Results tagged “community leaders” from LTG Blog

Macro Practice in Social Work for the 21st Century

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LTG partner, Steve Burghardt has just published a textbook with Sage Publications, Macro Practice in Social Work for the 21st Century. Combining his earlier work as a community organizer and his recent years as an LTG consultant and executive coach with human service agencies, the book develops an integrated "macro meets micro" approach for social workers and community organizers. By using a story-telling approach at the start of each chapter that features two young organizers at the start of their careers and as they develop into a field director and agency executive, the work follows the life span of those who work in the field, arguing that a commitment to social justice need not end at the grass roots level.

One of the most exciting chapters was written by LTG consultant Mohan V Krishna, who explored the use of the Internet as a vital organizing tool. By focusing on the explosion of "virtual organizing" after the defeat of Proposition 8 in California, Krishna goes on to analyze both the power to mobilize nation-wide actions that the internet provides as well as the possible limits in the creation of "virtual trust" and the implications for long-term organizing efforts.

After our 200-person book launch at Hunter College School of Social Work, Willie Tolliver and I were lucky enough a week later to be invited to speak about our book Stories of Transformative Leadership in the Human Services: Why the Glass is Always Full by our good friend Emily Rubin at the Supportive Housing Network of New York’s (SHNNY) 9th annual conference at the New York Hilton.

It went well; hell, it went really well. We started with 100 people in the room and ended with 125 folks, some of them crammed against the exit door. Nobody left, we got thoughtful questions, lots of folks wanted to buy the book. All good. Emily had ensured a well-organized event, and she came through. We felt honored to have been there; happy to see some former students’ faces, equally pleased that most came for the topic and not because we were known to them at all.

Barack Obama was a community organizer before he moved on to do somewhat different things. Sarah Palin was a small town mayor, a job she describes as “like an organizer, only with actual responsibilities.” So what exactly is a community organizer? So far from this election, you’d think it was a short-term job for young people, waiting around to grow up.

As a long-time professor of community organizing at City University of New York’s Hunter College School of Social Work, I’d like to offer for counterpoint a few stories on who community organizers are, what they do, and what happens to them as they move along in their careers. Some folks might be surprised.

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