Community Organizing Framework
Rooted in the Chicago-based work of Saul Alinsky and Joe Meegan to organize Catholic churches and other voluntary associations in the late 1930s, community organizing began as a means to address poverty (Miller, 2010). Today, it brings together community members to identify and respond to their priorities collaboratively. Organizing “begins with the premise that the problems facing communities do not result from a lack of effective solutions, but from a lack of power to implement these solutions” and is framed around “democratic values and the social justice teachings of the world’s great religious traditions” (Obama, 1988). It is a set of tools which bring people together for collaborative action, including focusing on:
- Listening to people
- Clarifying common goals
- Framing strategies for action
- Helping build leaders
- Mobilizing the community
These components of organizing – which are focused on relationship building, empowering others, and identifying shared goals – align nicely with the use of restorative justice practices in our collaborative work (CallHub).