Thursday, September 04, 2008

WWJD-Be a Community Organizer

From Responsibilites of a Community Organizer
by Elana Wolowitz of Wellstone Action!

"Last week in Denver, Democrats highlighted the biography of their party's presidential nominee, Barack Obama, and the fact that he got his start as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago.

One interesting twist this election year has been the nation's exposure to community organizing as a job, and as something that might help prepare an individual to lead. It's not surprising that much of the country hadn't heard of community organizing before now. A good organizer is always in the back of the room, or better yet, outside collecting sign-in sheets.

However, last night here in our great hometown of St. Paul, Republicans gathered for their turn to make their case to voters. And Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin, along with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, openly mocked and derided the job of community organizing."

She goes on to defend the professional field to which Wellstone Action trains people to devote their lives.


"Being an organizer means putting the needs of the community above yourself and your ego. Your task is to influence the powerful with little more than the common will, and do so while developing the leadership of those around you. A good organizer is always working to put themselves out of a job, because many others should be prepared to step up and take their place. You listen and learn, coordinate and plan, arrive early and stay late, and do the real work that improves people's lives.

It's easy to laugh at something unfamiliar, or mock something you don't understand. But community organizers have been the ones that moved our country forward during times of crisis and great change. They are ordinary people working to improve their communities - that doesn't sound very elitist, does it?"