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Organizers Gathering Boston-area January 18

We have found that organizers rarely speak to people outside our own circles or “silos” and therefore don’t develop the relationships that can nurture a broad movement for social justice. Rather than examine the things that divide us, let understand and learn from one another. SPEED MENTORING We will also have a time for organizers who want to mentor others and for organizers looking for mentors to connect. Sponsored by the National Organizers Alliance (see: www.noacentral.org) and an organizing committee (in formation). For more details click here.

Conference on Social Justice and the University
University of Tennessee

The Department of Sociology and the Center for the Study of Social Justice hosted a conference on Social Justice and the University, Friday, April 29 - Sunday, May 1, 2011 at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy on the University of Tennessee Campus, Knoxville. The Conference used the idea of social justice to explore the challenges universities face in meeting the economic, social, and global pressures of the 21st century. Keynote addresses given by Frances Fox Piven, one of the foremost political sociologists in the country (recently targeted by Glenn Beck), former director of the Highlander Center John Gaventa, and Erik Olin Wright, Vilas Distinguished Professor of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, President Elect of the American Sociological Association. Panels will include academic speakers and community members including NOA Director Walter Davis. For more details, click here.

Message from the NOA Executive Director

As the year begins, my role as Executive Director of the National Organizers Alliance ends. I will continue as chair of the board of directors and take on other tasks as needed. It has been an amazing four and a half years. Follow this link for message.

Malicious Attack Against CHEJ

Lois Marie Gibbs, Executive Director of the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ) informs us of malicious vandalism against CHEJ. On Wednesday evening (Dec. 28th) just before midnight someone entered the building that houses CHEJ's offices and cut the trunk line in the telephone system that serves their phones and internet. The end of year is a prime time for grassroots fundraising as well as spreading the word about campaigns. The timing and specific objective of the vandalism suggests intentional and targeted harm to a group fighting for environmental justice. Recent evidence of spying on CHEJ and Greenpeace by polluters demonstrates how serious a matter this is. Show you support and spread the word. Sabotage.

UPDATE: LAANE Turns the Tables Against Attacks

The link above updates the story of LAANE's push back against the attack we told you about in the summer. We stand with individuals and groups facing attacks for the good organizing work they do. LAANE is doing important work in California and deserves support. LAANE is facing a threat from political operatives working for privileged economic elites. Get the story of the good work of LAANE and how to pushback against the threat from the right. More.

NOA Supports Windcall Resident Program

The NOA Board is pleased to announce that it is transferring a property to the Windcall Resident Program. Windcall gives community organizers a respite from the daily grind to rest, refresh and restore. Our Tennessee property has served a similar purpose on a very limited level. Now this resource can be used as part of the overall assets benefiting organizers in all parts of the country. Since 1989, Windcall has  hundreds hosted of organizers with its unique opportunities for reflection and renewal. We salute its commitment to people of color, women and those who work in under resourced sectors. Read about it. Support Windcall and consider applying for a memorable experience.

Occupy Movement

It has been a year of constant struggle in almost every state legislature and in many local governments and school boards. Attacks on basic civil rights, hard won social benefits, collective bargaining of public employees and human rights protections have been too common. We have seen anti-immigrant, racist and anti-choice initiatives, as well as the assault on academic freedom on a growing number of campuses. For more, link.

Sustaining Organizing Report Released

At the 2010 US Social Forum, NOA and the DataCenter released Sustaining Organizing: A Survey of Organizations During the Economic Downturn, an analysis of a survey conducted with 203 organizations engaged in community organizing and movement building work. The study looks at the impact of the recession on our work and resources.

Download a Copy of Ark Magazine Issue 27

NOA's Ark Magazine continues to examine the state of the organizing movement. Issue 27 features viewpoints on the ACORN controversy, immigrant rights and the Obama administration, the fight for healthcare reform, developments in the labor movement and much more.  Download here.

Labor & Community Solidarity Actions Across the Country
This page is for information on means to show support to the workers and community groups of Wisconsin standing up to defend their jobs, public education, social services, and the future of democracy in their state. Their actions were echoed in many states including Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. Send solidarity information to info at noacentral.org and we will add.

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Whatever Happened to Community Organizing? Join the Discussion

The University of Wisconsin's valuable online resource center for
community organizing, Comm-Org, features this new paper submitted by long time organizer Ellen Ryan. Randy Stoecker, Comm-Org moderator writes, "At a time when we have witnessed the demise of ACORN, and the reality
shock of the health care fight, this paper (Whatever Happened to Community Organizing) asks whether we may have lost our way. Has community organizing become reduced to just political mobilizing? Are organizers building any strength that can withstand the opposition?"

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Organizer Arrested During Effort to Hold Health Care Provider Accountable

NOA member and Virginia Organizing Project (VOP) Director Joe Szakos was arrested recently after he and three of VOP’s board of directors visited Anthem, their health insurance company. VOP was bothered by the fact that their health insurance premiums rose 14.1% in June, without any additions to their health care services to justify it, and wanted some answers. On top of that, Anthem has been spending millions of dollars to lobby Congress against health care reform.

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NOA Gathering VI

From June 29-July 2, a diverse community of organizers came together for NOA's Gathering VI at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Maryland. Over 100 organizers came from all over the country, from different backgrounds and organizing traditions, in the NOA tradition of sharing and learning, strategizing and building community. 

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Struggle and Aid in Haiti

News of the massive earthquake in Haiti last month caught the attention of the world. Though many stories of struggle and relief have flooded media outlets, here are two more you may have yet to read...

NOA Member Horace Small with United Minority Neighborhoods (Jamaica Plain, MA) shares that their youth organizer Jenny Ulysee is currently stranded in Haiti.

NOA Member Ricardo Levins Morales is distributing a beautiful poster for Haiti solidarity through his art studio.

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Kamau Marcharia Smeared Again

NOA founding board member Kamau Marcharia has come under attack again. In April 2007, we updated you of the obstacles he has faced. His life story is one of dignity and integrity in the face of unprincipled attacks and a flawed legal system. Once again, we need to show our support of an ally who has so often lifted others.

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NOI's Journal of New Organizing

Last year the New Organizing Institute (NOI) kicked off the Journal of New Organizing, an online publication devoted to advancing effective organizing practices, leadership development and campaign innovation in the progressive community.


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10 Chairs: How Policy Distributes Wealth in the U.S.
The Right to the City network has developed an online training tool called 10 Chairs: How Policy Distributes Wealth in the U.S. Part 1 looks at robber barons, the great depression, and demand-side economic policy. Part 2 looks at Reaganomics, supply side policy, and the global pool of money.
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Fundraising for Justice: The House Party - Partying with An Agenda

NOA has received many requests for this house party kit written by the late Vicki Quatmann of the Southern Empowerment Project. Considering throwing a house party in your community anytime soon? Download Fundraising for Justice: The House Party - Partying with An Agenda and get the essential ingredients for a successful house party and more.

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“An Injury to One is An Injury to All” Takes on New Meaning

In recent months, there has been a growing chorus of attacks aimed against community organizers in all of public life. Community organizing groups, funders, unions and faith-based social change organizations are under attack. As part of NOA's commitment to building “a community of organizers,” we express solidarity with organizers who face attacks because of the work they do. We hold up a light on their situation.

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Defending Organizer Maria Gunnoe of West Virginia
We reported on the case of Maria Gunnoe, a community organizer in the mountains of West Virginia for the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC). In her work bringing people together to fight mountaintop removal, she and her family faced threats. Following the article below and others shining a light on the situation, Gunnoe and OVEC found new support to an organizer under attack: Dianne Bady, organizing director of OVEC, writes: "NOA's action alert led to a $5,000 grant from the Urgent Action Fund to help with security expenses for Maria." NOA was proud to provide support to this organizer.
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Fight Political Repression Facing Kamau Marcharia
Many of you have had the privilege of knowing and working with Kamau Marcharia over the years. Kamau, a founding member of NOA and long-time organizer in the South, is facing political repression from the South Carolina Police Department. NOA is asking for your support with his Action Fund. Let's show some NOA love for one of our brothers in the struggle.
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Western States Center's Uniting Communities Toolkit

The Uniting Communities project focuses on proactively bringing together the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) community and communities of color to address racial justice and LGBTQ equality. The Uniting Communities Toolkit comes with exercises to examine the obvious, and not so obvious, barriers that organizations need to clear to become inclusive of LGBTQ members. It also contains 10 case studies that highlight the successes groups across the country have had in breaking new paths towards inclusiveness and culturally specific engagement.

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Race and Recession: How Inequity Rigged the Economy and How to Change the Rules

The Applied Research Center (ARC) has announced the release of their new report, Race and Recession: How Inequity Rigged the Economy and How to Change the Rules. The report tells the stories of people of color who are disproportionately affected by the recession. It uncovers root causes of long-term racial inequities that fed into the economic crisis. It proposes structural solutions to change a system that threatens future generations.

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Build the Wheel - a New Online Resource for Organizers

Ever wish there was an easy way to find and share social justice curriculum and workshops with organizations across the country? Ever worked on a workshop that you know already existed at other organizations but you couldn’t find it? Ever wondered how you can share an exciting and new workshop you developed and help build the practice of political education. With buildthewheel.org, you can do just that!

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Organizing to Oppose Arizona's Anti-Immigrant Bill

In July, Arizona's anti-immigrant law SB 1070 goes into effect. NOA staff and steering committee believe the law is a multiple threat to people of color, to community organizing and to basic human rights. We stand with the endless number of progressive organizations and communities against this law.

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Organizers Respond to Palin & RNC Criticism of Organizers

Community Organizers and their allies across the country responded to the criticism of their work.  You can read statements and participate in discussions.         

See links to their community organizations.

-- write to NOA with other responses email info at noacentral.org
You can also show your support by Joining the National Organizers Alliance today.

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Steering Committee Meeting 1/09


The Steering Committee of NOA met in Baltimore, Maryland in January. Among its actions was to elect the officers for 2009-2010, honor long time and retiring members, and welcome a new member.

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PTP's Voter TechKit

The Progressive Technology Project (PTP) works to strengthen grassroots social change community organizing in poor communities and communities of color. They recently launched the Voter TechKit, a website for community organizers, technology support people and funders who are interested in learning more about how to increase and sustain civic participation.

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Insurance Benefits by Choice
Community organizers and the groups where they work are struggling to provide or maintain benefits. NOA has been looking for benefits that could help address these concerns. Though we are not able to provide members with a health insurance program or other insurance options, we wanted to share more information about someone who can. Benefits by Choice, a commercial service based in Virginia, is offering a web portal for NOA members where you can look for insurance options for individuals and where groups can discuss group plans.
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Expanded Job Bank Services - Organizers for America

Are you or someone you know:

  • Considering a career in social justice work for the first time? Wanting to make a difference in your community and build power to create change?
  • A veteran organizer looking to work in a different city or build different skills? Ready for a new challenge?
  • An organizational leader searching for talented, committed people to help advance your mission? Having a hard time finding the right candidate?
  • Ready to help build a powerful movement for social change?

Then come celebrate the important work of community and labor organizing! The National Organizers Alliance has recently launched Organizers for America, a new job fair website designed with you in mind.

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US Social Forum Reflections

“Another World is Possible: Another U.S. is Necessary” was the theme of the first U.S. Social Forum (USSF) in June held in Atlanta, Georgia. Thousands showed they were prepared to share, hear, and think about building community power. Sally Kohn of the Center for Community Change wrote that the Forum gave her a sense that a social justice movement is really possible “Like static electricity hanging pregnant in the air… an exciting potential for movement to spark.” We share here some early thoughts on those days in Atlanta.

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Survey Results
Read highlights from NOA's membership survey.
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Millions in Motion Remaking Globalization

TIGRA is organizing the economic power of those who send money (especially remittances) electronically. See article by Frances Calpotura.

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Gulf Coast Solidarity After Katrina
This is a clearinghouse to sites that have more detailed lists or are able to take donations directly for redistribution to community organizing groups and progressive service providers.
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