • To choose a local issue to get involved in, see if you can find answers to the following questions:

    • Who are the people that I need to talk to, to find out more about this issue?

    • What are the main goals of the community action? What would success look like for them?

    • In what ways does their action honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi?

    • Are mana whenua involved? If not, why not?

    • What are the different perspectives on this issue?

    • What are the ways in which this group needs help and how could we contribute to this?

Christchurch street view, 2023. Photo by Zane Muir / Unsplash

Activity: Animate the cause of your local activists

Promote local protest issues through the use of technology.

Consider with a local community action group, the unique set of skills that you bring to their cause. To organise this activity, use a simplified design thinking process:

  • Discover – Find out all there is to know about the group and the issues they are seeking to address.

  • Sensemake – Gather all of your discovery information together and summarise it into themes.

  • Ideate – Brainstorm together the ways in which you could use technology to help this local community action group, thinking specifically about what tool is the right tool for this situation, You may be able to:

    • help them to engage on social media in new ways, through creating reels for social media platforms

    • organise a whole school webinar to increase understanding of the issue and the project

    • develop a promotional youtube video to share on social media platforms

    • use animation tools such as stop motion to create engaging digital content to promote their cause

  • Implement – Do the thing! Create the technological outcome (the video, the reel, the webinar, etc.) that you have ideated.

  • Reflect and evolve – Consider how well the technological intervention went. Discuss with the community action group how well it went, the ways it could be improved and the obvious next steps.

Woman using a phone, 2021. Photo by Fausto Sandoval / Unsplash

Extra links for the extra curious

Go down amazing wormholes with this curated suite of links.