With the mayoral candidate race in full swing, people in Colorado Springs are hungry for local governmental changes. The Community Organizing department of The Independence Center (The IC) and Midwest Academy from Chicago teamed together to bring community organizing training to non-profit and governmental staff, The IC staff, and citizens who advocate for disability rights.
Topics regarding public transit, fair housing, building accessibility, healthcare, and equal opportunity for employment are concerning people with disabilities in Colorado Springs. Community organizing is the tool that will enable them to make important advances in these areas. Carrie Baatz, a Community Organizer at The IC says that community organizing is about, “…bringing people together who all share a similar struggle with a broader social problem and empowering them to create change and advocate.”
During the two and a half day training, attendees examined topics including understanding power, developing campaign strategies, recruiting community advocates, facilitating meetings with decision makers, and more. This training prepared community members for a structured and long-term change to social justice. Matthew Ruggles, a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Coordinator at The IC and a person who is Deaf, said “If you really want to make social change work you really have to think ahead and plan. This training taught us how to do that. It taught us how to be a catalyst for change.”
The IC hopes to bring more community organizing trainings to Colorado Springs and continues to provide tools for the community, such as the election resources found here.