Community Projects as Social Activism: From Direct Action to Direct Services by Benjamin Shepard is an engaging and accessible work that will get today's students excited about the very real prospect of achieving lasting, positive change within their communities. It outlines a distinct approach to community practice born out of the intersection among social movements, day-to-day organizing, and the lessons of five decades of community change practices. This invaluable resource is a must-have for anyone involved in community organization, community health, and community activism practice research and policy.

Identifying Issues

Identifying issues

As the mobilization for Jean Montrevil highlights, the elements of a major campaign often include a clear “ask” born of an issue that galvanizes a group of people. “Set Jean Free,” his supporters declared. The message was simple to convey, and through thoughtful repetition, stakeholders heard it. This chapter considers this first step of our schema: identifying an issue, setting clear goals for the changes that need to be made, and moving them forward. Some of the organizing involves storytelling and most of all getting to the bottom of a given issue. Examples from the Woodlawn Organization, ACT UP, and the Voices of Community Activists and Leaders (VOCAL) help illustrate the point.

Saul Alinski (1969) argued every campaign begins with an issue ...

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