Community Organizing

The Marriage of Information And Experience

Chronic isolation. The breakdown of social capital. Chronic economic uncertainty.

The big three.

I spent six hours yesterday afternoon with a community organizer who presented these as the three biggest challenges facing the region we live in. She has spent months conducting one-on-one conversations and house meetings. She has done her homework. And yesterday she framed for us the challenges we face every day here but haven’t the perspective to take in all at once.

So. Valuable.

I’ve been in so many sessions like this that get bogged down in competing interpretations of data, but this one married data with personal and group conversation about our own experience. It was masterfully done, and I want to learn how to work like this.

Organizers organize people and communities. And in the service of those, organizers organize information and experience–at the same time, which seems to me to be the key to avoiding both debates over data and excessive personal sharing.

That’s a really important key.


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