• We Are Power – Nonviolent Activism for Youth | Todd Hasak-Lowy | Episode 133

  • We Are Power: How Nonviolent Activism Changes the WorldTeenagers are labelled as difficult, rebellious, and out of control when often what they want is simply to make a difference in the world. Nonviolent activism is a tool they can use to harness power, effect change, and fight injustice. Mighty Parenting podcast host Sandy Fowler interviews Todd Hasak-Lowy about his book We Are Power. They will discuss nonviolent activism for youth to understand what it is, why it works, and how our kids can use it to create change and feel great about themselves.



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    A Favorite Quote from the Show: 

    “Nonviolent activism provides a way to fix a problem that makes things better for everyone.”

    High Points From Our Conversation on Nonviolent Activism for Youth:

    nonviolent activism quoteOur kids have the power to change their lives.

    When lots of people decide they are going to disrupt things and are going to challenge authority, authority has limited options of how to respond to that. When they attempt to reassert their authority, it often backfires.

    Institutional activism is when you use official channels to effect change (circulate a petition, address the city council, meet with other elected officials, hold an event to talk about it, etc). 

    Nonviolent activism is a way to effect change when those channels are not accessible to people or are being unfairly regulated.

    Creating movements and initiating actions that break the rules in order to change the rules is nonviolent activism.

    Nonviolent activism disrupts the status quo. It creates conflict, but this conflict is nonviolent. It is an honorable and courageous way to create necessary conflict to get rid of an injustice.

    It’s a way to fix a problem that makes things better for everyone.

    Over 200 different methods have been documented.

    Nonviolent activism isn’t always peaceful. It’s the third way between acting violently or submitting. As Ghandi discovered, we can create conflict in a way that does not require violence but gives us access to power. 

    Martin Luther King Junior, in Birmingham, Alabama, said the children were fighting to make this country better. It was about making things better for everyone, even those who seemingly benefit from the current injustice.

    The activist does not act violently. However, the stronger side oftentimes gets provoked and they strike out with violence.

    There are 3 groups involved in injustice: 1. The stronger group, those perpetuating the injustice. 2. The seemingly weaker group, those who are victims of injustice. 3. Everyone else on the sidelines.

    One form of nonviolent activism is called Political Jujitsu. This is when you use someone else’s force against them.

    Our kids get upset about a variety of injustices; from things happening at school to climate change, our kids want things to change.

    Parents can support our teen’s desire to effect change by:

    • Listening to what is animating your child.
    • Helping them become aware of the risks of getting involved.
    • Honoring their desire.

    Young people are more ready to take risk and less ready to accept injustice.

    It’s a parent’s instinct to protect our child but we need to take into consideration what is motivating them to act in the first place.

    We can also educate our youth about institutional activism.

    We honor people who sacrifice through military service, especially when we believe the military conflict is a just one. We need to honor those who sacrifice through nonviolence as well.

    What do you believe in and how are you upholding it in the world?

    Resources Mentioned in Show:

    Roses and Radicals: The Epic Story of How American Women Won the Right to Vote by Susan Zimet and Todd Hasak-Lowy

    The mean coach example of nonviolent activism https://www.toddhasaklowy.com/we-are-power 

    We are Power: How Nonviolent Activism Changes the World by Todd Hasak-Lowy

    Our Guest Todd Hasak-Lowy:

    Todd Hasak-Lowy we are power nonviolent activismI started writing fiction for adults, but now I write for younger readers, too. I’ve published two books for adults: a short story collection, THE TASK OF THIS TRANSLATOR (2005), and the novel CAPTIVES (2008). My first book for your younger readers, a middle grade novel called 33 MINUTES, was published in 2013. In 2015 I published a young adult novel, ME BEING ME IS EXACTLY AS INSANE AS YOU BEING YOU. That same year, a narrative memoir for ages 10 and up that I co-wrote with and about Holocaust survivor Michael Gruenbaum called SOMEWHERE THERE IS STILL A SUN came out. In early 2018 a young person’s history of the women’s suffrage movement, ROSES & RADICALS, which I co-wrote with Susan Zimet, was published.  My latest book, WE ARE POWER: HOW NONVIOLENT ACTIVISM CHANGES THE WORLD, came out in April, 2020.  In addition to writing, I teach literature at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and translate Hebrew literature into English. I live in Evanston, Illinois (just outside Chicago), with my wife, two daughters, a dog, and two cats.

    To learn more or connect with our guest, visit https://www.toddhasaklowy.com

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