"It's not only about recognizing the conditions in your community and why it's important to organize in your own city and neighborhood, but also across regions and the country and globally. It's important to have programs that teach these lessons, and show that you can work for social justice."
Post civil-rights era movement-building efforts have been markedly unsuccessful in building the social infrastructure necessary to address the alarming and persistent racial iniquities faced by black communities in the United States. Center For Third World Organizing (CTWO) seeks to create an organizing model that effectively engages and mobilizes low-income black people to place their issues on the political agenda, put their own leadership into power, secure a deeply influential voice in regional, statewide, and national decision-making, and ultimately achieve justice for their families and communities.
➢ Create long term systems change
➢ Rebuild the spirit and foundation of our community
➢ Transform the lives of black people collectively and individually
➢ Win real immediate policy changes on key tangible issues that are pressing to the community
➢ Create new approaches and innovative alternatives to existing institutions
The Black Organizing Project (BOP) evolved out of a series of conversations with organizers and organizations across the country that were concerned about the lack of strong black organizing infrastructure and the development of black organizers.
Racial inequities affecting the black community have not only persisted over time, but they have grown. In the East Bay (Alameda and Contra Costa counties of Northern California), African Americans are nearly twice as likely as the general population to be living in poverty (19 percent versus 10 percent of the general population). A recent report released by East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE) entitled "Perpetual Recession", finds that "The East Bay is one of the most diverse regions in the country. The population is 42% non-Hispanic White, 11% Black or African American, 20% Asian, and 22% Hispanic or Latino of any race. However, the East Bay economy has not benefited all households equally. Latino median household income in the East Bay is 76% and Black or African American median household income is 57% of the overall household median income in the East Bay."
BOP organizers are meeting community members in their homes, places of worship, schools, workplaces, and community centers. We have already engaged more than 300 individuals and families in the project. We are holding a series of Listening Sessions to highlight the most pressing issues facing our community and to cultivate future campaign leaders and members. By Summer 2010, we will officially launch our first campaign.
The primary innovation in the projectís approach seeks to directly change the structures of racism by creating a powerful black collective of voters, activists, and leaders rather than focusing narrowly on the issues (e.g. lack of affordable housing, police violence, etc.) that are symptomatic of a racist system. In doing so, the base will not only attack the issues that impact them most head on -- but with greater agility in terms of responding to immediate needs for action, and the ability to take on multiple issues successfully.
The Black Organizing Project emphasizes the courageous spirit that kept the black community alive through centuries of systematic oppression. It is a spirit of deep faith, creativity, and love. This is the powerful center that our success has been rooted and that our future success must grow out of.
To pay by credit card, use Secure credit-card payments by GroundSpring.org