Great article in the Washington Post recently about the effect that Barack Obama’s election has had on community organizers. That “hope” that Obama kept talking about seems more realistic now, especially for organizers toiling in the trenches.
All I know is that the annual convention for the organizing network that my neighborhood organization belongs to is coming up at the end of March. For years, we have been trying to get Congress to modernize the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA): strengthening the rules guaranteeing lending equity in low-income neighborhoods and extending new regulations over the “shadow” banking industry of sub-prime lenders that has remained beyond the reach of CRA. We made no progress.
Now, in discussions with House and Senate staffers working on banking issues prior to the convention, we aren’t being asked to justify the need for stronger regulations and more expansive equity rules, we’re being asked for the language we want in the bills and the names of neighborhood folks that can testify at hearings on their behalf.
As the Washington Post states:
There’s never been a better time to do what they do: Be an obscure, idealistic, possibly burned-out toiler in a broken neighborhood or a starving country hollow, those American battlegrounds where faith is fragile and clear-cut victories are rare.
And to quote another noted philosopher, Dee Snider of Twisted Sister:
I WANNA ROCK!!!