Organizing matters to democracy because it’s
participatory, it’s about being involved. As citizens, people and residents, democracy
doesn’t operate without us. And if democracy doesn’t operate without us, then what is
a vehicle or mechanism by which we participate in that democracy? That vehicle is organizing.
We have to talk and collaborate amongst ourselves, and think and brainstorm and be creative about
how we want to live collectively. That’s what makes organizing part of democracy and
why it‘s important to democracy, because if no one participates, then what is democracy?
It’s just a really good plan. Democracy is a gift for us, but not one that
we just receive, put somewhere and think that everything will be okay. I see it as a gift
that we have to maintain and take care of. And I think that organizing matters because
it’s a way that ordinary people can be involved. It is also a way for us to understand what
democracy is, that it’s not just voting in elections every four years, but also holding
our representatives accountable. It’s a way for us to understand our civic responsibility,
for us to be part of the public arena and part of the process to build our society,
our communities and make them better. It isn’t about fighting between politicians and citizens,
but about cooperation. And if we want that cooperation, then we have to be involved.
It is time for us to do something, not just wait. I think people sometimes think or take for
granted that they live in a democracy, but don’t really have an idea of what that is.
The community members that we work with in Idaho are primarily low income, including
immigrant and low-income white communities. And for many of them, they may live in a democracy
and may have an abstract view of what that is, but they don’t really feel that their
voices are heard. Community organizing gives them the opportunity to participate in the
legislative process and impact policies that affect them.