Highlander Center responds to Palin’s comments on community organizing

Highlander Center responds to Palin’s comments on community organizing September 18, 2008

The Highlander Center, a well-known Appalachian grassroots activist and education organization, responded recently on their blog to the irresponsible comments made by Sarah Palin regarding community organizing:

We’re sure you heard about Sarah Palin’s comments at the Republican convention mocking community organizers as part of her effort to divert attention from her own inexperience. “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer,” she said, “except that you have actual responsibilities.”

As outrageous as that is, unfortunately, she isn’t the only one dismissing community organizing. Here at Highlander we have seen campaigns and policy efforts for things we believe in ignore the importance of community organizing on the ground, not as an oversight but as an actual strategy. And we think that’s dangerous.

Highlander has been supporting organizing for over 75 years, because we know that any movement that makes the promise of justice and democracy real for all people has to start at the grassroots level.

Organizing brought us the 8-hour work day and stopped child labor in this country. Organizing won the right to vote for women and African Americans; secured access to public buildings for people with disabilities; and gained equality for lesbigaytrans people in multiple states and municipalities. Organizing achieved the environmental protections we have today, and organizers are leading efforts to solve the problems posed by global warming in the short window of time we have now. Organizers on the ground took care of Katrina survivors when government wouldn’t.

The Highlander Center has played a major role in people’s social movements in the american South and beyond since 1932.

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