Dominoes Episode Thirty-Two

Charley was pleased that the interns were able to develop a good sense of what it would take to develop a believer’s network. He was also realistic that the last few days were just the beginning of their thinking about bringing on others to their cause. He was beginning to realize that this summer’s efforts would require a lot of reinforcement in the fall when they began to put in place what they had learned this summer. Now he wanted to move on to sharing with them what it would take to create value shaping events.

“Think of value shaping events as an action you will take to bring an awareness to your cause. What you hope to do with a value shaping event is to gain public support, not just in words but also in actions. For a value shaping event to be successful, it needs to have the following qualities

  • It calls for action that anyone can do
  • It evokes an emotional response
  • It leads to sustained action until the cause is widely approved of by common citizens.
  • The event needs to clearly relate to the cause.

An example of a value shaping event that failed is the Occupy Wall Street movement. The cause was economic inequality and the influence of money in politics. The event was the occupation of a park near Wall Street. The protest lasted for 59 days. The occupation of the park failed to generate a sustained support for the cause and limited change has resulted.”

Charley asked the interns why they thought the occupation of the park was an ineffective value shaping event. Some of their responses were:

  • “The general public was not able to participate.”
  • “It wasn’t clear how the protest connected to income inequality.”
  • “It wasn’t clear how the protest could be sustained.”

“Very good,” Charley responded. “Now, let me tell you about the fight against the exploitation of farm workers. Wages were low. Exposures to pesticides were hazardous. Since most farm workers were immigrants, they had little voice.”

 “When the farm workers went on strike, they were replaced with other immigrants. Something more needed to be done. The union began a national effort to boycott grapes. The boycott spread throughout America and after five years, the grape producers signed a favorable labor agreement with the farm workers. Why was the value shaping event of boycotting grapes successful?” asked Charley. The responses were a good indication that the interns understood the role of value shaping events in bringing awareness to a cause.

  • “The boycott asked for something everyone could do.”
  • “The boycott grew in momentum and became sustainable.”
  • “You could see how the boycott put pressure on the growers.”
  • “People could value the plight of the farm workers.”

 “What I want each of you to do is to imagine what a value shaping event might look like for your cause. This is something that is best done as a group, so meet with your group to imagine what these events might be.”

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“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.” – Indian proverb

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