๐ŸŒฑย What Star Wars Teaches Us About Social Justice

Part I: How Fandom Inspired Your Activism?

Sam Chavez
Sam Chavez

Table of Contents

Welcome Back! ๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿผ

May the fourth be with you! Star Wars Day is a very special day for me. Iโ€™ve been a lifelong Star Wars fan and it also happens to be my birthday. I found helpful reminders rewatching the Star Wars trilogy films as voter outreach efforts ramp up and we work to defeat the Dark Side on November 5, 2024. Read on for more...

In Case You Missed It: A Hopeful Guide to Deplasticizing Our Life

What You Can Expect
๐Ÿช What Star Wars Teaches Us
๐ŸŽŸ Plan Your Pride Strategy ๐ŸŒˆ
๐Ÿ“ฒ Instagram's Changing Algorithm
๐ŸŒฑ News with a Social Change Lens
๐Ÿ’ก Biden's Speech & Election Implications

โญ๏ธโš”๏ธ This month to celebrate my birthday month and invite creativity into the movement, we are celebrating geek culture in all its forms! I've asked a few friends to write and reflect on how geek culture has influenced their activism. Each piece this month showcases the variety of geek culture and how it can be an inspiration for anyone's activism. This week is my take on the world of Star Wars! ๐Ÿช

And make sure to join our first Seedling gathering on Thursday, May 23! We will have the guest writers speaking about their experience with creativity and activism. All paid subscribers get a complimentary +1.

May the fourth be with you!

Star Wars Day is a very special day for me. Iโ€™ve been a lifelong Star Wars fan and it also happens to be my birthday.

I love Star Wars because of the creativity and world building. The lightsaber battles of the 70s are still breathtaking. Even the prequels, which I was raised on, expanded the universe to new worlds and gave us deeper meaning to the original characters. Star Wars offered me the tools of creativity and imagination that I craved as a closeted queer kid in Dallas, Texas. I could imagine myself in the Resistance working alongside Leia Organa and a band of passionate people who believe in something more than themselves.

Iโ€™ve always turned to the films as a point of inspiration in my activist work. Even though the first films were released nearly 50 years ago, each has a valuable message for activists as we inch closer to the U.S. election. Itโ€™s in the title after all! Star Wars is about the conflict between power and the people. I recently rewatched the Star Wars trilogy films and found helpful reminders as I ramp up voter outreach efforts with Swing Left San Francisco and we work to defeat the Dark Side on November 5, 2024.

Decorum Never Got Us Anywhere

I kicked off my watch party with Episode I: The Phantom Menace when Darth Vader was just a young tyke pod racing in the desert planet of Tatooine. Watching the prequels has the added benefit of context. Thatโ€™s why the slow descent towards The Empire in the prequels is so hard to watch. Itโ€™s so much more harrowing to watch the mistakes and pitfalls of the Jedi and pro-democracy faction knowing whatโ€™s coming.

Watching the cordiality in the Galactic Senate knowing that the Sith already are influencing the government reflects recent history over abortion. I remember watching Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett misdirect about their abortion stances when testifying during their confirmation hearings only to overturn the bodily autonomy and freedoms of more than half the population a few years later.

In Episode II - Attack of the Clones, we see the Jedi's hubris fail them when they don't recognize the threat from Senator Palpatine and the Dark Side. The Jediโ€™s response is not unlike the way many lawmakers have responded to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. There is a lack of urgency in the halls of U.S. Congress despite the overwhelming support by the public. A recent Axios/Ipsos poll from March shows that 81% of the U.S. do not think the government should be involved in people's abortion decisions, while 72% support abortion medication like mifipristone.

Despite the fact that people in the U.S. want progressive policies, many elected officials have used an old playbook of decorum, which has not allowed us to create the social change we need to solve society's ills. The more reasonable lawmakers acquiesce to the MAGA arm of the GOP, the weaker democracy becomes. If we are to truly protect and expand our freedoms in this country, we need to call out what is happening.

Control Corrupts Completely

Just like the Clone Wars were a distraction, the abortion debate is an attempt to control and distract from the GOP's terribly unpopular policies. As U.S. demographics have shifted, it has become harder for the GOP to win with its older, white voters. Rather than change their policies away from the constant attempts to hoard wealth for corporations and a small group of hyper-wealthy men, they've decided to change the rules. How the Dark Side seduces Anakin follows the pattern of how unpopular moments build power.

โ€œVader was seduced by the dark side of the Force.โ€ - Old Ben Kenobi

It's often said that greed corrupts, but the story of Anakin, aka Darth Vader, is more about control. Anakin can't imagine losing his love, Padmรฉ, so much so that he turns to destruction to maintain control at all costs. He loses sight of everything else in his quest to control the future. At a time of great uncertainty and change, it's only natural to want to feel some control. Our world faces many converging crises that have caused an increase in anxiety and uncertainty.

We've seen Donald Trump incite fear and promise control since he first used immigration to win the 2016 election. He and the GOP consistently used fear of "the other" to gain political power. Authoritarianism thrives when everyday people give up their power in the hopes that someone else can fix the problem. We can't control our way out of the climate crisis or a changing world. The only answer it to create solutions together.

Thereโ€™s Strength in Numbers

We see the power of collaboration throughout the Star Wars universe. Princess Lea had not choice but to band together with the Ewoks, the indigenous people on Endor, to protect themselves. Rey, Finn, Poe, and Rose from the recent trilogy practice mutual aid to support each other through impossible circumstances. (Plus, Rey, Finn, and Poe are a pretty cute polycule if I do say so myself!)

Since the last election, uncertainty has only grown. Itโ€™s easy for us to lose sight of the individual power we each hold. It can feel like our problems are insurmountable when we think we are just one person against powerful and wealthy interests. However, I remind myself and the organizations I work with that there is far more strength in the collective.

As the U.S. election gears up, we must keep reminding ourselves that we are far more powerful together. We know the majority of Americans want abortion rights restored and expanded. The majority want a functioning democracy where people can get their basic needs met. In 2024, it is on all of us to talk with people in our lives about the election so we can build the energy to create change.

It doesnโ€™t take much to topple the system. The small hole that Luke has to shoot through to blow up the Death Star took a lot of strategy and skill to hit, but that small shot also unlocked a much bigger chain reaction. That's what our voter outreach efforts can do this year. One phone banking session or a day canvassing can help sway election.

The Force Is a Call To Trust Your Body

And finally, the most important lesson of all, using the Force.

"The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together." - Obi-Wan Kenobi, Episode IV - A New Hope

An unmistakable element about the Force is the idea of trusting yourself and the power you hold. When we can feel confident, compassionate, and like a whole person, it's much easier to speak out for what we believe in. When we know that we have a whole Resistance on our side, it makes our part that much easier.

The Force is strong in our movement. Despite the news headlines, we know that the majority of people in the U.S. want to see progressive policies and an expansion of people's freedoms. Our inner knowing is one of the most powerful ways for us to protect our energies to keep up the struggle for social justice. The more we remind ourselves of our collective actions, the more we can see our actions take root.

There is one fact that I continue to remind myself as I work with organizations and candidates to achieve progressive wins in November. In every election, ballot measure, and special election where abortion has been on the ballot since the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, abortion has won. Yes, I said every single time. We have the momentum and we will continue to win, together.

What does the Force call you to do this election year?

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Getting to the roots - evaluating the news with a social change lens
  • โ˜Ž๏ธ Keep Taking Action for Palestine - Rafa is being carpet bombed, students are being arrested and brutalized for demanding humanity and liberation for the Palestinian people and so this kind of brutalization never happens again to any group of people.
    • ๐Ÿค“ The Root ๐ŸŒฑ - My friend, Robin Divine, updates and released this online Resource for Palestine guide every day. She includes updates from journalists like Bisan and all of the actions you can take with your wallet, your voice, or your actions.
  • ๐Ÿ“ธ Blue Carbonโ€™s Climate Potential - Trees and forests are not the only place where we can tarp and store carbon. @theweirdandwild created a wee explainer for you to dive in the world of blue carbon! ๐Ÿชธ๐ŸŒŠ
    • ๐Ÿค“ The Root ๐ŸŒฑ - Making up 70% of the Earthโ€™s surface, our oceans hold so much potential to reverse the manmade climate crisis.
  • ๐Ÿ“š Whereโ€™d the Middle Class Go? - Californiaโ€™s middle class is shrinking, while both low and high earners are rising. According to a recent study, the state lost 7% of residents in this demographic between 2000 and 2019.
    • ๐Ÿค“ The Root ๐ŸŒฑ - A clear trend in the economy that many economists are shy to talk about is the widening wealth gap is also splitting our society in two: the really have and the really have nots! Economic indicators only show the full picture, which obscures the growing poverty and excess wealth in the U.S.
getting to the roots - navigating tech, media, and communications

Don't Plan Your Pride Strategy Last Minute ๐ŸŒˆ

Are you ready for Pride? ๐Ÿณ๏ธโ€๐ŸŒˆ โ€‹Don't wait until June to start planning. Join us on May 8th to prepare for your authentic Pride strategy. Topics we will cover in the 30-minute session include: 

  • โ€‹More than rainbows
  • More than strife
  • Planning ahead
  • Cultivating partnerships
  • Creating space for inclusion
  • Connect your organization's mission
  • Beyond Pride
๐ŸŒˆ Have Pride in Your Pride Strategy | Set Yourself Up Lunch & Learn ยท Zoom ยท Luma
Join us for our May lunch & learn! We will be discussing how to prepare your Pride Month communications strategy in an effective and heart-first way. What toโ€ฆ

let's grow together - reflections, ideas, and curiosities of the week

Exploring the archives and found some insightful predictions from my podcast conversation with Nadia Rahman in December. Her words ring even more true now since Biden's recent speech than back then. Find our latest videos on our ๐ŸŽฌ Quick Bites page.


Who heard President Biden's speech? The War on Gaza was a turning point. My chat with organizer,@nadiarahmansf is even more relevant today. Listen to the full pod on Spotify and Apple Podcast!#warongaza #uselection2024 #biden2024

โ™ฌ original sound - Sam @ Roots of Change - Sam @ Roots of Change

And that's a wrap on this weekโ€™s newsletter! We hope you found this helpful in your work. Forward this to a friend and help democratize communications! If you have any topics you want covered or have any questions, please reach out and let me know.

In Solidarity,
Sam Chavez
Roots of Change Founder

p.s. did I tell you it's my birthday? ๐Ÿฅณ If you love this newsletter, I appreciate any support to help keep funding our newsletter and podcast!

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Sam Chavez

Sam is a writer, strategist, and curious human. She founded the roots of change agency in 2020. Sam is a queer, white, LatinX activist whoโ€™s passionate about a livable planet & equitable societies.


Navigating heart-first activism & storytelling. We explore the ๐ŸŒฑ roots of our world to support communicators, organizations, and activists ๐Ÿฅต to avoid burnout and ๐Ÿ“š tell empathetic stories that cultivate connections that ๐ŸŒ empower โœŠ๐Ÿฝ social change.

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