Praxis has developed an exhibition documenting the work of seven projects that are challenging violence, poverty, and other forms of oppression through grassroots organizing efforts in their community. Each project exemplifies one of the seven principles of community organizing.
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A church-based project working on a wide range of issues with children, young people, and adults including self-esteem, HIV/AIDS awareness, and domestic violence.
Community Organizing Principle 1
Extreme dedication, commitment and hard work are required in order to create lasting and significant social change.
One of the striking aspects of this program is the sheer volume of work it has accomplished in its short lifetime. In its first four years, Our House succeeded in involving over 18,000 people in trainings, conferences and community events at schools, churches, community colleges, libraries, non-profit organizations, and state and federal agencies. They were also featured in 24 television appearances and numerous newspaper articles that publicized and documented their work.
No paycheck or time sheet could put a value on the hours and time the workers and volunteers at Our House have invested in their community.
The Family Resource Center
Working with to end social exclusion, inequality and division in a housing project in Dublin, Ireland.
Community Organizing Principle 2
Bring diverse groups of people together and be willing to work on more than one issue at a time.
With oppression comes division. Separating people into groups and setting them against each other weakens each group and saps the energy they need to fight for equality and justice. The Family Resource Center works equally on all kinds of social exclusion, including poverty/class, race, gender, and sexuality.
To address these inequalities and divides, they involve those who experience exclusion and work closely with women, the unemployed, the working class, the gay community, and Travelers.
Got to thinking
Holmes County, Mississippi
How the Black people of 1960s Holmes County, Mississippi, organized their civil rights movement.
Community Organizing Principle 3
Working against oppression involves challenging the status quo, and doing this often means taking great risks both personal and professional.
The task of registering to vote in Mississippi was, on the surface, a matter of waiting at the courthouse all day to be acknowledged by the clerk and get an application form. However, many would-be registrants found their photos and addresses on the front page of the local paper the next day an invitation to retaliation. Driving people to meetings, providing a meeting place, encouraging people to register, and selling food to organizers all involved risks for civil rights activists.
Asian and Pacific Island Women and Family Safety Center
Preventing violence against women through community organizing, education, and the provision of safe, appropriate alternatives for women and their children.
Community Organizing Principle 4
Be allies with, not an authority to, the people amongst whom you are organizing.
With an already strong movement in the Philippino community, the Safety Center extended its work into the Samoan and Cambodian communities with preparation, self-education, and patience. They took the time to build friendships and alliances and were careful to listen to and respond to the needs of the community itself rather than force their issues on them. For example, the Safety Center initially wanted to offer domestic violence classes for Samoan and Cambodian women and men, but when community leaders wanted parenting classes, the Center responded to the identified need of the community. The organizers from each community now work together while honoring the distinct needs of their people.
Pine Ridge, South Dakota
Working against Domestic Violence on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
Community Organizing Principle 5
Although oppression is experienced and perpetrated personally; it has political roots and causes.
Without compromising the issue of individual accountability for actions, the Pine Ridge program recognizes violence against women in their community as a product of colonization. Indeed, the very tactics used by batterers to control women physical, sexual and psychological abuse are identical to those that military, government and civilians have used to subjugate Native people for centuries.
For the Oglala people, understanding their collective history and making connections between their past and their present is their path to consciousness and liberation.
Organizacion en California de Lideres Campesinas, Inc
(The Farmworker Women’s Leadership Network, Inc) Pomona, California
Working on issues ranging from domestic abuse awareness to education about the hazards of pesticides.
Community Organizing Principle 6
Work among the people, and not for the people.
Lideres is a truly grassroots organization. Its structure ensures migrant farm worker women set the focus and prioritize the work of the organization. They have created a network of local groups covering the State of California. Each group elects a representative to the organization’s Board of Directors and also operates locally on a voluntary basis to run events, activities, and provide support to people needing advocacy and/or advice.
To extend their grassroots network in recent years, Lideres has created local youth organizing groups from which a Youth Advisory Board is now elected.
Lideres Spanish/English brochure
CURE (Clean Up our River Environment)
Sacred Heart, Minnesota
A regional group advocating for the Minnesota River and its environment through community based events involving music, crafts, poetry, art, and food.
Community Organizing Principle 7
Give people the opportunity to come together and identify themselves, not as isolated individuals struggling alone, but as a group with a common concern.
Bringing people together around music, food and local entertainment to introduce them to the issues and create connections between people is fundamental to CURE’s way of working. The river is a community resource and its welfare a community concern.
National Employment Law Project
55 John Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10038
Advocating for the working poor and the unemployed. Current projects include:Immigrant Worker Project; Nonstandard Worker Project; Unemployment Insurance Safety Net Project; Welfare and Low-wage Workforce Project;and the Work and Family Project.
One Woman, One Vote
Produced by Ruth Pollack, Educational Film Center
One Woman, One Vote examines why so many men and women vehemently opposed giving women the vote, and how this attitude is overcome. This video documents these seventy-year battle for women’s suffrage, which finally culminates in the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Stories of racism in the movement as well as the conflicts created by those who chose civil disobedience over convention are recounted.
*Note: This video can be viewed in three parts.
1995, 106 minutes, $90.
go to http://shop.wgbh.org/product/search?terms=One+Woman%2C+One+Vote for ordering information.
Organizing a Community-Based Response to Domestic Violence
The Filipino Experience
Edited by Leni Marin (FVPF) and Blandina Lansang-de Mesa
Produced by the Family Violence Prevention Fund in collaboration with the Asian Women’s Shelter and the Filipina Advisory Committee on Domestic Violence. This publication documents how the Filipino community – women and men – came together to learn and participate in shaping community-based strategies to address domestic violence.
Organizing Communities to Challenge Violence Against Women
Shamita Das Dasgupta
This handbook is offered as a practical guide to gathering a community’s energies around the issue of domestic violence. It focuses on assisting individuals who would become grassroots organizers to enhance their competency. It familiarizes activists, advocates, and organizers with concepts, strategies, and skills that may guide their work. It is intended to provoke critical thinking and provide direction to individuals who hope to engage others in collective resistance to intimate violence against women.
The handbook is intended to serve the dual purpose of educating individuals who would be directly involved in community organizing, as well as expanding the abilities of individuals who would train others. Thus, it is divided in two parts:(1) concepts and topics significant to community organizing, and (2)skill building. The two sections together furnish a comprehensive picture of community organizing as an ideology, praxis, and a usable set of specific skills.
To order, contact:
P.O. Box 3103
New Brunswick, NJ 08903-3103
Phone (732) 435-1414 Fax: (732) 435-1411
The Spirit of Crazy Horse
Produced by Michael Dubois and Kevin McKiernan
The Spirit of Crazy Horse chronicles the century long struggle of the Sioux Nation to reclaim the Black Hills, their ancestral homeland. This video describes the increasing struggles in the 60s and 70s, leading to the violent out break at Wounded Knee. Insights into the internal conflicts that develop as well as individual attempts to regain their heritage are depicted.
1990, 60 minutes, $14.95.
Available through PBS web shop
Organizing with Passion: Building Relationships of Trust with Compassion, Honesty and Creativity
A handbook written for Praxis International to be distributed to rural grantees receiving funding from the Office on Violence Against Women.The handbook covers key community organizing principles and strategies.It focuses on building relationships with, and reaching out to, the Samoan, Cambodian, Latino and Native American communities. Also included are methods for working within smaller, isolated areas including use of “Natural Helpers,” an organizing model that educates community members that battered women naturally come into contact with to be bridges to services for women. Also highlighted is a rural grantee organizing effort in Florida to reach battered women of color.
A Few Simple Words
This video documents the efforts of Remembering with Dignity, a coalition of self-advocates and their allies working together for the dignity of all persons with disabilities. Remembering with Dignity honors those who lived and died in Minnesota’s state institutions by telling their stories. This video shows their research to identify the people who died and were buried at state institutions, replace numbered gravestones with their names, and obtain legislative support to fund their project.
1988, 31 minutes, $150
Produced by Advocating Change Together, Inc.
1821 University Ave. West
St. Paul, MN 55104
A Force More Powerful
Produced by Steve York
A Force More Powerful shows three examples of social movements that have used non-violence as a weapon to overthrow dictators, obstruct military invaders, and secure human rights in country after country. Using nonviolent sanctions such as strikes, boycotts, and civil disobedience, ordinary people in the American South, India, and South Africa take extraordinary actions to end oppression.
2000, 90 minutes, $39.95.
1320 Braddock Place
Alexandria, VA 22314-1698
A Very Popular Economic Education Sampler
Highlander Research and Education Center, 1997
This sampler contains dozens of popular education exercises and materials to help groups learn more about the economy and its effects, as well as to learn more about popular education. Contains a resource list of economic education resource groups.
Copies of the book are $20.00 plus $5.00 shipping for the first copy and $2.00 per additional copy.
Books can be ordered from:
1959 Highlander Way
New Market, TN 37820
A Woman’s Place
Produced by Maria Rose Nicolo for Maryland Public Television
99 Berkeley Place #3
Brooklyn, N.Y., 11217
A Woman’s Place documents the efforts of three women in the legal system attempting to fight sexism. In Mount Frere, South Africa, a magistrate tries to bridge the gap between age-old tribal customs and the 1997 South African constitution, which bans discrimination based on sex. In Duluth, Minnesota, a prosecutor develops a protocol to increase safety for battered women by prosecuting domestic violence cases without relying on the victim’s testimony. In Bombay, India, a lawyer fights to retain women’s economic and child custody rights during divorce.
1998, 60 minutes, $20.
Conquest of Violence: The Gandhian Philosophy of Conflict
Joan V. Bondurant
By relating what Gandhi said to what he did and by examining instances of satyagraha led by others, this book abstracts from the Indian experiments those essential elements that constitute the Gandhian technique. It explores, in terms familiar to the Western reader, its distinguishing characteristics and its far-reaching implications for social and political philosophy.
Available through public libraries and bookstores.
COYUNTURAL ANALYSIS – Critical Thinking for Meaningful Action
A Manual for Facilitators
Chicago Office of the American Friends Service Committee, “Coyuntural” comes from the Spanish word coyuntura which means the intersection of social forces and their effect on history. This is a step-by-step guide for community groups to engage in critical analysis. Send requests to:
American Friends Service Committee
59 E. Van Buren #1400
Chicago, IL 60605
Phone (312) 427-2533; Fax (312) 427-4171
Flooding in San Antonio
Flooding in San Antonio shows the problems caused by flooding of homes in San Antonio, Texas, for over a decade. However, when the Mexican American community learns that the problem is in only their neighborhoods, they decide to act. This 7-minute video shows people coming together to identify and define the problem, “re-writing” the city budget to include funding for the needed repairs, and using creative, public actions to pressure city officials to take them seriously.
Produced by the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies. Unavailable for purchase, but Praxis will lend this item to OVW Rural Grantees.
Fundi: The Story of Ella Baker
Produced by Joanne Grant
This video looks at the civil rights movement from the perspective of Ella Baker, an activist known as the Fundi, a Swahili word for person who passes skills from one generation to another. Baker, friend and advisor to Martin Luther King Jr., played an instrumental role in shaping the American civil rights movement. This video illustrates the enormous impact of her actions on the lives of others.
1981, 47 minutes, $390
First Run Icarus Films
32 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Gender in Popular Education: Methods for Empowerment
Edited by Shirley Walters and Linzi Manicom
This book is a collection of critical reflections on feminist adult education work in grassroots organizations, development projects, formal institutions and community education programs in a wide variety of countries including South Africa, India, the United States, Canada, Malaysia, the Phillipines and Australia.
Available at bookstores.
No Place to Call Home: Perspectives on the Homeless
A book on stories and perceptions of homeless people including interviews of the homeless, people that work with the homeless, people that work in the public sector and homeless children.
Once Is Too Much
Once Is Too Much shows how a community in Dublin, Ireland uses an art exhibit to achieve community involvement and raise community awareness about domestic violence. The “Once Is Too Much exhibit” is part of an eight-year effort to develop the first community-based model of addressing violence against women in Ireland.
Unavailable for purchase, but Praxis will lend this item to OVW Rural Grantees.
1977, 20 Minutes, Authentic Media Ltd.
One Woman, One Vote
Edited by Marojorie Spruill Wheeler
The companion book to the PBS documentary by the same name, this anthology is the most comprehensive collection of writings–contemporary and historical–on the woman suffrage movement in America. It includes essays by the most prominent contemporary historians who write on the topic, as well as some fascinating historical pieces written by women in the suffrage movement during the 19th century. Includes photos and maps.
1320 Braddock Place
Alexandria, VA 22314-1698
Organizing for Social Change
A Manual for Activists in the 1990’s
Kim Bobo, Jackie Kendall, and Steve Max
Here is a comprehensive manual for grassroots organizers working for social, political, environmental, and economic change at the local, state, and national level. Using this manual, organizers will learn a systematic approach to the techniques or organizing, of building and using power, and of creating lasting institutions that are both self-defense organizations and avenues for citizen participation in public life.
Available at bookstores.
Takeover: Heroes of The New American Depression
Produced by Pamela Yates and Peter Kinoy, Skylight Pictures Production in association with Starfish Productions
Takeover: Heroes of The New American Depression tells the story of how in 1990, homeless people in eight U.S. cities break locks and take over vacant houses. The conditions that lead to this desperate action and its consequences are the focus of this video. Although the results in different cities vary, the takeover inspires other homeless people to act and become more powerful political forces.
1990, 58 minutes, $390
First Run Icarus Films
32 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
The Pluralism Project
201 Vanserg Hall
25 Francis Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
The Pluralism Project was developed by Diana L. Eck at Harvard University to study and document the growing religious diversity of the United States, with a special view to its new immigrant religious communities. In the past thirty years, the religious landscape of the U.S. has changed radically. There are Islamic centers and mosques, Hindu and Buddhist temples and meditation centers in virtually every major American city. The encounter between people of very different religious traditions takes place in the proximity of our own cities and neighborhoods. How Americans of all faiths begin to engage with one another in shaping a positive pluralism is one of the most important questions American society faces in the years ahead.
The Willmar 8
Produced by Lee Grant, Julie Thompson, and Mary Beth Yarrow
Distributed by California Newsreel
149 Ninth Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
This video documents a strike by eight female bank employees in Willmar, a small town in southern Minnesota. Eight unassuming, apolitical women, driven by sex discrimination, organize the longest bank strike in U.S. history, picketing throughout two Minnesota winters. Risking jobs, families, friends, and the support of neighbors and the church, this video describes their personal and public struggle.
1977, 50 minutes
Training for Transformation
A Handbook for Community Workers
Ann Hope and Sally Timmel
Designed to assist workers in the field who are encouraging the development of self-reliant creative communities. This book has as its basic philosophy the belief that we should all participate in making this world a more just place to live in. It integrates:
- The approach of Paulo Freire and how to put this method into practice
- Manfred Max Neff’s understanding of fundamental human needs
- Group methods which are essential for participatory education
- Organizational development, which stresses how to build structures which enable people to become self-reliant
- Social analysis to help groups find the root causes of problems.
3 volumes in Spanish and English?
All language editions can be purchased from the Grailville Bookstore, Loveland, OH, 45140, (513) 683-0202, Fax (513) 683-4752.
You’ve Got To Move
Cumberland Mountain Educational Cooperative Inc.
This video documents personal and social transformation which takes place at Tennessee’s legendary Highlander Folk School. Founded by Myles Horton, Highlander brought together individuals who work for union, civil, environmental, and women’s rights in the south. You’ve Got To Move records the progress of individuals, the process of social change, and the evolution of leadership and brings us to the understanding that people can and do make a difference.
*Note: This video can be viewed in two parts.1985, 87 minutes, $490.
First Run Icarus Films
32 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Yuuyaraq: The Way of the Human Being
Alaska Native Knowledge Network
Harold Napoleon, a Yup’ik Alaskan Native, wrote this essay while in prison for his son’s death. His book is a discussion about the initial and continuing effects of the epidemics that afflicted Alaskan Natives from the 1770s through the 1940s. Available through public libraries and bookstores.