"How to Be an Effective Activist" event unpacks organizing for social change

Rev. Noelle Damico
Rev. Noelle Damico presents her session, "Into the Streets in Civil Resistance: Engagement, Mobilization, and Action."
Jonathan "Abstract" Cabrera
NYU Wagner student Jonathan "Absract" Cabrera performs "Answers."

As massive street demonstrations over immigrant deportations, sexual harassment, and many other pressing issues grow, NYU Wagner convened a heavily attended public forum Jan. 29 entitled “How to Be an Effective Activist,” bringing to the stage a mix of activists, students, and academics.

Speakers included: Daniel Altschuler, Managing Director of Make the Road Action, whose talk focused on how to develop a strategy of protest; Rev. Noelle Damico, Senior Fellow, National Economic and Social Rights Initiative, on achieving social change through civil resistance; Jamila Brown, Digital Communications Strategist at The Opportunity Agenda, on “How to Communicate an Unarmed Struggle,” and Linda Lausell-Bryant, a professor at NYU's Silver School of Social Work, on “Talking Across the Divide.”

Successful organizing requires patience and persistence, identifying specific goals and the most important decision makers who can advance or stand in the way of those objectives, engaging with sympathetic organizations, and understanding where your opponents are coming from.

“If we could approach people with whom we disagree with genuine curiosity and interest in wanting to understand their story, I think we could learn so much,” said Professor Lausell-Bryant.

The event was held at NYU Law in partnership with the Faculty of Arts and Science; Gallatin School of Individualized Study; College of Global Public Health; Global Spiritual Life; Graduate School of Arts & Science; Institute of Fine Arts; School of Law, Public Interest Law Center; Liberal Studies; Silver School of Social Work; Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development; Stern School of Business; and Tisch School of the Arts.

Watch the full event below: