Again and again social change movements—on matter s from the environment to women’s rights—have been run by middle-class leaders. But in order to make real progress toward economic and social change, poor people—those most affected by social problems—must be the ones to speak up and lead.
It can be done. Linda Stout herself grew up in poverty in rural North Carolina and went on to found one of this country’s most successful and innovative grassroots organizations, the Piedmont Peace Project. Working for peace, jobs, health care, and basic social services in North Carolina’s conservative Piedmont region, the project has attracted national attention for its success in drawing leadership from within a working-class community, actively encouraging diversity, and empowering people who have never had a voice in policy decisions to speak up for their own interests. The Piedmont Peace Project demonstrates that new ways of organizing can really work.
Bridging the Class Divide tells the inspiring story of Linda Stout’s life as the daughter of a tenant farmer, as a self-taught activist, and as a leader in the progressive movement. It also gives practical lessons on how to build real working relationships between people of different income levels, races, and genders. This book will inspire and enrich anyone who works for change in our society.
In far too many organizational meetings, equal speaking opportunity seldom results in equal say. Factors such as race, class, and personal history too often inhibit open dialogue within and among groups, which can lead to a sense of disenfranchisement within the organization, and subsequently, disillusionment with the movement.
Collective Visioning is the first visioning method to address these hurdles in the organizing process and to fully enable members to share their opinions without hesitation. Linda Stout uses her background and her own personal experience of marginalization within the organizing community to show how trainers can be more mindful of the diversity of their members as they strive toward a common goal.
The book features a clear, actionable, step-by-step process to set up and create a welcoming space for activist leaders to collaborate for positive change. Stout details ways in which trainers should reach out to different groups, listen to and understand needs and concerns of the group, create a welcoming space for all voices, foster agreements, ensure the visibility of all members.
Highly recommend each of these books. I have had the pleasure of working with and learning from Linda Stout. These two books changed the way I approach at my role as a teacher; my role as a community organizer and change maker. Her approach is both straight forward and positive, focusing on giving voice and vision to new leaders and changemakers. Her work is profound and will help teachers understand how to use their role in education to help create positive change in their communities both locally and nationally.
It is also important during the current events in #Ferguson to know how to talk to your students and families about what is happening. Also what is happening their could easily happen in your communities. The visioning method is also just a great way to thinking about approaching a student centered education. I love this work, so feel free to message me if you want to discuss it or have any questions.
Find both books here
-Adventures in Learning