Response Paper #3: Grassroots Organizing


For our last response paper, you are to write 4-5 pages that demonstrate your knowledge of key concepts from the grassroots organizing section of our course. In this section, we have discussed how organizing is a verb, a collective process that brings a diverse range of ideas and people together to challenge dominant systems of power and rearticulate visions of more just and equitable futures. For this paper, you are to choose an issue you care about and research at leastone grassroots organizing effort that addresses this issue. Using course terms and ideas, you are to describe (1) how the grassroots organizing effort articulates the problem they are addressing, (2) wherethey have identified one (or more) points of intervention into that problem, and (3) whatactions they are taking to organize to achieve their future-oriented goals and with whomare they building collective capacity.

Format and Requirements: 

·  4-5 pages, Times New Roman, 12-point font, 1-inch margins. 

·  Cite at least 3 credible, outside sourcesthat describe the issue and grassroots organizing effort. 

·  Cite at least 2 course readings from the Grassroots Organizing section of our course. 

·  Apply at least 2 key terms from our course, defining them in the reading. 

·  APA citations (in-text & reference section; no cover page or abstract needed). 

Helpful Steps: 

1. Choose:Identify an issue you care about and briefly describe why you care about this issue and what motivated you to write about it. 

2. Research:Research contemporary and historical grassroots organizing efforts, social movements, or coalitions working to address the issue you care about. Having trouble? Start local. How does the issue affect people in your immediate and surrounding community? You don’t have to, but you might begin your research process here. Make sure you are paying attention to the structure of the organizing effort, so you can refrain from locating a professional or non-profit organization. Sometimes the categorization between non-profit & grassroots group is blurred, so you’ll need to research further and account for these organizational relationships.  

3. Articulating Problems:Once you have identified your grassroots organizing effort, start to pay attention to the specific words and phrases they use to describe the problemthey would like to address or see change. How do they diagnose the problem communicatively? Was there a particular mobilizing event that sparked the effort? Describe how they articulate the problems and what you find significant about it.  

4. Identifying Where to Intervene:Using research, can you identify any goals or visions for the future that the movement narrates? You might analyze specific words or demands that you can find, or look at their slogans, symbolism, platform, policy, or campaign discourses. Describe if/where they have located at least one demand or goal they are working to achieve.  

5. Building Collective Capacity:What specifically does the effort do to cultivate collective capacity to act? Who are they mobilizing with and what actions are they taking? Here you might revisit some of our readings on various forms of collective action to assist with this section (e.g. popular education, protesting, engaging in public performances, striking/boycotting, sharing stories, building relationships, organizing local campaigns, sharing resources, etc.)

6. Conclusion:Briefly conclude with some take-aways about what you learned and its significance. 

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