If Monday’s theme at the Social Good Summit was storytelling, then Tuesday’s theme was empowerment. There were some fantastic speakers talking about the tools we now have, online and offline, to raise stories up and drive people to action.
One of my favorite quotes of the day was specifically on these tools: Elie Wiesel, the renowned author, educator, and human rights activist, reminded us when we approach new, online ways of empowerment that “social media is a tool and a tool is neutral”, and that it’s up to the users to use the tool to help, not hurt, humanity.
Tools don’t care what political position you take, or what your values are. What we do with the tools we have – high tech, low tech, no tech – is entirely up to us, as individuals, as communities, and as a society. We can embrace or reject tools, we can use them to rally for good or to simply gather and communicate.
My other favorite quote from the day was from Serena Williams, newly-named UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador: “if you give someone a helping hand, you don’t have to hold their hand.” With these tools, with new ways of communicating online and taking the conversation offline and into homes, town halls, and Congressional offices around the country, we have a renewed power to help us help each other.
We don’t need to hold each other’s hands – we just need to offer the helping hand, the support, the boost-up to make sure each and every story is told, and each and every voice is heard. And with so many tools out there, what’s stopping you?
Zack Langway is the Web and New Media Manager for the Center for Community Change, and will be blogging from the Social Good Summit throughout the week. Do you have a tool to share? Email zlangway(at)communitychange(dot)org and share it with us.