As an organizer, there are three core practices that keep me invested in my work. When I'm doing my best work, I'm always fully engaging in these 3 areas, the 3 C's of organizing:
- Courage. We must have the courage to ask difficult questions and make clear asks, give critical and direct feedback, and take risks that might lead us to fail. If we don't have courage, we'll never challenge the status quo, improve ourselves, or motivate others to step into the fray.
- Compassion. If we are not able to really feel and connect with the passions that drive other people's lives, we won't last very long. Compassion isn't sympathy. It's a real sharing of emotions, a solidarity in struggle, that can create the real bonds and connections that make organizing effective.
- Curiosity. Our curiosity is perhaps our greatest asset. The capacity to ask why something is the way it is, to wonder aloud, "What if things were different?" is the spark that lights the fuse of change. These changes can be big societal changes, but they can also be personal changes: simply asking someone why they do things the way they do can lead to real profound individual learning.
If you find yourself struggling, ask if you're engaging your courage, compassion, and curiosity in your work. I find that when I'm not getting the results I want, it's almost always because I'm leaving out one of the 3 C's.
What are your core organizing practices? Share them in the comments!
Jake Waxman is a Campaign Director at NOI