Things have been going very well with my current organizing campaign. I have also been looking for ways to become an ally in the neighborhoods I have been working in beyond this specific campaign. I met with a person today from one of the stores and asked what community groups we could go to with our ideas and my heart sank when that person said,"there aren't any, everybody wants to get out."
I have had similar conversations with other people as well. People worried their children will not go to a good high school and in turn won't get to attend college. And that sentiment keeps coming back, what they want more than anything for their children is for them to "get out" of these neighborhoods.
The economic lines have been drawn in this city and the service and retail jobs that are thought of as "temporary work" are the only definite source of income in some neighborhoods. It is these jobs that aren't going to leave that we need to secure as living wage jobs. The declining wage and job insecurity only pushes neighborhoods further into poverty. If people are not making money they have no money to spend, and that will not attract new investments to the neighborhood and this is a cycle that will perpetuate itself as violent crime and instability in the area flourish.
I only get a brief moment to talk with most workers, it's not always enough time to discuss all these elaborate issues that result in the armed robbery that is happening in their workplace. But it is an urgent conversation.
The other half of this is that I do not live in these neighborhoods and do not want to appear that I have all the answers and am going to be a leader. My main objective is to help people understand their rights and not feel helpless.