Progressive Activism and The Progressive Era
The Progressive Era, a long-time honored movement throughout history is a period of widespread social activism and political reform across the United States that spanned from the 1890s to present day bringing together concerned citizens actively marching, creating rallies and setting initiatives to focus on problems caused by industrialization, urbanization, immigration, political corruption and social change This illustrious panel features highly regarded public figures who have actively been traveling around the country and physically showing up – speaking at rallies, marches, Standing Rock, on the front lines – to making a difference in the world supporting initiatives for social justice and change to enhance the quality of life for all.
The Progressive Activism Panel at the Conscious Life Expo
The Progressive Activism Panel at the 17th Conscious Life Expo will be held on February 23. Marianne Williamson, Frances Fisher, Jodie Evans, Jay Ponti, Del Bigtree, and Richard Greene will be speaking on a panel moderated by Christine Blosdale.
The four-day Conscious Life Expo (February 22-25) explores advancements in health and wellness, science, creative consciousness, and spirituality promoting a sustainable conscious lifestyle for the global community. Learn more at: consciouslifeexpo.com.
The Path of Taking Action
The panelists for the Progressive Activism Panel were asked the following questions.
What was the turning point in your life when you started to dedicate your energy to activism?
How have you integrated activism in your life?
What advice would you offer to other people who are looking for outlets to become more politically and socially involved at this crucial time in our lives?
Radio Host Christine Blosdale
Christine Blosdale is an award-winning radio host, motivational speaker, and consultant for authors, entertainers, and entrepreneurs. On her popular podcast show, Out of the Box with Christine, she is a seeker of the truth who embarks on a passionate journey with the listener. The ultimate goal is transformation to achieve our highest potential.
Christine Blosdale: Being an Activist Means Being Active
For me, immediately after 9/11, everything changed. I had been working as an entertainment writer attending press junkets and interviewing celebrities on the films about to be released. But then September 11th happened. And at that moment, I knew my life would be dedicated to asking the bigger questions in life. I knew that I would do all I could to make a difference.
Shortly after that infamous day, as fate would have it, I stumbled across KPFK 90.7 FM in Los Angeles. What was being expressed on air was definitely not what was being fed to us by the corporate media. Something deep inside me told me to go there and get involved. And that I did.
I began as a volunteer, then moved to part time, and eventually became the Senior Producer and AFTRA/SAG shop steward. Then in 2017, I was asked to be the interim General Manager for a year. Currently I am the Development Director. I continue to raise much needed funds (over $15 million and counting) for KPFK and Pacifica Radio so this fiercely independent media outlet can continue challenging the narrative and being the voice of the voiceless…the voice of the 99%.
My advice to anyone seeking a fulfilling existence is to get involved. Whether you are volunteering your time or donating your special skills, you never know where it will lead. Being an activist means being active. As long as you’re passionate about what you’re doing, and as long as you come from a place of positive intention in your heart, you can truly change the world for the better. And that is exactly what this world so desperately needs right now.
CODEPINK Co-Founder Jodie Evans
Jodie Evans has been a peace, environmental, women’s rights, and social justice activist for over 45 years. She is the co-founder of CODEPINK, an organization that works to stop US Military interventions overseas, promotes diplomatic solutions and Peace.
CODEPINK is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement that seeks positive social change through proactive, creative protest, and nonviolent direct action. Jodie served in the administration of Governor Jerry Brown and ran his presidential campaigns. She produced several documentary films, including the Oscar and Emmy-nominated The Most Dangerous Man in America. She sits on many boards, including 826LA, Rainforest Action Network, Institute for Policy Studies and Drug Policy Alliance.
CODEPINK Co-Founder Jodie Evans on Local Solutions
I don’t see it as a progressive era, we have regressed. We are more greedy, separate, individualist, capitalist, thoughtless about others, imperialist and not internationalist, racist pretending not to be, environmentalists without changing behavior.
I am a hippie, that was a movement that changed the world, much of the culture we live in today was seeded then. Organic farming and eating, the environmental movement, small is beautiful, whole earth, communes that break down individualism and a spirituality that was grounded in deep practice and self reflection. Poverty, racism, and militarism were the concerns, along with the planet.
My activism started in 1970. I was a maid making $1.87 an hour. We organized and marched for a living wage and won and maids still make a living wage there today. At the time, I was an anti-war activist, who fought for the right for 18-year-olds to vote since our friends were dying in war. And I worked on the McGovern campaign which was ending war and building the policies for equality.
I traveled the country testifying for the ERA. In 1975, I met Schumacher and understood the need for small is beautiful. I haven’t stopped on all those fronts and more in the past 45 years.
What I see is too much transaction and feel good words and not enough relationship with what is real locally as the truth is in the things we know and are related to.
It is why US government gets away with murder while we think we are good. It is why we accept Facebook and Amazon while our individuality is corrupted and sold to the highest bidder. This is why fascism is growing worldwide and no one seems worried enough to engage.
The problems are big and the solutions are local. We have set the wheel on a dark spin. The point of leverage is what you can put your hands on. What you can give to, care for, nourish, grow and be relational with, while nurturing your own resilience with joy and community.
The time is now. Imperialism is now corporations, banks, and runaway greed. We are in a climate change that doesn’t care about gender or race, but will affect those with the least first and 1.4 trillion dollars in weapons are sold each year, while most everyone with money in the market is making a killing on killing. Grow your local peace economy and divest from war. Onward to peace and justice.
Grassroots Organizer Jay Ponti
From Occupy Wall Street to Standing Rock, Jay Ponti is one of the nation’s leading grassroots organizers. He was the co-creator of the #BankExit campaign which ignited billions in fossil fuel divestments and masterminded direct actions with Jane Fonda, Susan Sarandon, and other luminaries, which received international media attention. He was a core organizer the global meditation synch of 12.21.12. Jay is an executive coach to many celebrities and life changers, a Senior Hamsacharya of Babaji’s Kriya Yoga and former aide-de-camp to Himalayan Master Yogiraj.
Jay Ponti: Be an Activist AND Work on Yourself
After being a casualty of the rock’ n’ roll world, I was introduced to Self Realization Fellowship by a mentor of mine named Bob Timmons. After reading Autobiography of a Yogi, I sought out a living Master of Kriya Yoga meditation. I began following Himalayan Master Yogiraj in 2007 and went to India to train under him. I travelled to India every year for months at a time to meditate with Yogiraj and other enlightened Masters, eventually becoming an acharya (teacher) of kriya meditation. Many of them spoke of the imminent danger humanity was in, the dire need for people to meditate and for our nations to transcend war, greed, and the destruction of the environment.
In 2010, I organized the Peacelink 11.11.11 event at Agape Spiritual Center with the intention of bringing people together for these aims. I became involved with Occupy Los Angeles helping to organize and teaching meditations. After the success of 11.11.11, Peacelink became a lead organizer of the global meditation synch on 12.21.12 and later a coalition organizer for UN Peaceday.
Occupy was a wake-up call for many of us. I realized that our politicians didn’t care that we wanted peace, so I directed my efforts towards working with policy makers like Representative Tim Ryan lobbying for peace and social justice initiatives. In 2016, the years of this work culminated with my involvement in the Bernie Sanders campaign and Standing Rock, which brought together some of the greatest activists in the country for these historic causes.
For me, self-care and meditation are essential to leading a balanced life. I do not negotiate with my daily Kriya Yoga meditation practice, no matter how busy my schedule. I always commit a few hours a day to practice, to rejuvenate the body, mind and soul.
There are so many ways for people to get involved. I suggest finding a cause or a candidate you care about and simply contacting the organization. They will be happy to have you. Ultimately I believe it is not enough to be an activist and it is not enough to simply work on yourself. If humanity is to save itself, we must create a new generation of enlightened activists committed to transforming themselves and the planet.
Del Bigtree was an Emmy Award-winning producer on The Doctors. As producer of the ground-breaking documentary Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe, Del began investigating the story of the CDC Whistleblower and the fraud perpetrated by the CDC, and realized that he had stumbled upon a story of corruption and deception. Del travels the nation, meeting with politicians and standing with parents in their fight to maintain freedom of choice. He is the host of HighWire Talk, a top-rated radio show seeking answers to the questions everyone else is afraid to ask. He is the founder and CEO of the Informed Consent Action Network (CAN).
Del Bigree: A Dedicated Life
There was no turning point in my life that lead me to activism unless you want to embrace the idea that it happened the moment I chose my biological parents. Although I would love to take credit for some epiphany that awakened a newfound courage, the truth is I am simply the product of conscious parenting.
My parents dedicated their lives to inspiring me to be the best representation of humanity that I could be. They taught me to meditate as a child so that I would be able to turn off the constant monologue of my ego, and listen to guidance from the divine. They had me study the teachings of many religions so that I could distinguish the truth that we all share from the ideologies that tear us apart. My parents made sure that I understood that my life was no more special than anyone else’s, but that I would have a greater understanding of the specialness of life than most.
As far back as I can remember, I knew that I was in this world to help with its evolution. This charge has manifested itself in multiple instances from the time I stood up to defend Bob, a tall and awkward kid in my third grade class who was being bullied, to the time I produced a debate on the CBS talk show, The Doctors, that allowed Jeffrey Smith, the GMO activist, to reveal to the world that Donna Farmer, the lead toxicologist from Monsanto, was lying when she said “Round Up doesn’t cause cancer.”
But I will admit that there was a difference between all of those inspired moments and the instant I recognized that all of my successes and all of my failures had been preparing me for the mission upon which I have now embarked. To stand up for the children of this world who are being injected with dangerous vaccines, manufactured by a pharmaceutical industry which puts money before humanity, and is protected from liability by government health agencies which refuse to conduct a proper safety study. I have never felt more guided, more protected, or more fulfilled by a life that will forever be dedicated to truth.
Richard Greene has worked as a Political Communication Advisor to Presidents, Prime Ministers, and members of Congress in 10 countries around the world. A former lawyer, Congressional Candidate, Richard writes frequently on politics for USA Today, The Huffington Post and The Hill. Richard has devoted much of the last two years to political activism. He has worked closely with “The March For Our Lives” students and Parkland parents to elect leaders who will pass gun safety laws, and showed up at political rallies to get out the vole in the Alabama, Pennsylvania and Arizona key elections. His goal is to re-define and simplify politics. His recent eBook, WTF are ‘The Midterms’? is available for free at www.WTFareTheMidterms.com.
Richard Greene and A New Vision for Politics
What inspires me is a new vision for politics . . . and a new way of doing politics. I believe that politics and political action is the quickest and most powerful way for large scale spiritual change and evolution.
Read about Richard Greene’s campaign: 279 for Change.
Marianne Williamson is an internationally-acclaimed lecturer, activist, and author of four #1 New York Times bestselling books. Seven of her twelve published books have been New York Times best sellers. A quote from the mega bestseller A Return to Love, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…” is considered an anthem for a contemporary generation of seekers. On Monday, January 28, 2019, at the Saban Theatre in Los Angeles, Marianne formally announced her campaign to run for President of the United States.
Frances Fisher is best known for her performance as Kate Winslet’s mother in Titanic, which garnered Fisher a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Best Ensemble Cast. She has appeared in over 40 films and TV shows. She also starred in ABC’s critically acclaimed series, Resurrection, and is currently shooting Damon Lindelof’s Watchmen for HBO. Ms. Fisher’s activism runs the gamut from supporting #FamiliesBelongTogether, PeaceOverViolence.org, Hollywood Food Guild, StandForTheSilent.org (end bullying), Environment California, Race to Erase MS (EraseMS.org) and SurvivorMitzvah.org (emergency aid to forgotten Holocaust survivors).
She is an executive board member of the Environmental Media Association (EMA), and is serving her 19th year on the National Board of SAG-AFTRA. Frances is an Ambassador for NWHM, working to create a National Women’s History Museum in Washington, DC. She was a surrogate for Bernie Sanders, spent time at Standing Rock where she learned of #MMIW (the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women – and the man-camps at every pipeline that breed sex-trafficking and sexual violence), spoke at the #MeToSurvivorsMarch LA in November 2017 and is a member of #TimesUp.
Dawna Shuman runs the boutique PR Agency, Lighthouse Public Relations, in Los Angeles specializing in eco-sustainable campaigns and socially cause-related projects that enhance and impact global awareness, merging socially conscious life changers and visionaries with social and mainstream media.