So What More Can We Do?

Both Tom Angotti and Sharon Zukin towards the end of their books point out and discuss the significances of neighborhoods, how they were made and “destroyed”, and how community and advocacy continue to influence those communities. Quoting from Winona LaDuke, Tom Angotti mentioned “There is no social change fairy. There is only change made by the hands of individuals” (Angotti, 113).


Many times in this class we have discussed the issues surrounding a community, and what can be done in order to inspire change. According to Angotti and LaDuke, change can be made easier if people got together in their communities and spoke of their issues and advocated for them. All of this would be true, if many other sources stated that engagement is the key, not advocacy. It would also be true if organizing communities was the first step in advocacy campaigns. Written by Carole Mahoney, here are “8 Steps to Successful Grassroots Advocacy Campaigns”. These steps will be reflected by the Cooper Square Plan reported by Angotti and Jane Jacobs’s victory by Zukin. The steps go as follow:


1.  Set SMART goals. These goals that are Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic,  and Timely allows for the individuals to properly devise a plan and agree together what they truly want accomplished in their communities.

2. Create the strategy. Now that the goal is set and agreed upon, the activists devise a strategy about how their goals can be accomplished. In this step, they can brainstorm several ways in which every individual can research and go around the community and even outside of the community. They can now know about various forms of successes and failures that they can avoid and incorporate in their own neighborhood.

3. Clearly communicate. In this stage, the activists need to gather a clear and concise message of their goal both to themselves and to the public. Maybe a slogan similar to “We Stay! Nos Quedamos!” comes in handy?

4. Use new media. This step should be easy for the modern age. Facebook your viewers. Instagram some clips. Twitter them. Snapchat them. Text them. Create Google Hangouts. Group FaceTime?(AirTime).  Be a part of the community and just blast the pages of the people who care about your movement.

5. Get fundraising. Now that you’ve gotten people to care, get them involved with some money as well. (In my opinion this can be the hardest step. But this is the climax to your story[outside of engaging policymakers]).

6. Build coalitions. After getting some cash (and gaining popularity), partner with other organizations that has the same mission in other neighborhoods or districts.

7. Organize communities. Use the strategy discussed in step 2 and find out what works and what doesn’t. The results should be used to motivate both the group and its followers.

8. Engage policymakers. Gather the successes, revise the failures and now make the impact with the ones who can directly make a change. Organizations who educate and engage policy makers on the views of the voter around specific issues will be seen as a credible and useful source of information. (This is the second climax to your story[but it may be the most satisfying]).


Those eight steps as usual are easier to be said than done, but as we end our semester with our own research of the various neighborhoods in New York City, it is important to think about how we can incorporate these steps not only in our papers, but also in our thinking as citizens of this city. Advocacy is only half of the coin in order to inspires action, and knowledge, is its other half.


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