10 things I learned at RESULTS (represented by 10 Disney songs)
By Gina Olivieri, Grassroots Engagement Manager
Because if I have to say farewell, I’ve at least gotta make it fun and educational…
Amazing things happen when you train people, build them up, then let them loose on the world. Our volunteers achieve amazing things when they’re allowed to come up with their own ideas and follow their passion – as their manager it was tempting to hold tight to the steering wheel but it was way more fun to jump in the back seat and watch what they could do by themselves.
Martin Luther King Jnr that is…even though the work we do isn’t strictly organising or non-violent direct action, we have heaps to learn from amazing organisers like him. Our emphasis on storytelling and relationship-building this year has been informed by an organising course I completed back in May that had us studying the civil rights movement closely.
When I first started at RESULTS back in June 2013, I hadn’t even set foot inside a parliamentarian’s office before. The world of politics and advocacy really was a whole new world to me, that I’ve gotten to know much better in four years, but that takes a lifetime to know properly. It’s easy to forget that for most people life inside the walls of Parliament House remain a mystery, and our job at RESULTS is to de-mystify and re-claim the average person’s place amongst it.
See above. It’s so important that we’re penetrating the political bubble and reminding our leaders who we are, what we value, and what we expect of them. Case in point: our people had a meeting recently with an MP who hadn’t heard of the east African famine.
This should come as no surprise to anyone who has been on Study Tour – preparation is key! If you want to inform and inspire anyone to take action on poverty, you have to know your stuff. But what I learned over the years is that knowing the issue is barely half of the task – knowing your own story and being able to express your values, and knowing the person you’re meeting with and what makes them tick – these are the things that make or break your meeting.
I’ve met some awesome people in my time at RESULTS and I wanna be like all of you – you’re incredible.
I like to bang on about the work we do being a sprint and a marathon. You need to be able to act and react quickly – shooting off a letter to the editor or calling your MP’s office to be heard – the sprint. You also need to be able to go the distance in the marathon of advocacy – recognising that the change we seek often takes years, not days or weeks, to show up. We also sometimes have to spend time on the treadmill, sending letters that don’t get published, making meeting requests that go unanswered – important ‘exercise’ to keep us in top condition for the sprint and the marathon.
You can make magic, believe it or not!
Colonialism and white supremacy – ugh. It’s continuing impact is starkly apparent when you spend your days learning about poverty and inequality. I’ve been really inspired by the work of my US colleagues in understanding the intersecting forces of oppression, and actively working to fight that oppression. We need to do so much more work to ensure oppressive mindsets don’t colour our activism.
I’ve met some great friends, and will miss you greatly.