Community Organizing is a Vocation too!
Community Organizing is a kind of calling too or a vocation, I believe. There must be a seed of restlessness in the heart of a young man or woman that makes him/ her view society differently from your ordinary guy or gal who thinks of finishing college to make a decent living, raise a family and save for old age. In the midst of worsening poverty, not many young people view solutions to poverty from a structural perspective. If young people do, their family and relatives caution them to go slow and just concentrate on their studies for the sake of their future.
What is this thing called “future”? The future seems to have been programmed for the young by society itself and whether we like it or not the programming is done day by day by the institutions of society – the family, the church, the school, the media and all other institutions or groupings that take a front seat in the daily formation of opinions on societal issues. What does the programming tell us? Take up a career that will make you earn well. In the programming, none is mentioned about the importance of organized efforts as a force that will make people think of life as always linked to society. So most of the successor generation of present societies live their lives outside of the evolution of the economic, political and cultural institutions. When societal problems get too much so that people can no longer live productive lives, these successor generation echo the thoughts of the older generation which is: Blame the leaders of society. That’s how societal problems perpetuate themselves. That’s how history repeats itself. So the concept of a “future” is carved out by society itself from a utopian dream that is cut away from the daily grind of life that is supposed to be embedded in the concept of an accountable society.
Fortunately, there are still a number of young people who, despite the pressures of the rat race to get to the top economic bracket of society, get attracted to the idea of participating actively in the work of shaping society. These young people do not usually get the needed pat on the back from their family and friends. Most of the time, these young people struggle it out to be respected if not accepted for the options they take at a particular period in their lives. The option for the poor is a path filled with controversies and financial hardships. Most parents do not want to see their sons and daughters who they saw through university end up living with the poor in blighted communities and doing community organizing work.
There are young people who feel very strongly that there is something wrong in society and that they want to be part of the alternative to the present state of affairs. These young people must have heard an inner voice telling them that community organizing is a logical thing to do in a sea of poverty issues. For some they call that inner voice a calling. For others they call it the result of a good and relevant education.