Jody Williams, amongst a career of tireless political activism, is best known for leading the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and laying the foundations for the Mine Ban Treaty. During a Q&A at an event where she was speaking, a woman stood up and commented upon how angry Jody seemed. The best bits of her response are summed up in this brief RSA short film, and in my transcription below.
Prepare to be inspired. Jody tells us: "Every action really does contribute to change."
"I can be angry. What I feel in my work is quite different. Not that I don't have moments of anger, but what has fuelled my passion for change is righteous indignation at injustice."
"It wasn't just me. I'm often introduced as one individual who has changed the world and that is not the case ... The reason 'we' changed the world in the landmine campaign is because 'we' were thousands and, in some instances, millions of ordinary people who came together with a common goal of pressuring their governments to do what they should have done anyway. And it wasn't just me that received the Peace prize, it was 'we'. It was the Internaitonal Campaign to Ban Landmines and myself."
"And, in addition to getting governments within the space of five years to create this treaty banning anti-personnel landmines, we also made ordinary people around the world understand that it's not magic ... Anybody can be an agent of change. All it really takes is finding what you're most passionate about ... If it is an issue that stirs your passion, and by working on it you can contribute to the greater good."
You can watch a 15 minute excerpt of Jody's interview here.
If every action contributes to change, it gives us all a reason to consider carefully how we act towards those around us and the ideas we want to stand up for.