Healing Arts, Spirituality & Community Organizing
How can we better talk about the energy that causes people to rise-up? How do we shift away from an obsession with strong individual leaders in favor of a more spiritual, creative and multicultural understanding of collaborative leadership and the energy that social movements generate and need?
Community organizing is a deeply spiritual practice of story-sharing and relationship-building that includes and goes beyond current images of direct action.
Marches and protests are just one visible part of social movements. Community organizers dedicate their life to changing inequality. Malcolm X, Dolores Huerta, Cesar Chavez, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others exemplify leaders whose power is bigger than themselves or a single issue.
Join Erika Katsky and Vivian Chávez in a conversation about community organizing as a spiritual/relational practice. Erika is a community organizer with more than 20 years' experience in faith, labor, LGBT and public school communities. She began her career in New York City first at the Jewish feminist organization Ma’yan and then as an organizer at Citizen Action of New York and in California with the PICO National Network. Vivian is Associate Professor of Health Education at SF State who has been teaching Community Organizing in Public Health (HED 455) for the last 17 years. A storyteller by nature, she has collaborated with community-based organizations to disseminate their work, including: "Prevention is Primary: Strategies in Community Wellbeing"; "Drop That Knowledge: Youth Radio Stories"; "Media Advocacy en Español"; and "Cultural Humility Principles & Practices." Her work integrates the arts, culture and the body. Erika and Vivian are both avid yoga practitioners and Changemaker Fellows at the Pacific School of Religion.
The Department of Health Education offers GE courses in community organizing through the lens of the arts/humanities. These courses build student leadership & social change skills. Teaching methods involve developing a student-centered environment focused on cultural humility, human rights and non-violence. Instructors use short written assignments and various forms of expressive arts to engage students creatively in critical self-reflection and social analysis. Inclusion is modeled throughout the semester to develop a dynamic classroom where everyone participates building community-identity and learning organizing skills from the inside out.
Pictured: The Chi of Organizing by Juana Alicia, 2001