Imagination: A Tool for Advocacy

Visualizing the World We Want

Sam Chavez
Sam Chavez

Table of Contents

In Case You Missed It: Imagination: a Multitool for Healing, Growth, & Change

Picture this.

You wake up with a sore throat. You get on a video call with your doctor who prescribes you medicine that you can pick up on your way to work. It costs nothing. You go to your job on the bus that picks you up at the end of your block. Itโ€™s on time and run by solar energy.

At work, you have a meeting with your boss where they tell you that your work has helped the company grow and those profits are going right back into workersโ€™ hands thanks to your hard work.

When you get off work at 1 pm, you call up your friend who lives in the neighborhood for a walk in the park. Afterward, you take one of the cityโ€™s eBikes to pick up your kids from the community daycare thatโ€™s also funded by your local government.

You walk home passing a neighborhood potluck full of neighbors whoโ€™ve brought dishes from their families and cultures to make a cornucopia for anyone to eat. You tuck your kids in for bed and lay with your partner catching up on the day in your fully paid-for home.

Sounds like a fantasy right?

It is, but it doesnโ€™t have to be.

What I described was a society that has free universal healthcare, expanded public transportation run by green energy, a good paying job that supports workers, not stockholders, a condensed work week, a city-funded bike network, universal daycare, a multiracial neighborhood, and affordable housing.

Paris became a cycling success storyโ€”and built a roadmap for other cities -  Curbed

While all of this may seem farfetched in the modern-day United States, each of the aspects I described are real things that other societies have.

  • All but 43 countries in the world have free or universal healthcare. The United States, of course, is the largest without it and the one that spends the most per capita with some of the worst health outcomes.
  • The Modragon Corporation is a โ‚ฌ12.110 billion corporation in the Bosque region of Spain that operates as a worker cooperative where revenue goes back to workers and pay is regulated so executive pay isnโ€™t overinflated compared to the on-the-ground workers.
  • A recent pilot in Ireland of a 4-day work week with no reduction in pay was a huge success! Productivity was great and employees had more leisure time.
  • There are plenty of cities with amazing public transportation like Singapore, Paris, London, and Hong Kong where cars are barely needed.
  • Paris is a prime example that if you build it, they will come. The city is projected to be mostly car-free in 4 years due to the expansion of protected cycleways and city bike share programs.
  • The United States is one of the few Western countries that does not offer universal/affordable childcare. Oh, and it can easily be done while still paying care workers well.
  • The U.S. might be in a housing crisis, but there are plenty of countries where housing is seen as a human right.

So when you look at it that way, that story isnโ€™t that far-fetched at all! Itโ€™s just a question of where a society chooses to prioritize and invest. The U.S. spends $1.64 trillion on its military or 25% of its GDP. San Francisco is struggling to afford bus drivers and has a large population without housing, but spends $13.95 billion on its police.

Visualizing the World We Want

I use these examples because many of the priorities that we hold sound so unachievable when considering the gridlock that is the U.S. Senate, but they are totally doable.

And thatโ€™s why imagination is so crucial for a movement.

Storytelling and imagination allow us to see the world as it can be, instead of resigning ourselves to the present moment.

There are many people in the country who do not think any of this is possible. The constant cynicism that the right and mainstream push can be overwhelming.

For our movements to grow, we need to show people a way forward, a better alternative.

A true multi-racial democracy where the planet and people are prioritized has never been done before. We are working towards a future that hasnโ€™t yet happened, which means we need to help everyone imagine a better world. Imagination helps us both to heal and live in a White-Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy society and to move closer to a world without those harms.

Joy is Central to Mass Movements

Iโ€™m always struck by Stacey Abramโ€™s advice on storytelling.

We know how MAGA recruits people to its movementโ€ฆthrough fear and rage. Itโ€™s what they have. Their policies are reactionary and ask us to go back to a past where the few dominate the many.

But progressives have a bold and positive vision for the future. We can lean into that. We donโ€™t need to be shy about what we believe in.

And it doesnโ€™t start with political leaders. It starts with us. By sharing our visions, we can help others see a path toward achieving them. We can bring more people along into a joyful movement of hope. As we build power through imagination, we can reach the tipping point where political leaders must listen. Itโ€™s been done before and we can do it again.

What story of our future will you tell?

Next Up

Why I Dream | Imagination for Resilience & Expansion
๐Ÿค“ Bite-Sized Knurd: Science fiction has the capacity to expose the ills or contradictions of society while giving marginalized groups a space to breathe. Read on for moreโ€ฆ
๐Ÿ—ผ๐Ÿ—ž: Newsletter

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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