Do you have a passion for social justice? Are you an activist or community organizer?
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Listening Project to learn from 60 years of Charlotte Social Justice Organizing: wins, losses and learning
What is Community Organizing?
Community organizing is "collective action by community members drawing on the strength of numbers, participatory processes, and indigenous leadership to decrease power disparities and achieve shared goals for social change." (Staples, L. Roots to Power: A Manual for Grassroots Organizing, 2004)
What is Community-Based Research?
"Community-based Research (CBR) takes place in community settings and involves community members in the design and implementation of research projects, demonstrates respect for the contributions of success that are made by community partners, as well as respect for the principle of "doing no harm" to the communities involved.
In order to achieve these goals, the following principles should guide the development of research projects involving collaboration between the researchers and community partners, whether the community partners are formally structured community-based organizations or informal groups of individual community members.
Principles of Community-Based Research:
- CBR is a collaborative enterprise between researchers (professors and/or students) and community members. It engages university faculty, students and staff with diverse partners and community members.
- CBR validates multiple sources of knowledge and promotes the use of multiple methods of discovery and of dissemination of the knowledge produced.
- CBR has as its goal: to achieve social justice through social action and social change.
- In most forms, CBR is also participative (among other reasons, change is usually easier to achieve when those affected by the change are involved) and it's qualitative.
What knowledge regarding community organizing can be gained through the storytelling process?
What narratives and lessons can be gain through interviews with community organizers in Charlotte?
What have been have the challenges, barriers, successes, best strategies and practices for social change and community organizing?
"History is written by the victors," a saying often attributed to Winston Churchill, speaks to something social movements struggle with. Shaping the narratives of social justice wins and losses can be a struggle for communities struggling to access the dominant means of storytelling in their context. In addition to shaping the narratives, communities often struggle to retain and transmit the wisdom and lessons learned from social justice organizing. A major lesson for a generation of organizers is not always relayed to a subsequent generation of organizers. The lack of formal structure and training in social movements tends to allow for gaps in collective knowledge. Informal movement building or Peoples' History Projects are ways of collecting the lessons learned by organizers over the years and to tell the untold stories of organizing.
2- Recorded Interviews