Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Difference makers tear down walls

On November 9 we witnessed celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall – a wall that separated, fortified, restricted, divided. Depending on your point of view, the Wall ‘protected citizens and safeguarded a frontier’ and it was a ‘symbol of the suppression of human rights’.

Other physical walls exist around the world, and they continue to be built or extended, serving similar purposes to the Berlin Wall. Some are hotly contested. These physical walls reflect powerful invisible walls, the ideological, economic and social barriers we build in our minds to divide, separate and restrict others.

Difference makers often achieve results by challenging invisible walls. I recently interviewed Colin Slater OAM, founder of Sing Australia and finalist for Australian of the Year. Colin deliberately made his choirs inclusive. He accepts everyone, regardless of their singing ability. To join some choirs you have to be able to read music, sing in tune and commit to turning up each week. These are walls, barriers, that prevent many people enjoying the pleasure of singing. Colin has analysed why people are reluctant to sing and built a suit of tools to get rid of people’s excuses (walls) for not singing. Allowing anyone in to his choirs does create challenges, but the value of inclusiveness is more important.

What invisible walls do you operate by that divide and restrict others?
What invisible walls are you challenging in order to make a difference?

No comments:

Post a Comment