From reproductive rights to anti-discrimination laws, 2021 was undoubtedly fraught with political, environmental and social changes. Now, with less than 3 months before we all welcome 2022, the voices of dissent have grown stronger. When despair gripped older generations, the youth of today have risen to the challenge—by speaking up on the behalf of tomorrow. Not only has youth activism demonstrated an unyielding desire for a better society, but it has also proven vital for the development of a collaborative and purpose-led world, rooted in inclusivity.
As with any activism, however, initiating change and persuading people to actually listen is always an uphill battle. That’s exactly what footwear and lifestyle brand TOMS is here to address. Backed with the belief that progress begins on the ground through efforts led by those closest to a community’s obstacles and opportunities, TOMS has curated the Good On The Ground summit—a digital event featuring members of grassroots partner organisations such as The Advocacy Academy and Peace First as well as external advocates, all coming together on Thursday 7 October from 6 p.m. BST to immerse you into their world of local activism.
Through a series of inspiring keynotes, galvanising workshops and honest conversations, this event seeks to be a watering hole where you can connect with other young activists while learning the basics of local advocacy.
The summit will be kicked off with a spoken word performance by the multi-published writer and poet Tanaka Fuego, who will take the stage to perform a powerful poetry on their experience growing up. Amy Smith, Chief Strategy & Impact Officer at TOMS, will then address one of the most common questions plaguing the quest to create change: where do I begin? Well, the answer lies right in your local community! Sharing her own experience while collaborating with nonprofits around the world, Smith will teach you what makes local, ‘grassroots’, organisations so powerful in creating long-lasting change.
The session will be followed up with two simultaneous labs, where you’ll be able to choose the one you’d like to attend on the day of the summit. The first lab will feature Saba Shafi, CEO of The Advocacy Academy, where she will share her inspiring journey along with artist-in-residence Rhianna Ilube, who will give pro tips on how to co-create impactful campaigns. Here, you’ll have a chance to learn what it takes to collaborate artistically with friends, fellow activists, or organisers and how to navigate questions of allyship, consent and power dynamics.
After repeatedly being told that, as a young person, you are the ‘future’, it can be scary to show up confidently in the now and know how to build connections with those that we’ve been made to see as our elders. This is where Tatianna Ennin and Oluwaseun Kayode from Peace First come in to help with a second lab option for you to pick from. In this interactive workshop, you’ll be given the tools required to identify the people and institutions that are key to getting your social change campaign off the ground, along with insights into building meaningful alliances with them.
Once you’re done and dusted with your choice of labs, the summit will be concluded by two female founders who are experts at making an impact. Nafisa Bakkar, entrepreneur and founder of Amaliah magazine and Shira Jeczmien, founder and director of Screen Shot media, will wrap up the summit with a final conversation on the potential storytelling harbours as a powerful tool when it comes to transforming ideas for change into sustainable projects.
At the Good On The Ground summit, all eight speakers will equip you with the tools you need to create change within your own community. This initiative further reflects TOMS’ vision of a future where all people have a chance to thrive. The brand has therefore pledged one-third of its profits to grassroots good, in support of the people working to build a more equitable tomorrow. TOMS is not only committed to changing the world but is also at the feet of the people who are.
So dust off your TOMS, sign up for free to the virtual game changer event on Thursday 7 October 2021 between 6 to 9 p.m. BST, and learn how to run the world with unapologetic advocacy, passion and creativity that speaks louder than words ever could.