On August 4th, Linda Sarsour, an activist and community organizer, lectured about her work as a community organizer in New York City. She first differentiated between activism and community organizing. “An activist cares about an issues and shows up to protests, rallies, or meetings as an individual. Whereas, a community organizer is an individual who builds the power of a local community by training and building new leaders, and growing a group that is passionate about a cause.”
Ms. Sarsour explained to the LLSP class how to build a campaign. First, have “one on one” meetings to build your team. Then, do research and collect data about the issue you are combatting, and determine the campaign cost. Develop a mission, which is a broad concept and more of an overarching theme. Then, Make goals, which are similar to a mission, but more focused and a little more attainable. Finally, create objectives, which are attainable goals depending upon the resources available.
After highlighting the steps to building an effective campaign, Ms. Sarsour explained to the group that, “one on one” meetings are crucial in community organizing. These “one on one” meetings are “usually 20 minutes, and they are a deliberate conversation about the particular issue you are trying to change. In those 20 minutes, I usually try to find out if the person I am speaking to is interested in the particular issue I am working on, and if so what their skills are.” She went on to say, “a “one on one” conversation is never a waste because even if the person is not interested in my current issue, I can call on them in the future.” We are grateful to Ms. Sarsour for her insights and leadership as a community organizer, and for advising LLSP 2016 on their own campaign ideas.