Bear Down.

Creating lasting change isn't easy, but it is possible. You just need to stand your ground and know you can achieve your goals. It’s just a matter of time.


It was about a year and a half into my effort to raise $250,000 to build Brutus and Ursula a new home when a front-page article came out in the Sacramento Bee. It read “Young Activist Bears Down on a Solution”  The media loved using bear puns, but this was the first one I actually liked.

Bear down means to stand your ground and maintain your position. Two simple words that perfectly describe what it takes to be an effective change maker.

Plus a bears temperament is one that should inspire our work as activists. Bears are peaceful, sensitive, attentive, empathetic and altruistic. But they also have big teeth, loud growls, and huge claws and will use them if necessary.

Over the years I have learned that if you bear down and you stay focused on your mission, you are bound to succeed. It’s just a matter of time. It took me three years to raise $250,000 to relocate Brutus and Ursula and it took thirty years of campaigning to shut the Ringling Brother Circus down. Both were huge victories for animals that required persistence, clarity for mission and resilience over time.

Justin Barker