I grew up in a household where social activism was part our daily lives. My mum was the President of the Voice of Women – a group focused at that time on bringing an end to the Vietnam War. I was in candle light vigils downtown and at potlucks for draft dodgers. We had ‘Ban the Bomb’ posters up in our house, letter campaigns managed from our dining room table, and my mother was sure the RCMP was reading our mail worried she was a communist.

It became a real issue when the Queen came to town on her Royal Yacht, and as Harbour Master my dad had certain official responsibilities. Somehow my mum was assumed to be a potential threat to the monarchy. It was very cool as a kid to watch and realize that our ‘small’ lives were actually having an impact on a much larger stage.

There’s having a social conscience, like only drinking fair trade coffee and signing online petitions, there’s charity, giving money and time to stem the symptoms of injustice, and then there’s actual social justice – giving real voice and action against the root causes of oppression, poverty, and violence.

I’ve done ok on the first two, but have pretty much missed the boat on the third. There’s an easy answer as to why. Social Justice is a pain in the ass. It’s hard, and it’s always at odds with the status quo. Standing up for what is right is often a lonely prospect – it sure doesn’t get one invited to too many cocktail parties.

I had discounted the Occupy Movement as misguided and fringe. I’ve changed my mind. Sure, it was messy, and the media highlighted its downside, but at the centre there was a large group of people willing to stand for something – to give a collective voice to the real issues of our day. The vast majority of occupiers were being the change they wanted to see in the world. And, in her day, I am sure my mum would have been arm and arm with them.