While traveling around the world with my wife and romantic ally, Laura Mullkoff, we have had the opportunity to meet many amazing people and learn much about realities confronting communities throughout the world. I have focused much of my time on learning from organizers who are working on community and labor based movements for social, economic, and racial justice. Both within and outside of the United States I have been honored to share time with some of the most impressive organizers and movement leaders in the world.
This blog will share video highlights of these interviews in small digestible bits neatly packaged for our go-go world – distilling some of the best stories and lessons that I have come across so far.
With the growing influence of big money in politics and anti-democracy movements spreading throughout our states, justice focused organizations in the US have a very high bar to reach if we are going to make the impact needed to win lasting victories based in community values. Organizations are regularly growing, changing and dying. I am interested in how can organizations improve their efforts and build more power. There is much we can learn from each other and our colleagues around the world – many of whom have created incredible impact despite having fewer resources than most US based organizers and organizational leaders.
To date I have completed 17 interviews and plan on posting edited highlights to share some of the lessons I have learned and relearned along the way. I have been inspired on multiple occasions at the ability of ignored and forgotten groups of people to rise up and claim what they believe they deserve from life – many times putting their own lives on the line to get it. There are some awesome bits from the people in these interviews and I hope that I can do their leadership justice as I work to make it accessible here.
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I am launching the site with three major highlights:
– The first interview I conducted for this project with Amisha Patel of the Grassroots Collaborative in Chicago, an incredibly smart, kicking ass and taking names kind of organization that is changing business as usual in Chicago’s closed political environment;
– Pamela Twiss, the Organizing Director from Take Action Minnesota – which from my perspective is one of the most complete citizens organizations in the United States. Talking with Pamela is like attending a clinic on how to build a strong organization; and
– Magdiel Carrion Pintado, President of CONACAMI (Communities Affected by Mining) a community based organization in Peru whose members are rural towns. They have done inspiring work in the face of violent repression and stopped international mining interests in their boot tracks.
Coming up quickly I’ll post part of the interview with Louisa Wall, a young member of New Zealand’s parliament who is playing a central role in the fight for marriage equality in New Zealand; As well as some words from Kieth Kelleher, one of the most effective grassroots union organizers in recent United States Labor History. Stay tuned by clicking the follow button! I will regularly add more bits as I have time to get them up.
I have learned a good bit about interviewing, video equipment, editing, transcribing, and translating over the past several months and am very excited to be sharing some of the conversations I have had with these incredible organizers. Keep in mind this is still a novice effort and I am open to any suggestions and support you might have to offer. Thanks and take care!