Paul Gorski, Sustaining Activists Project
A large number of social justice activists, including animal rights activists, are giving up on their work and passion due to the debilitating symptoms of burnout. Paul Gorski, an activist, writer, and educator, has spent a lifetime working in the intersections of social justice issues, and is now looking to understand and address activist burnout with his Sustaining Activists Project.
Paul’s research has shown that there are two primary reasons for burnout: (1) the “emotional labor” activists expend due to their deep sense of responsibility to be part of social change around issues other people don’t see or choose not to acknowledge, and (2) a culture of martyrdom in activist communities that discourage conversations about self-care. The result is that most activists are not developing strategies to sustain themselves, and in turn, fizzle out.
“They leave activism in droves, disrupting movements,” states Paul, “which has terrible consequences for the communities for which they are advocating.” He feels that this trend is especially present in the animal rights movement, where burnout levels are particularly high. He is piloting a series of free resources and workshops in the DC area that will initially support animal rights activists, and that will be disseminated on his website so that other activist may also take advantage of them.
This Grant will help Paul make sure the resources can stay free for participants, help with ongoing research, and will help develop his longer term goal to train a national network of people to run the free workshops regionally across the US.
GRANT FUNDING DATE: August 27, 2015