Thursday, September 11, 2008

You Might Be a Community Organizer, If...*

If you've seen a wrong and worked with others to make it right...

You might be a community organizer.


If you've ever volunteered at a soup kitchen, spent time working at a food distribution center, worked with the homeless, or delivered meals to the elderly or shut-in...

You might be a community organizer.


If you've participated in Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Campfire Girls, 4-H, Future Business Leaders of America, or any number of organizations geared toward empowering youth and preparing them to be responsible adults...

You might be a community organizer.


If you've adopted a highway, a street, a neighborhood, a block, or a corner and helped in efforts to beautify it or keep it litter-free, drug-free, or crime-free...

You might be a community organizer.



If you've walked to support research for breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, any cancer, or AIDS...

You might be a community organizer.


If you've joined the PTA, coached a youth sports team, volunteered in your kids' classroom, or participated in educating young people...

You might be a community organizer.




If you've spent time in Peace Corps or AmeriCorps, organized or participated in Habitat for Humanity or Rebuilding Together, or volunteered to assist with clean-up efforts in the wake of natural disasters...

You might be a community organizer.



If you've mentored an at-risk youth, tutored in an after-school program, or provided guidance and counseling to young people and adults who want to improve their standing in life...

You might be a community organizer.


If you've participated in programs that ensure the safety, health, and welfare of GLBTIQ, worked to ensure the rights of immigrants, or volunteered to register voters...

You might be a community organizer.


If you've advocated for the rights of children to be safe from those who would harm them, fostered a child, worked with the developmentally disabled, or provided moments or months of care to a child in need...

You might be a community organizer.



If you've ever organized a protest, participated in a peaceful demonstration, or advocated for environmental responsibility and sustainability...

You might be a community organizer.


If you're a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, brother, or sister and you participate actively in the lives of your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or siblings...

You might be a community organizer.


If you've worked for a non-profit or fought to end hunger, war, disease, poverty, and destruction...

You might be a community organizer.

Pentagon 9/11 Memorial:
The result of a community of families in mourning coming together and creating a lasting remembrance of their loved ones.


If you've made the recognition of admirable leaders, or the remembrance of those lost in wars and acts of terrorism a focus in your life...

You might be a community organizer.

*****

Maybe I've oversimplified or overdone what it means to be a community organizer, but I believe, if you've done any good in the world today, you've contributed to making our homes, neighborhoods, communities, cities, states, nations, and the world a better place. Government can't, and shouldn't, solve everything, but to belittle those of us who contribute our time, talents, skills, knowledge, and resources is to discount the good done by millions of people, in little and big ways, seen and unseen, sung and unsung every day. The fact is, for those who choose to work in government and run for office, we make your jobs easier.


* Written in the spirit of Jeff Foxworthy, who humanized rednecks everywhere. Now there's a community organizer I can appreciate!

Photo copyrights: Google Images; Pentagon 9/11 Memorial: Bill O'leary, The Washington Post

15 comments:

Virginia said...

The problem is that there are not enough people like you who take the time to highlight the wonderful work that goes on day in and day out by selfless people that give from their hearts to help those in need. Our blogs give us a forum for doing just that. Amazingly my blog, has led me down some paths that I previously would not have followed. A blessing indeed.

"We cannot do great things, but we can do small things with great love." Mother Teresa

Cele said...

Wow, humbling to say the least, thought provoking, and did I mention humbling?

I think being involved with your community begins with rearing and home life. I began community involved. And have sadly married men who are not. I let that involvement that was so important to me in my younger years, fade into my past. My fault, not theirs - so please don't take that as an "it's their fault, they made me that way."

For years it has been eating at me that I haven't been giving back to my community. I began doing one little thing, that lead to two little things, and now I'm starting a big thing (I hope.)

I loved Virginia's quote, it's very appripo...but Hillary had a great one too, "It takes a village." And who in the heck said, "Charity begins at home?"

So back to the humble. I've done a little, and yes that is a mentionable, but there is so much more that I should have and should do. Thank you for reminding and humbling me.

To those who do and will each and every day, week, or year - I salute and honor you.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Beautiful post, Tewkes.

Herb of DC said...

Standing ovation!

Awesome post, Tewkes!

D.C. Confidential said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
j.m. tewkesbury said...

Virginia: I love that quote from Mother Teresa, because it's so true. So often, I think many Americans feel like they have to do something really big and outwardly significant to make a difference. In fact, it's the little things that matter and change lives!


Cele: There's another saying or scripture that says, "Charity never faileth." Like you, I've been remiss in giving more of my time and talents to those who could use a hand. Let's make a pact together to change that, shall we?


SML: Thank you!


Herb: Thanks! Note to Sarah Palin: Put that in your snarky, biting, counterproductive, disparaging, bad-mouthing, sarcastic, patronizing pipe and smoke it!

Cele said...

Tewkes, you're on.

Anonymous said...

That was beautiful, Tewkes. Can you get this into the Washington Post? I dare you to send this.

I think I know what's wrong with the (cough cough) "elite media." Most of them are too unequipped to write about complex issues, so they instantly latch onto "lipstick on a pig," and "hockey mom" soundbites.

Thank you for going into some depth here.

- phoebe

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Cele: Done!


Phoebe: Perhaps I'll send a letter to the editor. As for your assessment of the "elite media": soundbites are easy. Real reporting actually requires journalists to work and media outlets to be patient and let the story unfold. Sadly, in the 25-hour cable news cycle, that ain't gonna happen.

Herb of DC said...

A commentator on another blog (and sadly i don't remember which one) pointed out that Jesus was a communty organizer and Pontius Pilate was a governor!

Colin's Ghost said...

Love it -- well said!

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Herb: I've long tried to convince conservatives in the tribe of my upbringing that Jesus was far more radical than they give him credit for being. The dude really shook up the status quo! Unfortunately, his brand of radicalism is lost on most Christians, esp. on the far right.


Colin's Ghost: Thank you!

mouse (aka kimy) said...

herb of dc beat me to the punch...I heard that remark this weekend and thought it was right on - or as some wise blogger I read states 'spot on'...

I'm sure you've seen the great bumpersticker which says 'when jesus said "love your enemies," I think he probably meant don't kill them.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

whoops, meant to also say BEAUTIFUL post....thanks!

j.m. tewkesbury said...

Kim: I love that bumper sticker! I read a quote somewhere, too, that said something like "If Jesus came back today, he'd throw up."