Atlas was launched on July 18th, 2021, and counts over 20,000 registered supporters, literally all over the planet.
But that’s not when it all started 💬.
In the summer of 2019, Andrea Venzon and Colombe Cahen-Salvador were captured in discussions around the world's hottest topics: the catastrophic effects of climate change, the uprising of citizens demanding democracy and the related repressions, or simply the injustices that minorities keep on facing around the world. They were trying to think about how to solve those issues and realized that many of the most worrying threats of our times are by nature supranational, and hence no actor is currently capable of properly dealing with them: intergovernmental organizations do not have the power nor legitimacy, and national governments and leaders are constrained by borders and electoral calendars.
As a result, they decided to act, by founding NOW!, the global movement pushing for humanity to work as One, to solve the biggest challenges of our time. On January 1st 2020, NOW! was launched. Within the first year, we ran 5 global campaigns to promote democracy worldwide, propose drastic actions to curb the climate crisis, advocate for a higher representation of women in political power, and push for a fairer distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, among other topics.
Members from all continents hit the streets to raise awareness, organize protests and stunt actions or collect signatures. Together, we created a global community that achieved early successes: from forming coalitions of politicians pushing for parity and others helping us create a League of Democracies, to securing the support of the Director-General of the WHO to ensure that health workers across the world would get priority access to COVID-19 vaccines, or organizing protests to support democracy struggles in more than 40 cities on the ground and reaching 4 million people digitally. You can read more about this here.
NOW!'s founders always had a theory: politics should be global. On the one-year anniversary of the pandemic in March 2021, they took a leap of faith and launched the Forward campaign to challenge the UN Secretary-General selection process and prove that global politics is the future: to achieve change, we cannot just ask those in power to do better. We have to hold them accountable while bringing some like-minded people into power. Through the Forward campaign, thousands of people joined the effort for building a global political movement: volunteers and supporters from all over the planet participate in an internal primary resulting in the election of a former Head of State as the Forward candidate for the United Nations. The candidacy reached the highest levels of the United Nations. You can read more about it here.
Once Forward was up and running, the assumption that people could be mobilized on global politics was confirmed. The NOW! & Forward Founders thus decided to merge the two movements to increase the chances to create a more united and hopeful future. While continuing NOW!'s work to push for global change through activism, Atlas now also participates in elections all over the planet - either by endorsing candidates from other parties, filing them, or as a standalone political actor. In addition, Atlas’ community conducts direct actions to improve the world and their communities.
These streams of work are pivotal to foster the expansion of the community of members, the real engine of this movement. Atlas enjoys powerful synergies between social and political activities: successful advocacy campaigns can lead to great electoral results, and a good result in an election can unlock the popular support needed to impact change on social issues.
Atlas was thus launched on Nelson Mandela day: July 18th, 2021.
Our story is short, as this is only the dawn of this new movement. For the upcoming year, we will focus on building a strong community, continuing our campaigns on democracy while stepping up our work on health. We will support Atlas communities all across the world to change societies and prepare for the first global assembly of the movement.
This book remains to be written. Join us to write the next chapter! Sitting back and waiting for others to take action is no longer an option. We have a duty to stand for one another. We have the power to shape this world for the better. We have to unite.