Moving From Despair To Hope In Threshold Times: Part 2 with Paul Rogat Loeb

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Sometimes our activity for positive change in the world makes a visible leap and other times the impact of our work takes a seemingly long time to show any results. As Loeb points out, “You draw hope from the knowledge that whatever it is that you do, something unexpected is going to happen and it often happens at the periphery of your vision.” He encourages us to stay in the game by sharing many inspiring stories of innovation and courage and to keep doing what is right and good for us to do without being overly attached to the outcome. He points out that there is a value in living with ambiguity and partial victories. He admonishes us to avoid isolation, which is a killer of our spirit to persevere. A grassroots movement often unfolds when unlikely people get together and are joined by someone with a recognizable name. But its foundation is not built on hierarchy and that is what makes it so powerful. (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Paul Rogat Loeb has spent over forty years researching and writing about citizen responsibility and empowerment. He has been a guest lecturer at many colleges and universities including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and MIT. And, he has been a keynote speaker at a myriad of conferences. He blogs regularly for the Huffington Post and is the founder of the national nonpartisan Campus Election Engagement Project which worked with 750 colleges and universities in 2012 to engage students in the presidential election. This organization continues to help engage students in state and local elections.

Paul Rogat Loeb’s books include:

To learn more about the work of Paul Rogat Loeb go to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • How social and political changes will often not be linear or predictable
  • How social change is seemingly slow and suddenly some spark ignites and it takes a leap
  • How small acts can add up to great social movements like the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia
  • How working for change is two-fold, you are trying to stop something while building something new
  • Why we need to be open to outcome and not dependent on certainty
  • How the women of Zambia fomented political change with their Cha-cha-cha dance
  • What Jesus really meant by “turning the other cheek”

Host: Justine Willis Toms          Interview Date: 6/12/2014          Program Number: 3512

Music Playlist

From Album: Origins
Artist: Radhika Miller, David Darling, W.A. Mathieu
1989 Radhika Miller Music #RMM 1108

Opening Essay: Track 03 Net of Gems
Music Break 1: Track 03 Net of Gems (reprise)
Music Break 2: Track 01 Origins
Music Break 3: Track 02 Shepherd's Joy