If you had a magic wand, how would you use it?
While this may seem like a silly question, it can help you articulate how you want to change the world. And that clear vision becomes a way to ground your communications in the “why” of your work. It also can point you toward concrete steps and help you figure out who you need to engage to make the change you want. The magic wand question is a quick and easy way to start this conversation and generate some powerful words about your purpose.
Here’s what a few of our collaborators had to say when we asked this question. And of course, we realize that real change takes hard work, so we also share examples of where we already see that magic in action.
“I would wish for all people to be treated with dignity,” says collaborator Ryan Schwartz, “and Congregation Shaar Zahav exemplified that really well. They started as a synagogue that had historical roots as a gay and lesbian congregation in San Francisco who have now expanded to be a place where all people can find a spiritual home that helps them see the light in them and all the people around them.”
“One thing I would do with my magic wand is protect our planet for future generations by creating the political will to address climate change,” says Isobel White. “A great example of this is the Environmental Literacy Steering Committee who is building support for environmental literacy as a key component of K-12 education in California. This means environmentally literate young people will be prepared to address critical environmental challenges like water and air pollution, increased fire risk, and rising sea levels so that they and future generations can thrive.”
“My magic wand would make everyone kind: kind to each other, kind to themselves, and kind to the natural world around us,” says Renée Alexander. “It would also help ensure that organizations large and small that are doing great work are recognized and supported so that they — and the people, places, and causes they help — can reach their full potential. Lipman Family Prize is a great example of this, as they connect those on the cusp of great change with resources, skills and people-power to expand the impact and influence of their ideas.”
“If I had a magic wand, I would fund visionary change makers to do more blue-sky thinking and follow their hunches for solving big problems, like the Durfee Foundation does with their Stanton Fellowship,” says Anna Ghosh. “My wand would also uproot systemic injustices that block too many marginalized people from living lives of dignity and self-determination, which is what the Weingart Foundation is doing as they challenge their peers in philanthropy to put their money and actions where their mouths are.”
In her work with Echoing Ida, collaborator Alicia M. Walters elevated the voices of Black women in the media, who are often spoken for but rarely get to tell their own stories. This is part of a broader theory of change for racial justice that she would use her magic wand for: “I would make everyone love Black people, starting with ourselves. And in doing so, everyone would love the parts of themselves that they wished would remain in the shadows,” says Alicia. “By loving Black people, everyone would embrace their sexuality, creative power, their connection to all that is. In loving Black PEOPLE, we would love and be loved for more than what we create, our art, our hair, our style… people wouldn’t be threatened by us, nor would we be afraid to be our varied selves, but we would love and be loved deep down. And then… freedom.”
So… ready to wave your magic wand?
Amanda Cooper wishes she had a magic want to grant these wishes and so many more.