Forty-one Years of ACORN: Celebrating a Day in the Work

ACORN ACORN International Canada Community Organizing Ideas and Issues International Organizing

acorn-signOttawa Having founded ACORN in Little Rock, Arkansas forty-one years ago today, it is hard not to reflect on how fortunate I have been to be a part of ACORN in one form or another all of those years, first as Chief Organizer of ACORN in the United States for thirty-eight years and now adding another three to the seven I have served as Chief Organizer for ACORN International.  Here in Ottawa on the eve of the first membership convention of ACORN Canada after seven years of organizing successfully in this country and watching the members arrive yesterday and today, the privilege of being a part of this work on a daily basis is overwhelming.

Yesterday was not necessarily a typical day and in fact I might even say it was an extraordinary day, but whatever kind of day it was, it gave good cause to celebrate how special a day in the work as an organizer continues to be.

  • Start the day writing the Chief Organizer Blog and expresses some thanks to FairTrade Canada and the prospects of a breakthrough for the partnership of COMUCAP and ACORN International in Honduras.  If it works, it could be a big step towards the self-sufficiency of our Latin American affiliates in the future.
  • Write the preface for Global Grassroots:  International Perspectives on Organizing, second book to be published by Social Policy Press and due out by July 4th.
  • Take the draft minutes for the ACORN Canada board meeting and then the Annual General Meeting (AGM) required by Canadian charity law, enjoy the serious deliberation of the leadership and head organizer, Judy Duncan, and occasionally get pulled into the discussion on our joint Remittance Justice Campaign.
  • Finalize the confirmation with the organizers of the Palermo Movement in Sicily to visit with them and the Simeto River organization in Catania in early October to discuss partnership and affiliation after the Organizers’ Forum delegation completes its work in Cairo.
  • Agree to meet with the Urban Affairs Department of the University of Memphis at the Highland Center in mid-October to assist with their planning.
  • Get the call that we have a tentative agreement to accept a donation to ACORN International of a mobile bio-diesel station for New Orleans that will be ready for pick-up in Santa Barbara, California within the month!
  • Spend an hour in a conference call with organizers for four different groups in Springfield, Massachusetts sharing the lessons from our Katrina work and discussing immediate steps necessary to organize and assist survivors in winning forbearance and rebuilding after the devastating tornado recently in that city.
  • Have a couple of juicy burgers with Kool-Aid hosted by one of the leaders of Ottawa ACORN for the British Columbia members already here and get to discuss with her husband some of his thoughts after having read Citizen Wealth.
  • Sit in on the final details staff meeting for the ACORN Canada convention at 11 PM, run the ACORN International “bootleg” fundraiser, and participation in the stress and camaraderie.

I’ve been one of the luckiest people in the world to get to do something that I love and that makes a difference every day and all of my life.

A day in the life of an organizer may be hard issues, but it is “good times!”