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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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