VIDEO: How Radical Organizing Still Works for Community Empowerment

By Ruby Maddox

One of my favorite Community-Based Organizations is City Life/Vida Urbana (CL/VU). I wrote about this organization while still in graduate school.

City Life/Vida Urbana is located in Jamaica Plains, Ma area. The organization is true grassroots community organization “whose mission is to fight for racial, social and economic justice and gender equality by building working class power through direct action, coalition building, education and advocacy.”  The organization believes that by  organizing poor and working class people of diverse race and nationalities, they promote individual empowerment, develop community leaders, and are building a movement to effect systemic change and transform society.   Their tagline: Building Solidarity to Put People Before Profits

The organization works in 3 areas:

  • Bank Organizing: Post-Foreclosure Eviction Defense Campaign
  • Movement Building and Leadership Development
  • Tenant Organizing

CL/VU combines traditional grassroots techniques (door to door canvassing) with contemporary outreach strategies and employs them to stall foreclosures and further organize the community around these issues. Additionally they hold rally’s against big banking corporations like Bank of America, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac, and employ volunteer attorneys to help advise residents of their rights. CL/VU’s philosophy hinges on developing people’s capacity to realize their own power. While CL/VU assist residents in staying in their homes, they operate several leadership workshops that give people the skills to advocate for themselves.

An addition to CL/VU’s innovative use of street organizing and social media (The group has its own YouTube channel), CL/VU also holds also a silver-level Guidestar Exchange participant rating, demonstrating their commitment to transparency.
If you’re interested in learning more about CL/VU you can go here and sign up to receive newsletters, volunteer, or intern.

How can your organization integrate radical organizing to achieve your cbo’s mission?

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