In order for positive social change to occur, a framework of democracy must be in place. Take a close look at the Hong Kong protests. Without the support of government officials who rely on public support to stay in office, the protest has generated more oppression, more surveillance, and a mass exodus of the kind of citizens who are capable of making a difference.
Positive change happens in a kind of open source environment where citizens are free to explore innovations, build on past successful constructs, and engage in collaborative dialogue.
That’s a difficult task when the unbalance of power favors the oppressor. But it can be done. Think of the unions that formed in factories in the early 1900s. The workers banded together to create better conditions, outlaw child labor, and gain employment benefits and better wages. The need for unions became less and less necessary as companies discovered benevolent management was actually better for business.
As we have now rounded the corner in the age of information, and seen every goofy ploy to attract employees—free lunch, day care, swimming pools and ride shares, we are now faced with more serious issues.
Racism and sexism conversations are not going away.
Great to have free milkshakes at work everyday. Better if deep-seeded feelings can be addressed and the work you do is improving the world, even if it’s just your small part of it. #MeToo, and #BLM bring messages to the table that some behaviors are not acceptable. What they don’t do is facilitate those conversations.
The next social change heroes will be…
It’s not the radicals screaming into megaphones that bring about lasting change. It is the mother who cares enough to teach her kids about personal responsibility; that actions speak louder than words; that life is about making the people around you just as successful as you are. These are the mothers who are saying: “We want more control over the Internet our kids use because we believe education can accelerate at incredible speeds if our kids aren’t being distracted and exploited.” These are the dads who are saying: “I want my kids to thrive in a diverse world, learn to make healthy decisions, make their contribution, and not be stalked by pedophiles or tracked by marketers.”
These are real people who see the good in the progress our world has experienced in the last 20 years. But they’ve also seen the abuse of power, the exploitation of personal data, the loss of basic human rights like privacy and access to education.
More of the good and less of the bad
The next social change heroes won’t be celebrities or politicians or TikTok stars. They will be parents who raise their kids to be problem solvers, critical thinkers, peacemakers, and protectors of principles that give opportunity to all. All we have to do is give them the right tools.
ClearPHONE is only the beginning.