Community Organizing for Social Justice: Making Connections

Social Change is the message….But how do we get there? Can you purchase the roadmap? Do you rely on literary journals? Do you look back at the movements of past to dictate the way of the future? Do you push the boundaries of your inner self until you become unrecognizable? The answers are irrationally and unapologetically “Yes” and “No.” The journey to creating social change in SW Washington has begun.

Many community leaders address social change in an abstract yet meaningful way (some refer to this as “systems change”). Systems change happens when policies shift and policies shift because community leaders advocate, educate, and reach out to people in positions of power living within a community. But in the abstract, we often forget to calculate the concrete “boots on the ground” marching in the rain and snow, gathering, holding vigils, creating safe community spaces, empowering community members to work beyond their individual capacity, skills, and talent — their passion. We do all of this while encouraging personal independence, community connections, and spreading awareness of the impacts of systems on our community members.

Now is the time to begin thinking about why we should and how we can use these two principles (the abstract, steeped in reliance of the working machinery; the concrete, embedded in the marginalized voices and teachings of past generations) to mobilize, work together, and RAISE OUR VOICES AND MARCH IN HARMONY.

As we move our work toward our common goals, let’s remember that reciprocity breeds mutual respect, mutual benefit, and mutual change (community level change and system level change) . This is why we do the work we do! This is how systemic change at a community level can improve health equity outcomes.

-Ophelia Noble, Founder & Board Member of The Noble Foundation

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