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Rebuilding Our Institutions

32 pages

Product Description

"This book is about how we rebuild those institutions of our society so that we can rebuild our democratic culture and use it to change the way we are doing things in this country and around the world," says Ernesto Cortes, Jr., the co-executive director of the Industrial Areas Foundation and a passionate spokesperson for social justice and the common good.

He argues that community organizing cultivates the practices needed for democracy to thrive, including one-on-one relational meetings, house meetings, and systemic reflection on them afterwards. "These small group meetings are about telling stories and developing narratives," he says, "but also inquiring into the deep concerns affecting people's daily lives. The quality of schools, the absence of safe playground equipment, flooding, low wages, lack of health care, these types of issues are all too often a part of the daily lives of low and moderate income families. These small group conversations, properly directed and aimed, then lead to research actions to explore the dynamics, dimensions, and complexities of an issue, in order to prepare for public action."

This book contains several examples from organizations in California, Louisiana, and Texas that helped local congregations and other mediating institutions identify, confront, and change things that were destroying their families and communities. No one in America has thought harder, longer, and more creatively about what ails our democracy and how to fit it than Ernie Cortes.

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