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Barack Obama Reflection

Essay by   •  April 16, 2017  •  Article Review  •  681 Words (3 Pages)  •  997 Views

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As a community organizer, Barack Obama was increasingly becoming frustrated with the apparent incapacity of the neighborhood-based organizations in their quest to challenge the rather powerful economic and political forces that influenced the lives of the local citizens in Chicago. Subsequently, he hypothesized that neither political empowerment nor economic development among the blacks was viable solutions to the social and economic challenges plaguing the black community in Chicago (Obama, 28). Obama argues that these approaches can only work if enshrined in a systematic approach to community organization. He opines that the issues affecting the inner city are complex, and particularly then as drug abuse, gang involvement, racism, and teen pregnancy became endemic (Obama, 28).

Obama states that community organizing is the best solution to the problems that plague the inner city. He surmises that community organizing has the potential to create cooperative think tanks where experienced organizers can train future ones as well as remodel different approaches to suit new challenges better. Obama also hypothesizes that the black churches are the best grounds to spread the ideals of community organizing. He states that instead of only supporting some candidates for their political quests and providing a home for the homeless, the church can indeed have a profound impact on the social, economic, and political lives of the people in the inner city (Obama, 31). Furthermore, popularizing community organizing and ensuring that those who pursue the noble work are well compensated will also go a long way in ensuring that many young talented blacks view it as a legitimate revenue generating activity as well as a career option.

While Minkler and Wallerstein discuss many different concepts in community building and community organization, two key concepts are of particular interest to me. Firstly, the most significant in my opinion is empowerment. Minkler and Wallerstein define this particular concept as a social action process that allows people in a community to gain mastery in various parameters to effect change both in their lives as well as their communities (45). In as much as communities may not spatially be connected, they share common interests and therefore, by empowering them; they are in a better position to increase the control over their lives. Empowerment enables the said communities to gain monitoring of the different decisions and factors that affect their lives. Subsequently, without a mind awakening through empowerment, communities may fail to realize their potential in as far as increasing their attributes and assets are concerned.

The second concept is issue selection, which Minkler and Wallerstein have defined as the active process of identifying the best and specific targets to effect change



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