Saturday, August 22, 2009

CIF Response on Parent/Community Organizing Blog Post

I've been having some very good conversations with some leading parent activists since the recent controversial post, Organizing Parents: Harder Than Herding Cats (Much), on the work of the Parent Commission.

I hope you read
NYC parent Benita Rivera's comments in this post: Setting a Wild Fire Under Parent Activism.

I spent some time yesterday talking to lower east side activist and CEC One President Lisa Donlan, batting around ideas on getting teachers and parents at the ground level to work together. Lisa's organizing experience offers some excellent insights.

GEM has potential to become an umbrella group, but GEM is still a teacher based group and we have to figure out ways to make things workable.

I don't know Center for Immigrant Families (CIF's) Donna Nevel well, but CIF is already working with GEM. Donna had asked some GEMers to come up and talk to parents about mayoral control and Angel, Sam and Lisa had an excellent session.

When you get it right, No one seems to notice.
But even when you screw up, good outcomes can result. If new links between parent and teacher activists are forged as a result, we may screw up more often.

Donna Nevel sent in these comments:
Hi Norm,

We read your blog on parent organizing and wanted to share with you a little about some of the organizing CIF does. CIF is a collectively-run organization of low income families of color and community members in uptown Manhattan. Our work is based on popular education so everything we do grows out of parents and community members' wisdom, knowledge, and lived experiences. Our goal in our work on public education is to build community power and to fight for justice and real structural and transformative change to our public education system. We believe that being rooted in the community and having our analyses and strategies for organizing emerge from that reality is critical and fundamental to the work we do. We understand the deep and profound connections between the local struggle and the larger struggle city-wide, nation-wide, and, indeed, internationally and engage in each of these areas.

We have worked closely with our allies in the social justice community on many different fronts and look forward to continuing to work together with others who share a vision of social justice and community self-determination that promote shared leadership, mutuality, respect, love, and dignity.

Also, as you know, CIF has joined GEM and believes that building genuine partnerships among teachers, parents, and community members will greatly strengthen the work we are all doing.

Thanks for all the good work you do,
Center for Immigrant Families collective

Center for Immigrant Families (CIF) is a collectively-run and popular education based organization for low income immigrant women of color and community members in Manhattan valley (Uptown NYC). We build from an approach that recognizes the intersectionality of oppressions, and locate our most powerful resistance as one that can emerge from the strength of who we are as women, caregivers, economic providers, survivors, and, essentially, as the “glue” that holds many of our communities together. We work to unlock our collective imaginations, dreams, visions of the society we want for our families and communities to thrive. We organize to transform the conditions of injustice we face and their multi-layered impact on our own lives and that of our communities.

I just donated to CIF. Click here to do the same.

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