Essay on The Bezine: Using Social Interactions to Create Change

A young woman of color with natural hair and sunglasses grins as she squats next to her child, looking into his eyes warmly.

An article of mine was published today on The BeZine, an online magazine that looks at efforts for peace, sustainability and social justice through the lens of art. They publish photography, poetry, essays, fiction, even music, that coincides with the theme of each issue. They are particularly interested in looking at the world’s problems with the intention of finding solutions. The BeZine also has direct ties to 100 Thousand Poets for Change (100TPC), which was the topic of our most recent blog post.

The theme of this issue was social justice, and as any social justice blogger knows, writing about solutions is a lot harder than just explaining the problems. Social justice issues are so huge, it can be difficult to have a real understanding of the practical steps to take to make a positive difference. I decided to zero in on exactly this challenge and how I’ve gone about addressing it. In order to do so, I had to explain the massive concepts of socialization, how marginalization intersects with it, and privilege, in the space of a few paragraphs! And I think I did a damn good job.

Here’s a clip:

The actions you choose to perform are an indicator of what kind of world you want to normalize. You can lead by example, speak up in the face of injustice, disconnect from toxic influences, encourage and celebrate progression, resist regression. You can validate, reject, inspire, undermine, or uplift. Humans are by and large social creatures. We are motivated to attain connection and acceptance from other people and as a result, just a simple smile or frown is enough to influence someone else’s actions down the road.

It is this superpower that I use as my primary “weapon” against social injustice. The practice of being intentional about what behaviors I socially reward or reject according to the change that I want to see is a power that I have at my fingertips every day.”

Go read the whole thing

About the writer: Kella Hanna-Wayne is the creator, editor, and main writer for Yopp. In addition to creating a collection of educational resources for social justice, she works as a freelance writer specializing in content about her experience with disability, chronic illness, mental health, and trauma. Her work has been published in Ms. Magazine blog, The BeZine, Betty’s Battleground, and Splain You a Thing. You can find her @KellaHannaWayne on Facebook, Twitter, Medium, and Instagram.

At Yopp we're dedicated to providing educational material for social justice
that emphasizes the individual experience of lived oppression and helps you
understand the whole picture instead of memorizing do's & don'ts.

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