Skip to main content

View Diary: BUILDING DIVERSE ORGANIZATIONS: Part 1.1 - How Organizations Are Founded (33 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Gotcha, I think, I was maybe looking at a (0+ / 0-)

    more nuts and bolts type of "faction."

    For example, with the illustration of providing shelter for battered women [and this is all admittedly conjecture, I don't pretend to know anything about this]. If one segment of the group felt the basic answer was simply to make safe physical places available, another urged a primary focus on making some form of personal counseling available, yet another might think legal advice was of paramount importance, etc. If a group was formed by a few lawyers to help provide shelter for battered women they may try to include many different elements as resources for the women they sought to help, but it seems likely that they might highlight the legal aid aspects more than a group formed by realtors or dentists.

    People who didn't support the mission at all, almost without regard to how it was defined, would likely drift away quickly. Sometimes when we really,REALLY care we can end up competing with allies, though. (And I mean in a not necessarily productive way).

    Every situation may require particular combinations of people to nurture a group into existence. Sharing your experiences as an organizer may only be part of what you're doing here. The other part is actually modeling it; forming a group about forming groups.

    An optimist may see a light where there is none, but why must the pessimist always run to blow it out? Rene Descartes

    by Had Enough Right Wing BS on Thu Jul 28, 2011 at 05:33:40 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Organizations have a mission (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Had Enough Right Wing BS

      and certainly it's fine to focus.  But let's take the example of the organization that provides legal aid to battered women. They're lawyers and they are going to do what they do best -- use the law to provide support to the community they want to serve.  And it's fine if they aren't focused on personal counseling and safe spaces (as long as they have ties to organizations that provide those things and can refer clients). And dentists might organize to create free dental clinics for communities in need, and so on.  These are all admirable goals and it would be foolish to have two competing (rather than cooperative) organizations providing the same services. Competing against allies is always a bad idea because the communities you serve are the ones who lose out.  But that's a separate issue from diversity, in my opinion.

      My concern in this handbook is to pay attention to how each organization, with its separate mission, can diversify in the context of its own field of endeavor.  

      It's interesting, though, that you speak of modeling.  I'm not sure that can really happen here.  My intent is not to form a group with a mission, but to provide a resource folks can use to help create or change groups, and a place to discuss these questions. If they (you) want to try these suggestions out in practice, I'll be happy to discuss strategy and tactics and to offer what help I can, but I'm not setting myself up as any kind of founder or leader in this particular space.

      There are existing anti-racism (etc.) individuals and groups whose job it is to provide diversity training, counseling, consciousness raising. Some of them are excellent, and some of them are not.  Some are grassroots activist groups, and others are making a good profit in what's become the "diversity industry."  (I'll talk about the industry at a later point.) In my opinion, it would be a good thing to pick the one(s) you like and throw your weight behind them, to prevent just the sort of competition with allies that you warn against. :)

      "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

      by hepshiba on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 01:11:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I may be the worst imaginable person as far as (0+ / 0-)

        forming an organization. Yet so much needs to be done. I've waited too long for better leaders to present themselves, and frankly I'll always be looking to hand off a big chunk to "more and better" activists.

        I think, using your handbook, I might find ways to combine efforts with others. Working as an individual has its satisfactions but it's not as productive.

        As part of the effort to build diversity into organizations you mention identifying the natural leaders of various communities. Will your series explore not only how to find these leaders but how to get them involved, or is that too basic? Spotting people who attract followers can be obvious, but what about people who have a hidden capacity for leading?

        I've always appreciated the value of diversity, but I'm desperate enough for pretty much any leaders that I can also understand if people are tempted to "just get started."

        An optimist may see a light where there is none, but why must the pessimist always run to blow it out? Rene Descartes

        by Had Enough Right Wing BS on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 05:58:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I will be covering (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Had Enough Right Wing BS

          how to connect with existing community leaders, and to encourage emerging leaders in a diverse organization. Again, there's no single recipe for this, but there are strategies that organizations can use to maximize their chances of attracting the interest of leaders from under-served communities.

          "If you fake the funk, your nose will grow." -- Bootsy Collins

          by hepshiba on Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 06:36:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site