First door-to-door, now e-mail-to-email, will community organizing have the same power in a virtual community? How will we organize for change in the 21st Century?
How has mobilizing the public changed in the world of Web2.0 from the days of the Highlander Center’s multiracial labor and Civil Rights organizing? Does Internet based organizing mean less or more ‘Bowling Alone’? Why is community organizer Saul Alinsky’s ‘Rule for Radicals’ a favorite book of the ‘Right’?
Heather Cronk is the Chief Operating Officer at the New Organizing Institute, overseeing NOI’s growing operations and planning strategically for NOI’s programs. The New Organizing Institute trains progressive nonprofits and political campaigns on new tools and strategies for organizing, emphasizing the areas of field and leadership, data and technology, and new media. Prior to her work at NOI, Heather worked with PledgeBank, a project of mySociety, reaching out to organizations and individuals across the country to encourage the use of PledgeBank and other web-based tools for local community organizing and citizen-centered collective action.
Mary Kay Harris is the Lead Organizer for the Providence organization Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE), and by extension a player in the national social justice alliance Right to the City. For over ten years, Harris has worked within coalitions of activists and community members, for greater police accountability in Providence. Together they have seen such victories as the passage of the nation’s 7th Driving While Black Bill. Her training in outreach, strategy and leadership development, allowed for the creation of PERA, or Providence External Review Authority, an autonomous body for investigations on potential police misconduct incidents. Recently, Harris was honored as one of the two recipients of the National Organizers Alliance 2008-2009 Organizer Respite Award.
Pam McMichael is the director of the Highlander Research and Education Center and a national fellow with the Rockefeller Foundation leadership project. A social justice activist in her native community, Louisville, Kentucky, she is also the co-founder and eight-year co-director of SONG, Southerners on New Ground.
Nicholas V. Longo, Ph.D. is the Assistant Professor of Public and Community Service Studies and Director of the Global Studies Program at Providence College. He is the author of the book Why Community Matters: Connecting Education with Civic Life and a host of other scholarly articles on service learning and civic engagement.
The Democratic Promise: Saul Alinsky and His Legacy
This relevant documentary was aired on RIPBS as part of Action Speaks’ programming during the Fall 2009 recording season.