These days, I run on academic time, which means that mid-December is, essentially, the end of the year.
I will have some posts next week before I take a holiday break, until the second week in January, to make cookies and wrap presents and volunteer and read and–I hope–spend some time in front of the fireplace reading juvenile fiction with some very special kiddos.
But, today, a sort-of tradition:
My hopes for the new year.
In the spirit of holiday giving, I hope you’ll share your hopes for the future, too. Good news on your horizon? Cherished dreams you’re clinging to? Promises of good things to come that you’re no longer keeping to yourself?
At the risk of sounding greedy, I want them all!
Here’s to a new year, a few weeks from now.
Together, let’s make it a great one.
- A grassroots movement to use ballot measures for progressive ends: Our friends at Bolder Advocacy have highlighted some promising initiatives for 2014. While I have often been a bit cautious about ballot initiatives, given their history as a tool for restrictionist policymaking, there’s a lot of reason to be optimistic about some of these measures, particularly around marriage equality and economic justice.
- Smart, sustainable, networked practices by nonprofit advocates: I am so encouraged by the way that even the language nonprofit leaders use to talk about advocacy has changed in recent years–the field has come a long way towards understanding the importance of relationship and recognizing that raising awareness and raising funds are not mutually exclusive. I’m so grateful that there are smart people helping to spur this work.
- A recession aftermath that finally pays dividends in fostering sense of shared fate: I have to think that some of the advances in economic justice recently, like passage of paid sick leave in New York City and progress on unionization of fast food employees, reflect, at least in part, the realization of many that this economy, as currently structured, leaves people too vulnerable to the vagaries of capitalism. We can build a better safety net, and I hope we make huge strides in that direction in 2014.
- Measures to address obesity through systems changes, not blaming those trapped in a dysfunctional food economy: I feel very strongly, obviously, about the importance of policy change to address our greatest challenges, instead of just criticizing those who don’t manage to independently overcome them. There are reasons to be concerned that we could decidedly move in the direction of individual accountability, but the near ubiquity of overweight and obesity still give me hope that we will recognize the collective nature of this very real threat.
- Successful voting rights litigation: It’s clear now, especially post-Supreme Court ruling, that the battle to protect voting rights in the United States will have to be waged in the courts. I am haunted by the potential ramifications of the erosion of this critical constitutional right, but I am also, on the eve of the new year, encouraged by those who are soliciting plaintiffs, raising money, and studying the legal arguments in preparation for what must–for the future of our democracy–be successful challenges to restrictive laws.
- More nonprofit civic engagement work, and more money to fund it: Recent evaluation of nonprofit voter engagement efforts should bolster the claims of organizations seeking funding to support these activities and, I sincerely hope, motivate more nonprofit organizations to integrate voter outreach into their programming. 2014 is an election year, and it–like every election before and after–matters, to social workers and champions of social justice. A lot.
What are you hoping for? What will you do to make those dreams come true?