the failure of organizing

colist at colist at
Mon Nov 15 08:32:29 CST 2004

[ed:  Leslie continues the conversation.]

From: "Leslie Ramyk" <ccbi at>

Thanks so much, Randy, for taking the time to share your reaction and
observations regarding our recent election.  It helped me to
articulate my own disappointment and frustration--and then I forwarded
your post to sixteen community organizations in Chicago.

The responses were varied.  First, I was reminded that in Illinois,
community organizing won--big time!  Families were mobilized and voted
on their values...Kerry won, and we gave the nation Barack Obama as a
US Senator.  [Many national funders supported Get Out the Vote work
here.  But funding for GOTV work is complicated.  It cannot be done
locally or in just one state.  GOTV funders have to meet strict
regulations, which makes it even harder for nonprofits to raise funds
for this activity.]

Second, I was gently but firmly told that 'gay rights' simply isn't
going to work in the Black church--and many of our community orgs here
are faith-based and/or include Black church-goers.  BUT that doesn't
mean that they see the current federal administration as "moral."  In
fact, I was told, it is quite the opposite:  it is immoral for Bush to
enrich himself and his friends while poverty increases in the country,
it is immoral for Bush to send other people's children off to a war
that was unprovoked, it is immoral for working-poor families to have
no access to affordable health care. 

We're thinking that the problem wasn't a lack of addressing gay rights
(although there is certainly room to do that).  It was the lack of
clear, nation-wide messages on the immorality of the current


Leslie Ramyk
Director, CCBI
Chicago Community Organizing Capacity Building Initiative

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