The fourth edition of Community Organizing and Community Building for Health and Social Equity provides both classic and recent contributions to the field, with a special accent on how these approaches can contribute to health and social equity. The 23 chapters offer conceptual frameworks, skill- building and case studies in areas like coalition building, organizing by and with women of color, community assessment, and the power of the arts, the Internet, social media, and policy and media advocacy in such work. The use of participatory evaluation and strategies and tips on fundraising for community organizing also are presented, as are the ethical challenges that can arise in this work, and helpful tools for anticipating and addressing them. Also included are study questions for use in the classroom.
Many of the book’s contributors are leaders in their academic fields, from public health and social work, to community psychology and urban and regional planning, and to social and political science. One author was the 44th president of the United States, himself a former community organizer in Chicago, who reflects on his earlier vocation and its importance. Other contributors are inspiring community leaders whose work on-the-ground and in partnership with us “outsiders” highlights both the power of collaboration, and the cultural humility and other skills required to do it well.
Throughout this book, and particularly in the case studies and examples shared, the role of context is critical, and never far from view. Included here most recently are the horrific and continuing toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a long overdue, yet still greatly circumscribed, “national reckoning with systemic racism,” in the aftermath of the brutal police killing of yet another unarmed Black person, and then another and another, seemingly without end. In many chapters, the authors highlight different facets of the Black Lives Matter movement that took on new life across the country and the world in response to these atrocities. In other chapters, the existential threat of climate change and grave threats to democracy also are underscored.