I have always had a love-hate relationship with campaigners outside coffee shops, grocery stores, and book stores. While I appreciate their passion for the social issues of our day, I almost always find their method of expressing that passion frustrating as it often seeks an audience by interruption.
As I sit at Peet’s Coffee in Long Beach this afternoon and watch the Save the Children campaigners outside (pictured above), I am struck by how often our humanitarian efforts involve interruption rather than invitation. I watch as 90% of those who pass by them, walk on, trying to ignore them.
I know these campaigners mean well, but I can also see how many of those passing them by feel bad about ignoring them, as I think given the right situation they would express a great deal of concern about the children in Congo, Darfur, and Myanmar. My guess is that they care about the cause of Save the Children, but just don’t appreciate the campaigners’ method of interruption for advocacy.
If we work on being an invitation, which takes more thoughtfulness and effort, I believe our humanitarian efforts will go much further. If people are invited into being the change, and into personally owning the responsibility for injustice, we will see a greater change in the issues of current social justice.
I want to be an invitation to people to do something that helps change the world. That is the goal of my photography; it is not to make people feel bad about what is going on in the world, but rather to invite them to take an active role in changing it. I want to invite people to see the world differently and see that they can do something more than just write a check. When we are invited into something we tend to give more generously, advocate more strongly, and learn to be an invitation ourselves.