Thursday, September 11, 2008

I'm a Community Organizer

psst, pass it on!

One of the most disturbing things I saw last week at the Republican National Convention was the open ridicule of community organizers. It shocked even me, already having a low opinion of the politicians in that party, to see the derision aimed at those who work in their communities to make the world a better place. I had assumed community organizers were a shared value of the big cities and the small towns, whose values they claim to be solely theirs, I had assumed that we all held in reverence the idea that grassroots organization and working together was what made our country and democracy possible and great.

I guess I was wrong. Giuliani and Palin made fun of people who work in their communities, and the convention attendees ate it up. Demonizing people who serve their communities was met with laughter and applause.

So, fine. Here it is.

I am a community organizer, and I'm for Obama.

  • In the last year, I have worked as part of a team that launched the first year of my company's global service initiative. We had several thousand people all over the world doing service in their communities. I not only organized project in my own community, but as the coordinator of project signup tools and therefor having a lot of work with the project leads, I helped community organizers all over the world! (maybe they're for Obama too)

Before that, I 've been a community organizer in many ways:
  • I was part of a small team that took on fundraising and other issues for a motorcyclist friend with a massive head injury stranded thousands of miles from home. We mobilized the community to raise funds and awareness, and coordinate his return home and ongoing visitors and care in the local hospital.
  • I've served on planning and execution various large-scale service projects and events with Girl Scouts over the years.
My parents are community organizers. My grandparents are community organizers. This value of service and community has long been the thing I admire most about them. To see this tradition mocked so openly by the Republican Party was shocking and disheartening to me. I expect to differ on issues of politics, but to find that we don't share even the same basic value of people taking action and involvement in their communities was new to me. It tells me there's no place in their view of small towns and small people making big impacts. In this view, a person has no hope or responsibility to make a difference. Maybe they are saying that action and change should only come from big government and trickle down?

I'm a community organizer, and the Republicans think that's disgusting and ridiculous.

I'd like to start a chain here. If you have a blog, please take a moment to talk about community organization in your life. Are you a community organizer? Do you think community organizers are stupid like the Republicans do?
No blog? How about an email, or, heck, even snail mail.

pssst, pass it on!

1 comment:

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