What Organizing Means

Last week my colleagues and I were assaulted. We’re asking for your help to make it right.

In her acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, Vice Presidential nominee and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin said, “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a `community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities.”

I spent the year after my graduation from Boston College as a Jesuit Volunteer, working as a community organizer at People Organized for Westside Renewal (POWER) in Westside Los Angeles. Now that my volunteer year is over, I am continuing to work as a community organizer with the same great organization.

In my day-to-day job, I help thousands of everyday Americans defend their communities against gentrification and illegal eviction, crime and police abuse, discrimination and bad public schools, and the other products of poverty and marginalization that plague communities throughout this country. I work closely with the mayor of a not-so-small-town (LA), so I have some idea of what his responsibilities are, and I respect them. But I also know that my colleagues and I work longer hours for far less pay than we could be in other sectors because we care about the work we do and the community we work in. This is the type of job you lose sleep over.

Along with thousands of volunteer community leaders, our organization fights to put human values before marketplace values, and in the process we make the communities we work in better, and American democracy stronger. Our leaders are Republicans, Democrats and Independents, but they all care enough to work together for a common cause.

We have an expression in our office that “our touch makes the dead walk.” After years of abuse and neglect, it’s easy to understand how a community’s will to participate in our great democracy  might die out, but through organizing we bring that will and spirit back to life. As community organizers, we activate the democratic spirit in all citizens.

If you believe as I do, community organizing matters to you and you care about what we do! If so, I ask that you please make a donation to my organization, POWER, and then sign the petition below from CREDO Action. The donation will help the organization I work for grow and reach even more communities. The petition is asking Gov. Palin to apologize for her remarks.

You can donate to our organization by visiting our webpage:

http://www.power-la.org

or by mailing a check made out to “POWER” to:

235 Hill St. Santa Monica, CA 90405

Please sign the petition here:

http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/community_organizers/?r_by=807-136286-DhMctZx&rc=paste

Thanks for your help. I hope to write more on organizing and its relationship to church, and the Church in the very near future. Until then, do something that matters to you.

Bill Przylucki is a community organizer in Westside Los Angeles.  He is a former Jesuit Volunteer and a graduate of Boston College.  He believes that you gotta pray like only God can do it, and act like only you can do it.

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About Bill Przylucki

I am the Executive Director of People Organized for Westside Renewal (POWER) in Los Angeles, where I've worked as a community organizer since 2007 (and from Aug. 07 to Aug. 08 was a Jesuit Volunteer). I'm originally from Albany, NY. I went to Boston College (BA '07). I am a drummer and love music. Anything else?

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