I am a born activist, and love to “fight the system”. I grew up listening to Rage Against the Machine, toting a “Free Leonard Peltier” sign. However, I’ve learned that sometimes there’s a much more effective way to provide a solution to a problem.
I spent years lobbying for women’s rights, fighting governments for more action and accountability, and so on. Consequently, I garnered lots of high powered enemies and landed myself in jail more times than I can count. I did manage to pass some a pretty significant bill for the “criminalization of the solicitation of prostitution”, but passing a bill and actually enforcing the law are two very different things.
I thought, “Ok, if I’m doing this to protect and empower women, am I really achieving that through my actions?” The majority of what I was accomplishing was making myself a martyr, and the women actually became more of a target than they were previously. Not cool.
So, I created KEZA as a way to provide a way out of prostitution and legitimate income to women that would, as a result, never have to enter into prostitution as a way to survive. Better to be pro-active, as opposed to reactive anyway, right?
Now we our program provides these amazing women with lucrative careers and a path to dignity. And all of those high powered people that I would have been going toe to toe with are singing our praises and supporting our work instead of trying to haul me (and the women) into jail.
Sometimes fighting the system merely serves the people fighting the system, not the people that they’re trying to help, which sort of defeats the purpose. There’s often a better, more sustainable and impacting way to serve the people, but it typically requires more though.