Last night I attended a delegates’ assembly of the Inland Communities Organizing Network (ICON), the community organizing group that my congregation has been helping to launch since early 2011. Four years in, and the “Founders Convention” is later this year. This is slow work.
Last night, ICON leaders shared stories of what we’ve done so far: built a high-skilled jobs training program; significantly altered plans for a proposed waste transfer station; agitated for thousands of street lights. The stories were full of frank admissions of failure, because the high-skilled jobs still don’t pay enough to live on and the waste transfer station was supposed to be blocked. This is community organizing work. It’s takes a long time and you often lose.
But the assembly was a joyful one, because the leaders of ICON aren’t motivated by bitterness or anger but rather a resolve to make things better where we live. That’s the word that keeps coming back to me about what ICON is building: resolve. Now we have a task force pushing for a moratorium on recycling and waste management facilities in the city with a win already under its belt.
Resolve: I’ll take all I can get.