Organize!

In our Organize! columns we explore various lessons in organizing strategies and tactics, going beyond the outside story of a campaign to look at how it worked or what lessons it might have to teach us.

Three members of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California give a thumbs up as they hold "Register and Vote" signs in different languages.

How the Bay Area Got $2 Billion for Affordable Homes

San Francisco Bay Area voters approved bold new investments in 2016 after housing advocates--part of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California--ignited a successful electoral strategy for the general election. Here's how it worked.
An orange tinted bridge over water in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

A Battle for Wards in New Jersey’s Hub City

How an organization of residents crossing age, race, and socioeconomic lines took on an unyielding City Hall known for quelling grass-roots efforts and (almost) overtook the political party machinery.

New CDC Trade Association Lays Infrastructure

As sequestration takes hold and Congress wrestles with FY 2014 budget negotiations, the affordable housing and community development field is in a fragile state....

Occupy Makes Space for Community Advocates

By smashing the wall of media silence about America’s wealth and income divide, the Occupy movement has opened a dramatically new terrain for organizations...

Fighting for Worker's Rights in Maine

Years of alleged wage, immigration, safety, and civil rights violations, environmental sanctions, and other infractions at the DeCoster egg farm in Turner, Maine, have...

Alameda Corridor Jobs Coalition Wins Railroad Jobs

In 1997, residents of Los Angeles area neighborhoods in the path of what will be the largest public/private rail transportation project in the country...

The Fight to Save Section 8

In April 2004, when the Bush Administration launched a major assault on the program that helps Marion Brady pay her rent, she sprang into...

Park 1 – Stadium 0: The People Win!

In April 1996 residents of Newark's Ironbound neighborhood – an old industrial area now home to a thriving immigrant population – read in a...

Thirty-Five Years of Building Citizen Power

The 2008 presidential contest vaulted community organizing into the national limelight, as the McCain campaign sought to cast doubt on the legitimacy of Barack...

Rhode Island Tenants Fight and Win!

On August 1, 2005, 193 residents at the Barbara Jordan I properties in Providence, Rhode Island, received a letter informing them that the owner...

Cross-Community Collaboration on NYC’s Municipal ID Program

Lack of identification hurts many different groups in different ways—from the homeless to immigrants, and they all need to be considered in the fight for an alternative.
Residents in Austin, Texas, sit in a micro-unit home.

Flipping the Script

A nonprofit forgoes the typical community meeting for a "living charrette," which leads to greater neighborhood feedback about a proposed 24-acre development in Austin, Texas.

Homeless Revolution

An organization of homeless New Yorkers rallied residents of Harlem and Manhattan to stand up and take notice of the city's long-standing practice of warehousing vacant properties.
A woman in a red Cause Justa/Just Cause T-shirt holds a hand-lettered sign reading "Black and Brown for Tenant Protections Now"

Black and Brown Tenant Solidarity in Oakland

Last October, Oakland, Calif., passed a Tenant Protection Ordinance. This strong measure defending tenants against the kinds of landlord harassment that often take place...

Using Information to Confront Corporate Power

In 1991 the United Steelworkers of America, locked in a bitter labor dispute with Ravenswood Aluminum Co., decided to extend the battle beyond the...

Organize! Shedding Some Light on Fighting the Right

Draconian cutbacks in health, welfare and housing services, attacks on the civil rights of people of color, gays and lesbians, immigrants, and the reproductive...

Grassroots Advocacy Strengthens Housing Trust Fund

Washington state housing activists came together in 1997 to launch the  Housing Our Community Campaign to increase the state Housing Trust Fund (HTF) to...

New Jersey’s Campaign Against Lead

The effects of lead poisoning on a child’s physical and emotional development and cognitive ability are well known. An investigation that ran two years...

A Radically Different Planning Process in Brownsville

In a year-long program that included bike rides, serenades, and Dragtivist performances, an art collective guided Brownsville, Texas, residents in reimagining how they could influence equity and justice in their city.

Tenant Organizing Wins One-for-One Replacement

In 1996, a small group of highly organized residents of North Beach public housing in San Francisco began to raise questions about the fate...

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