When we tell our friends about NOW, a common reaction we get is this: “Well, your project sounds great. But why glitter and unicorns? After all, what should this mystical creature from fairy tales, beloved by small girls, daydreamers and fantasy nerds alike, have to do with a hands-on educational program on diversity, global issues, and social change? Well, let me tell you a secret: If you look closer at our particular unicorn you find out something shocking: THIS IS NOT A UNICORN.
We’re sure you’re getting the hint: Treachery of Images is probably the most famous painting by French surrealist painter René Magritte. For those of you who don’t quite remember: the canvas simply depicts a pipe and a description stating “this is not a pipe”. What Margitte meant is that the painting itself isn’t actually a pipe; it’s a representation of a pipe, his own personal vision of it.
In the same manner, our unicorn is not a unicorn – it’s a signifier, an icon for everything that NOW stands for. It represents a myriad of things for every member of the NOW community: uniqueness, strength, purity, vision, dreaming big. It also reflects is our core value of boldness. It stands for believing in something that might seem, like the unicorn, to be a vision from a fairy tale: that change is possible, and that we can build a better world together.
Most importantly, since we know that NOW is aiming to tackle real, and often overwhelming issues, our unicorn is a way of keeping the fun and love in our team and in our community. Gloria Steinem, an American feminist and spokeswoman for the Feminist Movement in the late 1960s and the beginning of 1970s, said that in order to keep yourself from burning out, you need to remind yourself that what you’re trying to do is a life time project, and to pace yourself accordingly. And you need to understand the means and the end: “If you have a movement that is running, running, running, you’ll get an end that is running, running, running. If you have a movement that has time for jokes and poetry and love, you’ll have that in the end. So you have to build it along the way. You can’t kill people to save the village.”
Our team is very proud to build the NOW movement in a similar way: slowly but steadily, with much love for everyone involved – and with enough space for laughter and fairy tales along the way. Even though we’re not only tackling one, but rather the entire spectrum of problems in the world, we don’t want to do it without keeping a spirit of joy and fun through our glitter and unicorns. Like this we are sure, we are still going to be inspiring young changemakers a couple of years down the way – and be inspired by them.
P.s. you understand the unicorns now but wonder about the glitter? Think of it as the pixie dust to our unicorns <3
Written together with Zlatka Niznanska