We started this website, Get Woke Coven, for several reasons, including as a means to push for social justice and intersectional feminist voice. We both share a desire to help all the marginalized people and causes and hold all the outstretched hands. But that’s not possible. If you try to do it all, put out all the fires, heal all the hurt, you will be quickly consumed and overwhelmed, burning out. There’s a syndrome called compassion fatigue (for an ex see http://compassionfatigue.org/) that indicates just that – trauma in the caregiver from other-directed care work. This can result in various health and emotional challenges, such as substance abuse, apathy where there was once empathy and compassionate response, depression and/or anxiety.
Rather than focusing on problems, we had an idea – focus on solutions. That is, focus on those doing Work— work with a capital W—that is moving humanity toward wholebeing and whose value is beyond the bounds of monetary, capitalistic valuing. Work of heart and soul. Solutions-oriented, often these people don’t wait to be paid or acknowledged or for permission to Do. They just do. Pick up pieces, wake us up, and move us forward as a species, however incrementally.
My own social media feed is problems oriented – melting ice caps, homelessness and people that are freezing on the streets secondary to extreme winter temperatures, extinct species, racial injustice. Family message me similar articles – bees are dying. Yes, I know. I know all of this, even the problems I don’t explicitly know of, I am intuitively and implicitly aware. These problems, though an important starting point, do little in the long run. “So what?”, I want to say. “The bees are dying, what are YOU doing about it?” Homeless is a devastating, biased problem impacting women, children, trans people, and veterans – what are WE doing about it? In 2018 and 19, Immigrant children that have been separated from their families, even imprisoned and irreparably harmed in what will trickle through generations – my heart breaks. But what is being done and how can I help? Rather than be pulled into fear and apathy and hopelessness, I want to Work.
I even teach my children to stop coming to me with problems. Or at least problems alone. I need ideas on how to fix things, otherwise it is playing some kind of fucked up hot potato, a way to unload and discharge a problem rather than solve it. Or, this focus on problems can be akin to a victim mentality, which can encourage submission and passivity, rather than action. I don’t want to be unloaded on, I want ideas, avenues for change, I want to know about your problems, yes, but more importantly, what are you/we doing about them?
We started using the hashtag #peopledoingwork as a nod, fist bump, and heart tap to the many people, famous or barely known, who are doing amazing Work in the world. Getting woke is not just about cultivating awareness of the intractable challenges and issues facing humanity, though that is often a first step. It’s also about learning about the possibilities for a better world, learning about and connecting with inspired others who are paving the way. Not only does #peopledoingwork provide examples of the ways that we can take action, but it also helps keep us motivated and hopeful. We also like to share diverse examples of what the Work looks like. Sometimes it’s marching in the streets or serving the homeless, and other times it’s someone doing the hard emotional Work of facing her shadow or a man leaning into vulnerability in the face of toxic masculine norms. It’s all Work and necessary to catalyze a shift in human consciousness toward the common good. We are all walking each other home.
Now let’s get to Work.
This piece was written collaboratively with AM and SS and is copyright protected, please cite accordingly. If you have questions or are interested in collaboration, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org