Gracen Johnson was one of the inaugural winners of The Next 36 for co-founding mobile startup Tradyo. But she has also been a creative advocate for youth voting through VoteMob and led Fill the Hill which was one of the largest national climate mobilizations on Canadian soil.
Youth advocates in years past wouldn’t have had such an opportunity normally unless they were someone of notable status. Gracen has been able to use social media and the Internet to her advantage like countless of other Millenials to get ahead. VoteMob would go on to make national news, and spread to many different schools.
Gracen said at TEDxGuelphU that her generation has so many improvements to make and hopes that people can confront them together just as she has led movements of her own in a positive, unique and powerful way while inspiring thousands of others to make change in order to meet the challenges of today’s world. She offered a few of Saul Alinksy’s Rules for Radicals for realistic change which can help you build communities.
1. Never go outside the experience of your people, but go outside the experience of an opponent while making them live up to their own book of rules.
2. Ridicule is your most potent tactic- its hard to counter and the opposition often reacts to your advantage.
3. If people aren’t having a ball doing it there is something very wrong with your tactic.
Alinsky was actually the subject of Hilary Clinton’s 1969 thesis, but Gracen Johnson also opened her talk with a Barbara Kingsolver quote: “The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope.”
Gracen has moved on from Tradyo according to her former teammate and is now investigating suburban redesign according to her Twitter profile- a worthy cause as people spend hours a day commuting from the suburbs to major cities, especially in Toronto which was recently named the worst commuting city in North America in terms of time spent.
She’s moved on from Tradyo which is now doing great work in California but I have a feeling it won’t be the last time we hear from Gracen Johnson.