Spreading the ACORN Gospel from Bristol

ACORN International International Organizing

10659099_851463934906612_4759811263599219174_oBristol              There’s no organizer that doesn’t want things faster, bigger, and better, which is usually why we are both gloriously happy for every day we are allowed to be part of the work and are worrying about the details the rest of the time.  Having now visited our quickly developing ACORN Bristol operation for the third time in the last nine months, there’s still a big grin on my face, because pure and simply, there’s great stuff happening.  Besides the work on the streets and the progress on the nuts and bolts organizing, ACORN Bristol has also fully embraced the evangelical mission of spreading the ACORN gospel throughout England, and it’s catching fire!

I could take a breath and watch more closely on what seemed almost my easiest day on this tour.  A bracing wind and rain in our face hiking briskly to the office from our Easton neighborhood by mid-morning had turned into a cooler, but beautiful day.  If there are farmer’s days, there are organizer’s days:  rain in the morning, sunshine in the afternoon when we are on the doors!  And after helping kick off an all-day training that ACORN Bristol was hosting for 15 community organizers from all over England, I was able to catch up on all of the work that was trailing behind me from various time zones and broken internet connections.  I would zip in every once in and while, and see the organizers circling the tables in a campaign planning exercise one time, practicing doorknocking raps another, and finally debriefing excitedly on their experience on the doors in Easton as well with the shock and awe of finding that the pieces really do come together and by god, it works!

By the final debriefing on the organizers’ return from the neighborhood, the ACORN Bristol circus was in full swing with more than a dozen members from Easton snugly around the table in our small, but practical office excitedly planning an upcoming action with a Halloween theme targeting real estate leasing or “letting” agents that have been part of the major campaign thrust since the group was founded.  I snuck my head in to take a picture as one of the members happened to jump up to demonstrate how a vampire letting agent might dance, and it was a hilarious treat, one of those spontaneous moments that define not just the special beauty of the work, but the joys of life itself.

The trainees in the other room in the final question and answer period were grilling the ACORN Bristol organizer about how they could manage to make this their work too.  How could they raise some money, find a space, and build ACORN in their cities or other cities throughout England?  What could ACORN Bristol do to help?  What could ACORN International add to the mix?  How were they doing the work in London and Edinburgh?  When was Reading starting to build to launch?  Were their plans for Birmingham?  If I could work anywhere, where would I be needed most?

It might not seem like a song to anyone else, but hours later when we walked into the night, a full moon over our shoulder, I thought I could still hear the choir in humming behind me.