When was the last time you were inspired or offended so much that the offence aroused your passionate sense of justice which in turn led to some type of action to put the situation right? I am frequently outraged and sometimes I actually do something about my feelings beyond moaning to my nearest and dearest. There remains this complex interplay of culture, habits and beliefs in how we interact with the world and each other.
2021 has knocked the confidence and negatively impacted the mental health status of many but equally it has in turn provided great opportunities for others. The last nearly two years, due to Covid, has seen the removal or surrender of our liberty, protest or acquiescence. Yet reflecting on the NSUN AGM, some discussions and the incredible report, Lived Experience Leadership, I have a few thoughts I’d like to share alongside some questions.
The report is long and detailed but necessary. The first question I have is: how many people have/will read it? At least the executive summary? Next question; what difference will it or can it make? I am reminded of the Government and Church of England that has produced many reports (mainly on racism) but in decades has failed in societal buy-in and implementation. These questions are not just aimed at NSUN members but the wider audience who also need to hear, reflect and act on some of the recommendations. The relevance of 4Pi (Principles, Purpose, Presence, Process and Impact) i.e. co-production must also be lauded with achievable targets set and measured. We all have a part to play.
NSUN has done well in bringing people together, lobbying and articulating a different future. We have heard of some fantastic initiatives, keep it up! However, we would admit, I am sure, that there remains a great deal to be done. We are hindered by internal and external forces but yet we persist. Our focus is identified in the name NATIONAL SURVIVOR USER NETWORK.
National – think nationally without failing to act locally. Celebrate the successes.
Survivor – our lived experience demonstrates our resilience and drive. Carpe diem.
User – we are all participants, activists and/or leaders in different ways. “Actions speak louder than words and I will be heard” (Can You Handle It – Sharon Redd).
Network – we are interconnected. “A triple-braided cord is not quickly broken.”
We must continue to fight the culture of hyper individualism that isolates and vilifies people who resist the status quo or disagree with us. As important as definitions, opinions and history are, they must not be weaponised for character assassination in our activism, leadership and pursuit of justice.
May 2022 bring greater justice for all and resistance to all that opposes it. As the report highlights, may we this year continue to nurture lived experience/s and create truly supportive environments.