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.

Bringing Down the Barriers to Enrollment in Federal Programs

Constance Etheridge went to the Department of Social Services office in South Carolina for a simple reason: she and her children were hungry and...
Chris Wilder, Valley Medical Center Foundation CEO, holds a sign that reads "Yes on A: Affordable Housing. Everyone should have the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, affordable home." The initiative tied health and housing funding for county residents.

Housing Is Health: Ballot Initiatives in California Approved

A conversation with three county supervisors who were instrumental in moving affordable housing ballot measures forward in the California Bay Area by bringing in the health factor.

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 Neighborhood in Brooklyn Says “No” to Worker Exploitation

A language barrier, I believe, has muddled my conversation with Nieves Padilla. “We’re fighting to get the workers on Knickerbocker Avenue the minimum wage,”...

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...
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.

Winning a War, But Losing the Battle

Victory in a tenant organizing campaign is usually defined by improving conditions for the tenants involved – an egregious repair problem is fixed, landlord...

Building A Power Base

The first and most important battle organizers face is working with members to build an independent power base. Building an organization, and forcing a...

Persistence Pays

Employees of Erickson Cosmetics Company (makers of Banana Boat lotion) only wanted what they had earned. Especially workers like Juana Vasquez who worked at...
Three Minneapolis residents chat while sitting at a table outdoors.

Artists as Organizers

Creative placemaking means more than merely adding public art into the mix. To be sustainable it needs to build relationships—and power.

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...

In Red State Florida, Victory for Working People

While 52 percent of Floridians voted for George Bush in the November election, 72 percent backed a Bush-unfriendly ballot initiative: a constitutional amendment raising...

Divide and Conquer

In its one and a half years, the New York City Coalition for the Preservation of Gardens (known as the Garden Coalition) has worked...

A Surprising Victory

When business leaders in St. Louis withdrew financial support for a campaign to pass a badly needed transit tax, it was a blessing in disguise.

The Right to Know

 Josefina de la Cruz’s migration history does not stop at her arrival from Mexico in 1972, but continues through five different Chicago neighborhoods, most...

Holding Politicians Accountable

The elections of 1994 demonstrated the power of constituent organizing (mostly done by the right wing), the dissatisfaction of many voters with the current...

Homeownership Counselors—And Organizers, Too!

Northwest Side Housing Center combines counseling and organizing to empower homeowners facing foreclosure.

Improving Schools from the Bottom Up

Two years ago, when Oakland ACORN was considering a new citywide initiative, members voiced one concern loud and clear: the poor conditions of the...
Members of Boston Liberation Health hold a banner that reads, "Capitalism, racism, and heteropatriachy are making us sick. Join Liberation Health."

How Organizing for Justice Helps Your Mental Health

How do social justice, organizing, and mental health interact? Shelterforce chats with clinical social worker Dawn Belkin Martinez to find out.

Still Riding Route 61

A labor/community partnership stops a fare hike and gives workers a boost