Organizers empower the under-represented win collective political power to create change.
What does an organizer do? What skills do good organizers share? How do organizers get trained?
The Midwest Academy trains organizers on the skills needed to build power for racial, economic and social justice. It has taught practical organizing skills and strategy to thousands of grassroots of organizers for over 50 years through both in-person and online courses.
On May 17th the Midwest Academy celebrates its 50th anniversary in Washington DC along with Senator Bernie Sanders.
What does an organizer do?
Organizers are people-driven problem-solvers. This requires working across events, recruiting, relationship-building, marketing, and healing. They develop and rally people for social change. They assemble all the pieces necessary for social change: vision, skills, incentives, resources, and an action plan. - Brightest
- Identify and understand a vulnerable community, its root problem and how the existing social system has created the problems
- Develop a shared solution and narrative for how the solve the community's problems
- Create an action plan to achieve the desired solution by winning collective power - often through the political system
- Build relationships, bring people together, and educate them on how they can help carry out the plan
- Keep the plan moving forward through trainings, actions, media relations and building solidarity and coalitions
How did the Midwest Academy get started?
Heather is one of the leading strategists about progressive issue and electoral campaigns. She has been an organizer starting in the civil rights, anti-Vietnam War and women’s movements of the 1960s and continuing through today. She created JANE, an underground abortion service started before Roe. She was the founding Director of the Midwest Academy, training social change leaders and organizers. She has been involved in political campaigns and was the Training Director of the Democratic National Committee.
Midwest Academy was founded in 1972 by Heather Booth with money from a labor back pay suit. She hoped to combine the vision and spirit of progressive movements with the practical skills of grassroots organizing. In addition, she sought to elevate the role of women in organizing and forge a path to progressive change through multi-state organizations for the emerging labor, women’s rights, and environmental movements by creating a comprehensive training program that provided organizers with the fundamental skills needed to build and sustain power.
We need to organize for women's rights
Heather Booth, the founder of the Jane Collective, has two pieces of advice: "We need to come together. We need to organize."
"My reaction is that the struggle continues," Booth told NPR when asked about her reaction to the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion. "That every tool we have, from protests to support for the people who are in need, who are looking for a full life and determining the most intimate decision of a person's life about when or whether to have a child or how many children to have, this decision needs to be sustained. So that includes service and support for those people in need, including reestablishing that underground that I was part of in the pre-Roe years." - NPR
Organizer skills training
The Midwest Academy trains organizers with proven tools that build people power, grow strong organizations, governing majorities, and transform communities. What's in a typical training course?
What is Direct Action Organizing
Roles of the Organizer
Exploring Relations of Power
Choosing Issues To Build Power and Win
Strategy Chart To Do Power Analysis and Plan Campaigns
Ensuring Racial Justice is Built into Campaigns
Outreach and Recruitment
Real Change Starts from the Ground Up
"My journey to the White House began as a community organizer in a poor neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, working with people to help improve their lives. An organizer’s work comes with little sleep, little pay, and a lot of sacrifice. There are many days of disappointment. But there are also days when you see real change.
A family that can afford to see a doctor. A teacher who sparks a student’s love of learning. A neighborhood that’s a little healthier and safer for our children. Successes like these taught me about the power and importance of ordinary people coming together to create a better vision — their own vision — for the future. Real change starts from the ground up." - President Barack Obama
TakeAway: Improve your organizing skills with Midwest Academy training.
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