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A change is gonna come: a critical study of the impact of a community organizing group on power relations and public life

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Tamara Sharee Fowler (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Advisor
Leila Villaverde

Abstract: This research study examines the impact of the congregation-based community organizing group, Communities Helping All Neighbors Gain Empowerment (CHANGE), on power relations and public life in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Utilizing an action research approach and multiple modes of data collection, I compare and contrast the perspectives of public officials, business leaders, and CHANGE members regarding CHANGE's work in the community. The findings suggest that CHANGE is credited for bringing diverse groups together and increasing participation in public life. While the organization has made some significant inroads in shifting power relations and securing a role in governance, it will need to continue to diversify its constituency to ensure an enduring and effective presence in the community. Recognizing the limitations of a congregation-based approach to civic engagement including the potential marginalization of different groups, this study takes a philosophical turn in its concluding chapter. The need to cultivate democratic citizenship early in people's lives and the role that educators can play in that work is discussed. The importance of creating public spaces, particularly in classrooms, where diverse individuals and groups can engage in meaningful civic discourse and action also is addressed. I argue that integrating community organizing skills can assist in this effort. I assert that educators who engender an organizing consciousness in the classroom can help equip students with skills vital for shaping democratic citizenship.

Additional Information

Publication
Dissertation
Language: English
Date: 2010
Keywords
Communities Helping All Neighbors Gain Empowerment, Community Organizing, Governance, Industrial Areas Foundation, Public Life, Winston-Salem
Subjects
Community organization $z North Carolina $z Winston-Salem.
Community development, Urban $z North Carolina $z Winston-Salem.
Social capital (Sociology)
Social policy.