Women for a Change: A Grassroots Guide to Activism and Politics

By Thalia Zepatos; Elizabeth Kaufman | Go to book overview
As citizens who believe in democracy, we have the right to as much power as the governmental, corporate, and media sectors. There is no great mystery to the organizing work that must be done to take that power and win improvements on the causes we care about. We just need to do it.
WOMEN WHO DARE
Janet RobideauAfter several years of hard work and good results, I've moved on to work in other citizen organizations and other human rights issues. As a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe from eastern Montana, I'm getting involved in organizing around Native American rights. I'm also active with local groups countering bigotry and the religious right. Now I find that I'm a leader in the groups I'm involved with instead of a novice, because of my experience with the Coalition.It is so critical to build leadership and learn how to share that leadership role. For the first two years of the Coalition, I jealously guarded my position as head of the organization, and I didn't want to share the limelight. I think I believed that no one could do it as well as I. And because I am an aggressive style organizer, people were willing to sit back and let me do almost everything. Eventually it taxed me heavily, and I realized as the organization grew that I couldn't be everywhere at once; that in fact I had to share leadership with others. Then I began to reach out into the membership and develop other leaders. Now the leadership is there in the Coalition to carry on without me.My advice to others is to keep at it, reach out to others; your power is in your numbers. The nursing home industry was tough to take on. Other people and groups discouraged us and told us that we'd never get anywhere, that we didn't know what we were doing. But we kept going. And we won.Notes
Kenneth N. Gilpin, "Vital Signs Improve for the Nursing Home Industry," New York Times, February 27, 1994, p. F5.
We gratefully acknowledge the insight and values of the father of direct action organizing, Saul Alinsky. Please see Chapter 8 for books by and about this important, legendary figure in U.S. history.

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