Community Organizing

Alone, you can fight,
you can refuse, you can
take what revenge you can
but they roll over you.molly37weeks 071

But two people fighting
back to back can cut through
a mob, a snake-dancing file
can break a cordon, an army
can meet an army.

Two people can keep each other
sane, can give support, conviction,
love, massage, hope, sex.
Three people are a delegation,
a committee, a wedge. With four
you can play bridge and start
an organization. With six
you can rent a whole house,
eat pie for dinner with no
seconds, and hold a fund raising party.

A dozen make a demonstration.
A hundred fill a hall.
A thousand have solidarity and your own newsletter;
ten thousand, power and your own paper;
a hundred thousand, your own media;
ten million, your own country.

It goes on one at a time,
it starts when you care
to act, it starts when you do
it again after they said no,
it starts when you say We
and know who you mean, and each
day you mean one more.

–Marge Piercy (in Life Prayers, p. 143)

I’m teaching community organizing again this session and the above is a poem I saved to share with my class when we talk about community organizing, creating change, and mobilizing power. I love it, because it starts small, which is where we all have to start. And, of course, it makes me think of birth change efforts as well. In a previous post about creating birth change, I used my community organizing class to explain the difference between education and action…

Additionally, with regard to education as a strategy for change, I’m brought back to a point I raise in my community organizing class: People often suggest “education” as a change strategy with the assumption that education is all that is needed. But, truly, do we want people to know more or do we want them to act differently? There is a LOT of education available to women about birth choices and healthy birth options. What we really want is not actually more education, we want them to act, or to choose, differently. Education in and of itself is not sufficient, it must be complemented by other methods that motivate people to act. As the textbook I use in class states, “a simple lack of information is rarely the major stumbling block.” You have to show them why it matters and the steps they can take to get there…

via Women and Knowing

One thought on “Community Organizing

  1. Pingback: Wednesday Tidbits: Activism! | Talk Birth

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