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.

Organizing Lessons from Allen Parkway Village

When Lenwood E. Johnson, the son of Texas sharecroppers, moved into Houston’s Allen Parkway Village project housing, the Freedmen’s Town section of the city had yet to be designated historic, and the village had...

Listen To Me

When Dolores Shaw first got involved with the Eastern Pennsylvania Organizing Project (EPOP) eight years ago, she had two children entering school and a lot of frustrations. “The students weren’t reading very well,”...

All Organizing is Constant Re-organizing

In 1990, a manufacturing plant in San Antonio laid off more than 1,000 employees, most of them Mexican-American women with limited formal education. The local economy had already lost 14,000 of these medium wage...

Involving union welfare office workers in welfare organizing

The Organization of the NorthEast (ONE) has over 70 members: religious congregations, social service agencies, ethnic associations and businesses from three diverse lakefront Chicago neighborhoods – Rogers Park, Uptown and Edgewater. Local Accountability Welfare reform...
A trainee wearing a white hardhat fixes a light fixture in an apartment.

Making a Success of Local Hire

Local hire policies are among the strongest strategies for bringing good job opportunities to disadvantaged communities, but adding more provisions to specifically target those with the most barriers to employment can make local hiring practices even more effective.

Walking the Walk

In a city full of problems and promise, I'm taking the first steps toward learning up close what community organizing can accomplish.

A Victory Over the Slumlords

In response to tenant organizing, the Washington state legislature approved a bill that requires landlords to pay for relocation assistance for tenants forced out of their homes by the landlords' own negligence.

National Collaboration Drives Transportation Policy

On August 12, 1998, almost 1000 leaders from 14 states gathered in St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Chicago, Illinois, for a one-of-a-kind meeting. This was the seminal moment in a yearlong campaign...

Tenants Block Evictions by Any Means

Tenant organizers across the country—in places like Virginia, Louisiana, and New York—have taken direct action against surging eviction cases through tactics like mass outreach, shutting down court hearings, and picketing lawyers who represent landlords.

Once a Landmark, Always a Landmark

The Winthrop, a grand hotel converted to affordable housing in the 1970s, was at the center of a conflict between the city’s hopes for a “revitalized” urban core and the residents of 190 low-income...

Housing Set-Asides: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

In August 2002, Kevin Jackson, director of the Chicago Rehab Network, sent a letter out to network members and supporters to introduce a campaign to win an affordable housing set-aside – a requirement that...

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 rights of all women has solidified one rallying cry among...

Occupy Wall Street: A New Wave of Fair Housing Activism?

Is there a new community reinvestment movement afoot?

Greater Boston Interfaith Organization

Massachusetts has one of the nation’s worst housing cost problems. Its rents and home prices have risen at one of the steepest rates in the country in recent years, due to cuts in state...
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.

A Word of Caution: The Forgotten Photograph

The trouble with many of us, and with our culture as a whole, is that we don’t take time to “relate,” to connect formally but meaningfully with others … We forget or deny that...

A Guide for Tenants on Leadership and Building Control

Renters in Washington, DC’s Shaw neighborhood have a little extra help these days as they organize to improve their living conditions – and maybe take over their buildings. The aid comes in the form of...

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 suburban newspaper, the South Orange-Maplewood News Record, that Riverbank Park...
A "Rent is too high" flyer in South Minneapolis.

Minneapolis, St. Paul Voters Say ‘Yes’ to Rent Stabilization

Despite an all-out effort by the housing industry to stop them, two rent stabilization initiatives were given the green light following this month’s vote.
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.

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