Phase 4: Act
What It Is
The Act phase is when the network engages the community in various campaigns/actions. These community organizing activities make the issues of domestic and sexual violence more public, catalyze deeper conversations, and begin to generate a shift in social norms. Each campaign/action engages different aspects of the community, creating opportunities for more people to explore stepping into new ways of being—new perspectives on their own life, new attitudes and behaviors, new confidence in what they can do to effect change. Altogether, a surge of activity takes the community deeper into creating a lasting culture of violence prevention.
Why It’s Important
It is through these campaigns/actions that the network shares its spirit of openness, intention, conversation, playfulness, and hope—a spirit needed for moving through the struggles of violence prevention and for grappling with resistance to change. After months of living the principles of this work and living their vision, the network shares not only their campaigns/actions with the public but also the sense of community that is possible. The way in which network members work together demonstrates how change begins in the present—and invites everyone to join that change.
How It Works
What’s Happening to the Network
In the Act phase, the network continues to grow organically—with more connections and stronger relationships—as the various campaigns/actions engage greater participation from the broader community. Rather than this phase becoming a culmination or end point, it becomes a time of expansion—spreading the spirit of the work, growing network membership, and creating a new foundation for cycling through the phases again.
During the Act phase, network members will likely encounter discouraging community resistance and indifference—such as people undermining youth leadership, booing an event, or no one even showing up. This is normal. If it didn’t happen, it would be weird. The challenge is in staying grounded in the long-term vision, while using these experiences as moments for learning. Prepare network members’ expectations in advance and then look at each instance when it occurs critically and objectively, asking yourselves, “Is there a creative solution that could prevent this from happening again? Or was this simply the realities of the work?” The network mindset is that of an ongoing journey—if something doesn’t work out, you learn from it deeply and move on. You can help network members stay in the journey by keeping a balance of lightness and respect throughout these experiences. Remind network members of what has already been achieved, that all is not lost, and that the Act phase is just one of many layers of impact.