Mobile Justice (Nov 06)

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I spent last Saturday morning in New Hampshire with people who are actively organizing in mobile home communities (the Manufactured Home Owners Association of America). Their vivid stories were about their hard won successes in such things as tenant’s rights, zoning and financing in situations where their communities have been too often treated as second class. They talked about achieving political representation and establishing legal frameworks and about the difficulties of maintaining resident engagement, but most of all they talked passionately about the places they call home — how many acres, what kinds of homes, where they were and the signs that let you know you were there — in their communities.
As always when I go to listen and speak with organizations doing this kind of work — grounded and deadly practical and also visionary — I am awed by the collective intelligence that NPQ is so privileged to serve and circulate.
It also made me think of a talk by William Schambra that I recently heard at the Nonprofit Congress. He was talking, as he often does, about the core value of nonprofits being in their ability to help organize and give voice and power to community. So, I thought I would share it with you (see link below). This speech will be in the next issue of NPQ but you can see it here first.
The subject line, “Mobile Justice” by the way is a bumper sticker that I picked up while I was in New Hampshire but as I told one of the people I sat with, putting it on my very beat up car** could reinforce stereotypes. So, it will go on the wall of my office along with the “Build Trust” sign that an artists collective was plastering up all over Belfast immediately before the Good Friday Agreement was signed. Collective will.