I have come to believe that every one of us is an activist, and that every action taken in the name of our interconnection—every action that brings us closer to ourselves, to each other, to the planet—births a better world.
I have come to see that there are over seven billion ways to change the world, and each is as lavish with possibility as are our imaginations. And this holy work needs not only courage and commitment, but also creativity,joy, spirit, and deep listening. Leading, we follow, say the Zapatistas; and Asking, we walk. We dream up new questions even as we answer the ones before us, and it is through listening to the whispers of our own spirits as well as the clamor of this heartbroken world that we create the change we wish to see.
In my speaking presentations, I explore the obstacles that are opportunities in disguise, how every one of us has a part to dream up and then play, and examples of strength, courage, beauty, and imagination from the Amazon to Havana to Delhi to Atlanta. I discuss the global justice movement—a “movement of movements” which in its organizing embodies the world it is striving to create. I explore the crucial connection between personal and social transformation—we live in times that demand both—and how the wisest response to our profound interconnection is a profound nonviolence. And I focus on the potential each one of us has to make significant change—how to follow our bliss on this path, and turn it into inspired and compelling action.
As much of my activism has been through song, and as change requires nothing if not participation (yay! we get to play!),I integrate both into my presentations.
I speak all over the country in multiple forums—often at universities, but also at NGOs, churches and synagogues, libraries, bookstores, and events (green festivals, writers’ conferences, spiritual/sacred activism events).
Marisa speaking on Loyal to the Sky
KPFA: Living Room with Kris Welch
New Dimensions Radio with Michael Toms
Air America: State of Belief with Reverend Welton Gaddy
Intrepid Liberal Journal with Robert Ellman
Have Fun, Do Good with Britt Bravo
KPFK: Uprising Radio with Sonali Kolhatkar
KPFA: Sunday Salon with Larry Bensky
“For any person who longs to see a better world and who questions whether his or her actions can make a difference in bringing this world about, Marisa is a must-see. Her stories of peace work in sites ranging from Ecuador to Nepal to Miami are riveting and tug at the soul. If you are seeking a life path filled with passion, social engagement, and meaning, Marisa may very well help you to find that path.”
Julie Oxenberg, Director, Tikkun Institute
“Out of her extraordinary personal experiences in the global justice movement, Marisa Handler brings wisdom, insight and humor to the issue of societal transformation through non-violent action. As a speaker and singer, Marisa engages and inspires her audiences with her unpretentious authenticity and her first hand stories that put a human face to the global dilemmas of our time.”
Patricia Pearce, Pastor, Tabernacle United Church, Philadelphia
“With lively humor and engaging personal stories, Marisa Handler offers audiences a rare look behind the scenes of activist organizing. What is it like to plan a protest for tens of thousands of people? How can the Knitters for Peace work with the Dot Commies? How do you negotiate with the police when they are blocking the route of your group? Through her own honest and humble reflection on her work for peace and justice, Marisa urges listeners to connect with their own deep yearning for a peaceful and just world and to dream up creative ways to move toward that vision. To hear Marisa Handler speak is to receive a powerful dose of inspiration.”
Nichola Torbett, National Organizer, Network of Spiritual Progressives
“Marisa Handler speaks and writes eloquently and with passion about movements for social justice here in the United States and around the world. She does so with an authority that his based both on her exceptional skills as a journalist and from her direct personal experiences living and traveling in these different communities. Ms. Handler’s stories are captivating not only because they are expressed with clarity and beauty but also because they speak to the essential challenges we face today in our society.“
“Ms Handler’s message is timely, vital, and optimistic.After reading her book, or hearing her speak, we are compelled to ask ourselves: what is it I want to be, and how shall I act in this world?”
Dr. David Hastings, Professor, Eckerd College