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Assessing the risks of taking on activist work

How should we assess risk when taking on activist projects? Watch this video to find out.

In this video you will hear our course contributors discussing whether they have made sacrifices for their activism. They also share how they assess their own capacity to take on activist work.

Deji talks about the need to evaluate whether there are any longer term risks around health or relationships, especially if your personal life is affected by activism. Savena notes that the word ‘sacrifice’ implies loss, which she doesn’t feel she has experienced as a result of undertaking activism – rather it is about making changes to the way she lives and works in order to stay aligned with her activist values. Similarly, Arda does not see her activist work as requiring her to make sacrifices – she enjoys what she does! However, it has been important to reorganise her free time to make space for activist work. Although Peaks has made sacrifices for their activism, it has also shaped their life in significant ways that are beneficial, so these sacrifices have been happily made. Yadira shares that while anger can be a driver for activist change, it also takes a toll on mental health, so taking care of this is vital. For Evani, it’s important – in both activism and work more broadly – to weigh up potential sacrifices that may need to be made in relation to your own wellbeing.

Our contributors have different approaches to assessing their capacity to take on activist work. At Identity 2.0, Savena and Arda consider time, resources and impact alignment. They consider their overall capacity at any given time, as well as whether there is a budget available that enables them to outsource some tasks on a project. Peaks has got better at setting boundaries around professional and activist work, knows their own capacity and tries to keep projects manageable by not taking on too many things at once. Both Evani and Deji consider how much time and energy they have before taking on activist projects. Deji also considers the ‘opportunity’ cost involved; Would taking on a particular role take away an opportunity for someone else who could either provide or gain more? Would taking this role on detract from any other more significant projects?

Now you have watched this video, it’s over to you! Did this video change how you think about assessing the risks and possible benefits of taking on activist work? Do you think undertaking activist work would involve you having to make sacrifices? Please share in the comment section below, and take a moment to read and respond to others.

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Engaging in Activism for Social Change in Tech

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