Three Questions With Activist & Voices 4 Founder Adam Eli Werner
As the founder of the direct action activist group Voices 4, Adam Eli Werner has made queer anger palpable in the age of Trump. Now, with a cover story on gun reform in Dazed & Confused and an ever-expanding social media reach (Barbra Streisand is a fan), Werner is proving that every platform is a megaphone — and that the world is listening. This interview originally appeared in Cakeboy AW17.
How did you get your start as an activist?
After the Orlando Pulse Massacre I was beside myself; I coped with my emotions by posting [on social media]. In response, people reached out to me and asked, what should we do now? I didn’t know what to say. So, I posted on Instagram, meet me on 6th Ave and 11th Street and we can all go to the Memorial Rally together. About 30 people showed up, some I knew but most I didn’t.
That was the first time I used social media to create tangible offline action. A few days later I went to the first Gays Against Guns meeting and volunteered to help with their social media.
How do you turn social media engagement into civic engagement? What's the turning point for most people—what finally gets them off their asses?
I firmly believe that people care and want to show up, they just don’t always know how to. I don’t waste my time trying to “activate” or persuade people, rather I seek to create easily accessible and meaningful ways for them to take action and contribute. Then I use social media to publicize those opportunities. Everything I do online is meant to generate action or hope offline.
What are easy ways someone can get involved if they don't live in a major metropolitan area?
A small, well-researched and pointed action can have a stronger impact than a huge demonstration in the city. There was a huge amount of successful local protesting during Congress’s April recess.
Find out your where your local elected officials stand on every issue; if there is something you disagree with, protest or attend a city hall and speak up. Big fish can make a lot of noise in small ponds.—