Gaining Entrance to a Community
Review at least three of the following videos that share stories of communities that have mobilized to make change:
Bill Moyers Journal: Santa Ana Health Crusade (Links to an external site.)
Greening The Ghetto (Links to an external site.)
Strong Threads: Stories of Justice from the Laotian Organizing Project (Links to an external site.) (Click here for video transcript)
The Sunset High Student Organizing Committee: A Youth Leadership Success Story (Links to an external site.) (Click here for video transcript)
Where We Live: The Changing Face of Climate Activism (Links to an external site.) (Click here for video transcript)
In each of these examples, the community’s mobilization efforts were acknowledged, and some rewarded by the local government and public health departments. When effective community mobilization efforts are identified by public health departments, it is common for a representative from the department to be assigned to work with the group and help support and continue its work. Imagine that you are a health promotion specialist at the health department and have been assigned to serve as the department’s liaison to one of these groups.
One of the first and most important steps in the community organizing process is gaining entrance into and the trust of the community with which you are assigned to work. Who we are as individuals has a big impact on how readily accepted we might be by a community and what our role can and should be when we work with them. In your discussion post:
Analyze what effect your personal characteristics (e.g. age, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic background, etc.) might have on your interactions with this community. Questions to consider:
How are you different from or similar to the community?
How do you think you would be perceived by the community based on your personal characteristics?
Why might the community be hesitant to involve you in their work?
Examine what issues might arise for you in gaining access to and the trust of the community.
Formulate strategies you would use to effectively gain access to and the trust of the community.
Identify at least two areas for personal development that would help you to be able to effectively work with the community. Questions to consider:
What experience do you have working with this community?
What do you know or not know about this community and the issue?
What particular work might you have to do to effectively gain the trust of the community?
What are your “developmental edges” (what professional development do you need) for community mobilization work?