When people feel disconnected and that their concerns are going unaddressed, history shows they can be a prime target for an organizing campaign. But that only works if they want to be organized and begin to take steps to right an injustice they are confronting.
A CNS report on community organizing looks at one campaign to address predatory lending in Cleveland in portraying how a campaign works.
Campaigns to right a wrong are won at the grass-roots level. It takes commitment and dedication and local leadership, as any community organizer knows. Organizers such as Sarah Nolan of the San Francisco Organizing Project and Jenelle Dame of the East Side Organizing Project in Cleveland know it’s not their job to push an agenda forward. An organizer’s job is to help train leaders in the community. It’s up to those leaders to work with their neighbors, who already know very well what wrong they want to correct.
Organizing campaigns can take place just about anywhere even though most efforts take place in low- and moderate-income communities. Face it, it’s those communities who have the most grievances with society.
Catholic San Francisco reports on one such campaign involving support for Proposition 8 to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Not every campaign will be successful. Victories, as community groups like to call them, come only when members welcome and accept a common goal and work in unison to achieve it. Campaigns are just as dependent on a well-developed strategy — at times developed to garner attention or even embarass their target. At the same time, plans must be flexible enough to change when roadblocks appear or new facts are learned.
But the key to any campaign revolves around numbers. With numbers comes power. With power comes influence. And with influence comes success.