In a recent TEDx talk, Simon Willis, European Managing Director of Change.org, challenges the belief that anger is inappropriate, misplaced and counterproductive.
He was inspired to talk about the subject after a dinner party where one member of the group suggested the 2011 London riots that spread across the UK was caused by young people listening to rap music.
As the conversation went on, it seemed everyone apart from Simon agreed. He 'couldn't take it anymore' and leapt to his feet addressing the table: ‘For the past decade or so it seems that every major institution has squandered our belief that they are there to serve all of us and not just the few.
‘Beloved institutions covering up decades of child abuse to protect their own good name.
‘A criminal justice system revealed to be protecting its own people rather than the most vulnerable people in society.
‘A press 80 per cent owned by just six billionaires at least one of whom is suspected of paying UK taxes in the last couple of years.
‘And one thing you did not read about in that press was the wide scale systematic fraudulent abuse by most of our large banks and financial institutions.
‘And you think music lyrics caused the riots?'
Well, this is what he wished he had said. Instead he remained silent. But you can watch what he would have said in his TEDx talk about how we are too often taught that getting angry is wrong, and how the motives of the people who tell us this are ‘deeply suspect’
He says: ‘The question is not whether or not we become angry when we see justice and unfairness the question is what we do with it. How do we put it to work and make it productive?’
Simon has one small answer - petitions.
He added: ‘A petition is just a starting point. It’s the moment you find your voice, reach out and make common cause with other people, and once you’ve found those people there’s nothing you cannot achieve’.
Watch him in action at TEDx Birmingham here.