CIVICUS launches “Global Day of Citizen Action” initiative

be the change

As part of a global campaign to raise awareness about civic space and threats to freedom of expression, association and assembly, CIVICUS will be coordinating a ‘Global Day of Citizen Action’.

As you may know, in many countries around the world civic space has been threatened. These threats have come in many forms including: legislation that has placed restrictions on the freedom of assembly, freedom of association, and freedom of expression; the surveillance of civil society and activists; and restricting the formation and funding of civil society groups through increasingly complicated registration processes.

The plan is to have a series of events around the world on the same day: 7 June 2014. Organisations who participate will gather in a well-known public space within their town or city where there they will be able to maximise their exposure to passers-by.

With the materials provided, organisations will prompt individuals on the street asking them one simple question, “Are you free to: speak out / organize / take action?” Individuals will be asked to put their answer on a board and the organizers will then take a photo of the individual holding the board. The photo will be uploaded online and shared through Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #BeTheChange.

Individuals will be offered a flyer that explains their right to speak out, organise and take action, and how government legislation in many countries is limiting these rights. Only by raising awareness about these rights and their importance can we assure that they remain protected.

The Global Day of Citizen Action is important in all countries, not just ones that are affected by restrictive government legislation. We hope that in countries where people are able to exercise their freedom of expression, association and assembly the Global Day of Citizen Action will be a day of celebration.

The rationale for this action is that it is simple and directly engages with individuals around the issue of civic space and civic freedoms. All material will be translated and the idea is easily replicable, which will allow us to raise awareness about the issue with members of the public in many countries around the world.

Other potential activities are optional but could include inviting a public speaker to the event to speak about civil society, civic space or the importance of citizen action; a march or demonstration; a petition (both online and offline); or the screening of a film about citizen action.

HOW PARTICIPATION BENEFITS YOU

  • It provides you with the opportunity to participate in a global event that raises awareness about freedom of expression, association and assembly.
  • Your organisation will receive recognition through media coverage as well as through social media and campaign promotion.
  • It will help to inspire and celebrate citizen action and raise awareness about the importance of civic space – the ability of organizations and individuals to organise, speak out and take action.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • Email CIVICUS at [email protected] and let them know that you are interested in participating in the Global Day of Citizen Action. In the following weeks they will email you and provide you with details on how to register an event, download our toolkit and access resources that can be used on June 7th.
  • Log on to our online platform www.youcanbethechange.com, share your story and read about other campaigns around the world! There may also be some ideas for how you can participate in the Global Day of Citizen Action!

Should you have any questions or require further information before making your decision, please feel free to contact CIVICUS at [email protected]