By Jerome Wendt
A youthful me wanted to make a difference. I became the 12th Volunteer In Service To America (VISTA- Domestic Peace Corps). It was to help eradicate poverty; but it was also a time of civil rights movements in America. So I marched and volunteered.
I had the pleasure of meeting Saul Alinsky a year before he died. His efforts as the founder of community action and organization, and his book “Rules for Radicals” lit a fire beneath me. I came to know the power or grass root organization and the lengths to which it can change social opinion and political action on a large scale. “Back of The Yards” group became a coalition of national Cumminity Action groups . New legislation ensued.
Civil rights showed me further how groups gained power and traction against staid tradition and hatred. I was a “doer” and not a reactionary any longer. I knew the power of conviction, spirit, and determination and how it can multiply. I made a difference then both as one and as one of many. I still believe the universality of this premise holds to this day in modern political/social spheres. Each of us can listen and talk to another to make change. Each convert we add grows the base to be more effective . Inclusiveness with determination gets things done and makes change possible.
Martin Luther King once said “Riot is the language of the unheard”
Our current frustration and angst comes from politicians failing to hear our voice. Community action can help others listen, and together we can effect change.