In defense of Community Organizers

posted by Josh Ran

When I turned on my TV last night, I was shocked to see major political figures dissing community organizers. From what I could tell, community organizing is a job for lightweights who want to avoid responsibility. “Oh my gosh,” I thought, “I’ve wasted my entire career!”

Then I turned off the TV and did a reality check. The job of a community organizer is to help community members make connections between the various problems they’re experiencing (let’s say the link between high rates of childhood asthma, high unemployment, and the coal power plant spewing soot down the street); facilitate community members’ coming up with their own solutions (hmm, maybe shut down the coal plant and invest in clean energy, green jobs and education); and empower them to win change and take back their neighborhoods. That sounds like a huge responsibility to me.

If there were more dedicated community organizers out there, more communities would be taking back the power that is rightfully theirs. That would leave less power for the politicians – and the corporate interests behind them. Maybe that’s what they’re afraid of?

(RAN is a nonpartisan organization that takes no stand on any political candidates. This post is merely intended to defend a noble career choice.)