Hope you still care to listen to me blather on because I’m gonna do it anyway!
My first real week of work has come and gone, and now I can tell you clearly and concisely what a ‘community organizer’ does. My staff meeting this morning consisted of taking a quiz on “Things white people like” and seeing which one of us is the ‘whitest’. Mind you our staff is currently composed of 5 people: Me, my director Jose (Mexicano), Jeremy (the office manager—old white guy who I called my BFF, but he refused me), Hannah, head organizer ( white woman — really nice, teaching me to drive in her new Prius…like I said REALLY NICE), Laura second newest organizer (white woman-red head, nice, quirky). The reason I mention everyone’s race is because you’ll realize that most of them are white…but do you know who got first and second place on the ‘things white people like’ test? You guessed it; Me first, Jose second. Nailed it. Least white? Jeremy…the old white guy.
But our job is not this lax all the time. Yes, they’ve taken me out to dinner 3 times this week, and yes we tend to start at 10am, but that’s because our days consist of having ‘power one to ones’ with senators, councilmen, and congressmen as well as regular one to ones with clergymen and community leaders and it doesn’t end until about 8 or 9pm.
Organizing in a nutshell:
1) Start with a Local Organizing Committee meeting (just to see who attends). Remember these are faith based organizations so these meetings are usually held in a church.
2) call everyone who came (whether it be 5 or 45 people) see who can set up one to ones. Hopefully a pastor a bishop attends so that you can work with them as well. One to ones are really just conversations. Get to know these people, whether it’s a pastor or a single working mother. (‘Power’ one to ones are more to the point- that’s more about asking these governmental reps the right questions).
3) Hold another meeting and see who comes to that one. Through these various meetings you get to see who your ‘leaders’ are and you invite them to go to your monthly Local Organizing Committee meetings. This small group of leaders tells you, the organizer, the preoccupations of community members. Whether it’s unfair towing policy, immigration, or education…whatever.
That’s when you start to meet with policy makers and soon you start bringing your leaders to these meetings and connecting the dots.
so far I’ve been doing ‘ride alongs’ and just watching other organizers do their thang. It’s awesome.
Ok. So that’s my job. Connecting people with policy makers…I guess I could’ve just said that one sentence. Instead of all that nonsense before this. Well…I’m not sorry for wasting your time 🙂 now you know!
I love you and miss you all!!!
Here’s a picture of me right now