in community engagement, Organizing

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Online Videos for Community & Administrative Practice (updated)

in community engagement, Organizing

This is a list compiled by Professor Dick Schoech of the School of Social Work, University of Texas Arlington. He received these suggestions from members of COMM-ORG and ACOSA. Ten of these videos are available on YouTube, and I’ve organized them into this a playlist, which you can play (in the order listed) by clicking on the video below, or by viewing the series on youtube . Other videos which are available online, but not on YouTube, are also linked below. Several recommended videos are not available online. They may be available in stores, or at a library near you, so I’ve linked to WorldCat entries, when I could find them there. There’s a longer list of videos here and in this playlist of videos on community & engagement.

Shinichi Murota Doshisha University, Japan

  • Make the Road NY is probably the most active and powerful grassroots organization in NYC today.
  • Time’s Up is a bicycle rider’s organization whose activity is basically a public ride to advocate for greener streets and riders friendly urban planning.
  • Common Ground is a famous community development project for homeless. Their approach is not quite “social work” per say, but they have made some impacts in the community.

Ben MacConnell, Direct Action & Research Training Center

  • DART just posted a new video on community organizing. It also serves as decent intro for a new observer, so I thought it may be of use to you.

David William Rothwell

Rich Wood – Lots of resources via PICO website as well, some written some video, see:

Dick Schoech, UT Arlington

  • Online Volunteering
  • Building Enduring Communities: Development, property management, and residence- and community-based human services, nonprofit affordable housing social services.
  • The Charlie Rose show has great interviews with current thinkers and doers. For example, this conversation with Michael Milken & Muhammad Yunus about World poverty.
  • Tracy J. Browns explains the Nine Essential Internal Controls that every Faith Based or Community Organization must have.
  • Circles of Caring
  • The Secret to Getting Things Right (audio) How did the humblest tool for organizing data reduce complications in surgical practice, streamline restaurant operations, and minimize the risks of venture capital? An hour with Harvard Medical School professor Atul Gawande, author of “The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right”. I found the discussion very relevant since human services folks routinely handle a lot of complex situations. Almost all the conclusions on the failure to prevent child abuse by CPS come to a failure to do things due to fatigue, lack of training, etc. We could use more checklists in our field to insure we get things right.

Videos Not Online

Elizabeth Beck

  • I use something called Holding Ground about Dudley Street or Streets of Hope to show Rothman’s three approaches,
  • I use Bill Moyers interview with Myles Horton (vol 2) to show community participation, adult education and pedagogy of the oppressed
  • I use a Philip Randolph which is 90 minutes called something like Jobs and Freedom to show among others things coalition building.

Christina Erickson

Nicole Nicotera, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver

  • I like to use Holding Ground about the Dudley Street neighborhood initiative near Boston MA.
  • There is also a book about their process called, Streets of Hope by Medoff and Sklar (1994) South End Press.
  • Another DVD that may be useful, but I have not used in class myself is called “I am a Promise.”

Karen Gray, Asst Professor, OU-Tulsa School of Social Work, Tulsa, OK 74135

Dick Schoech, UT Arlington

Others mentioned

Vertigo and The Intentional Inhabitant: Leadership In A Connected Environment

in community engagement, Organizing

Bill Traynor is a leading theoretician and practitioner in the field of community development. He is currently the Executive Director of Lawrence Community Works, an initiative that’s rebuilding the struggling city of Lawrence, Massachusetts, his hometown. He was the Director of Community Development for the Boston Community Training and Assistance Center, and the Executive Director of the Coalition for a Better Acre in Lowell, where he raised over a million dollars to support organizational growth and to implement several housing and economic development projects. The author of numerous articles on community development and community organizing, Traynor received a Loeb Fellowship from Harvard University in 1998. During his tenure with LCW, Traynor grew the organization from a staff of two and a deficit, to a staff of 45 and an operating budget of over $2 million, while leveraging over $25 million in public and private project investments for affordable housing, infrastructure investments, a city-wide youth network, and a range of family asset building and community organizing initiatives.

The Nonprofit Quarterly features this article in its current edition. Read the full article: Vertigo and The Intentional Inhabitant; Leadership In A Connected Environment: « The Value Of Place. Excerpts:

I have had to grapple with trying to find a way to lead when many of the traditional levers of power and decision making are neither handy nor useful. Moving from a traditional environment to a network or connected environment can cause a kind of vertigo because the environment is so radically different. It operates by different rules and responds to different stimuli. To try to lead in a network environment armed only with the perspectives and skills honed in traditional settings, is unsettling and disorienting.

It’s About the Space

A network environment is dominated by space, and so it is the space that should dominate your attention. The leader in a connected environment has to understand that the power of these environments comes from the space, not the forms that populate the space. Therefore the critical function of the leader in the network is the recognition of, and the creation, preservation and protection of space.

What is meant by space in this context? Well, it’s time and opportunity mostly, as well as accessibility, flexibility and options. It is the time for unfolding, time for adaptation, time and opportunity for intentional and random bumping and connecting, for creation, for response, for listening and reacting, for deconstruction. It is the space in between, around, behind, on top of and underneath the all of the action, the commitments, the transactions – these things are all forms. Networks die when the space closes because in the clutter of commitments, expectations, structures, programs, partnerships etc, there is no more space for adaptation or response.

At LCW we try to build language, tools and systems to help us recognize, create, preserve and defend space. We try to resource the demand environment in lots of different ways so that we can get better at resourcing real life opportunities rather than concepts and ideas that we or funders come up with. We try to keep all of our teams and committees loose and flexible and leadership moving from person to person so that we can stay focused on ‘what we do’ rather than ‘who we are’. This creates space for experimentation and allows things to grow and also allows for things to go away when they aren’t useful anymore. We try to do the routine things as efficiently as possible so that we can save time for the complicated stuff.

Over the past several years I have found that there are three ways to create and preserve space in a network environment.


Majora Carter’s tale of urban renewal

in community engagement, Organizing

Majora Carter is a visionary voice in city planning who views urban renewal through an environmental lens. With her inspired ideas and fierce persistence, Carter managed to bring the South Bronx its first open-waterfront park in 60 years, Hunts Point Riverside Park. Excerpts:

Why is this story important?  Because from a planning perspective, economic degradation  begets environmental degradation, which begets social degradation. The disinvestment that began in the 1960s  set the stage for all the environmental injustices that were to come.  Antiquated zoning and land-use regulations are still used to this day to continue putting polluting facilities in my neighborhood. Are these factors taken into consideration when land-use policy is decided?  What costs are associated with these decisions? And who pays?  Who profits? Does anything justify what the local community goes through? This was “planning” — in quotes — that did not have our best interests in mind.

As we nurture the natural environment, its abundance will give us back even more. We run a project called the Bronx Ecological Stewardship Training,  which provides job training in the fields of ecological restorations,  so that folks from our community have the skills to compete for these well-paying jobs.  Little by little, we’re seeding the area with green collar jobs — then the people that have both a financial and personal stake in their environment.

We also built the city’s — New York City’s first green and cool roof demonstration project on top of our offices. Cool roofs are highly reflective surfaces that don’t absorb solar heat and pass it on to the building or atmosphere. Green roofs are soil and living plants. Both can be used instead of petroleum-based roofing materials that absorb heat, contribute to urban “heat island” effect and degrade under the sun, which we in turn breathe.

I do not expect individuals, corporations or government to make the world a better place because it is right or moral. I know it’s the bottom line, or one’s perception of it, that motivates people in the end. I’m interested in what I like to call the “triple bottom line” that sustainable development can produce. Developments that have the potential to create positive returns for all concerned: the developers, government and the community where these projects go up.

A parade of government subsidies is going to proposed big-box and stadium developments in the South Bronx, but there is scant coordination between city agencies on how to deal with the cumulative effects of increased traffic, pollution, solid waste and the impacts on open space.

Now let’s get this straight. I am not anti-development. Ours is a city, not a wilderness preserve. And I’ve embraced my inner capitalist. And you probably all have, and if you haven’t, you need to. So I don’t have a problem with developers making money. There’s enough precedent out there to show that a sustainable, community-friendly development can still make a fortune. Fellow TEDsters Bill McDonough and Amory Lovins — both heroes of mine by the way — have shown that you can actually do that.

I do have a problem with developments that hyper-exploit politically vulnerable communities for profit. That it continues is a shame upon us all, because we are all responsible for the future that we create. But one of the things I do to remind myself of greater possibilities is to learn from visionaries in other cities. This is my version of globalization.

When I spoke to Mr. Gore the other day after breakfast, I asked him how environmental justice activists were going to be included in his new marketing strategy.  His response was a grant program.  I don’t think he understood that I wasn’t asking for funding.  I was making him an offer.

What troubled me was that this top-down approach is still around. Now, don’t get me wrong, we need money. But grassroots groups are needed at the table during the decision-making process. Of the 90 percent of the energy that Mr. Gore reminded us that we waste every day, don’t add wasting our energy, intelligence and hard-earned experience to that count.

By working together, we can become one of those small, rapidly growing groups of individuals who actually have the audacity and courage to believe that we actually can change the world.

Community Voices Heard: Changing People and Public Policy through Low-Income Organizing

in community engagement, Organizing

This is the product of a research project. Community Voices Heard: Changing People and Public Policy through Low-Income Organizing is a case study of grassroots organizing. Based on research directed by Ann Rivera of the New York University Center for Community Research & Action, and funded by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, the piece highlights how a membership organization of low-income individuals can be an effective force for social, economic, and political change.

A team of three researchers collected data spanning ten years of CVH’s history from our beginning in 1994 to 2005, examining three different organizing campaigns: the passage of the Transitional Jobs Program law in NYC, the implementation of the program, and the ongoing improvement and preservation of the program. In-depth interviews were conducted with CVH members, current and former CVH staff, policy researchers and representatives from local labor unions, funding agencies, government agencies and offices, and other grassroots advocacy groups.

The case study helps to demystify what organizing really is, and outlines how CVH used successful strategies to actually change public policy to improve the lives of thousands of low-income people. It identifies and points to some basic tenets that can be useful to other groups undertaking similar work.

Findings from the research uncover some essentials for engaging low-income constituents to participate in public policy processes:

  • Building leaders fosters and sustains long-term political engagement
  • Constant and targeted contact with constituents encourages long-term investment
  • Engaging people in ongoing activity fosters deeper connections
  • Action-focused base building gets people interested in social change

Additionally, the research highlights some of the critical strategies for groups striving to achieve concrete policy change:

  • Constituent participation in policy making strengthens public policy creation
  • Personal knowledge of issues and community-driven research help fill a knowledge gap
  • Membership base-building drives effective and clear media work and winning alliances

via About CVH | Community Voices Heard. CVH Documentation Report.pdf