I got thrown into this job, which is funny because I think that’s how everyone gets into organizing. It’s usually by chance, though sometimes something happens in your life and it really ticks you off and you wonder, ‘man, how do I fix that?’ and then somehow you fall into organizing. It’s really just community support, which is cool because you build awesome relationships.
CCI is the powerhouse in Iowa of organizing, but we are connected nationally to a bunch of different groups. Whenever you are able to get together with a bunch of organizers it’s kind of crazy, you can feel everyone’s brains are moving and it can be really exciting, I really enjoy getting together with them and thinking about strategy. While I think local work is the most important, there’s a lot that needs to get done nationally. A lot of local campaigns go across state lines. My local campaign is the same as a local campaign in Wisconsin or California, so it’s a matter of getting everyone on the same page to move campaigns or campaign ideas like that. In moving these things we are hoping to finally get to the top and knock some things out.
CCI is pretty intertwined, politically. That seems to be difficult for some people because they would rather not be involved with politics. I used to be like that, and it comes from a place of privilege to just say, ‘I’m not really impacted a whole lot; I don’t see it directly in front of me, therefore I can ignore it’. I was living my life in rose-colored glasses for a while, until I got to college really. Once I got to school I had so much more exposure to different groups of friends essentially. That’s when I realized that a lot of things are really fucked up and I wanted to know why. I wondered why I hadn’t seen it before, and maybe I had but I didn’t know enough to care about it. I think that’s how it is for a lot of people, and I don’t think people should feel bad about that because guilt-ing them into doing something is the best way to get them to do it. A lot of it is a wake up call, getting people to wake up and be aware of the things happening around them, which makes them connect all the small issues happening here. Trying to simplify local, everyday problems that are actually a part of the bigger problem is a huge part of our work at CCI.
Nothing happens overnight, I don’t think I’ve ever had a campaign that’s lasted less than two months. It takes a long time just to make a little bit of progress, and that deters people. People will default to saying they want a lawyer, but to me that sounds like spending a lot of money on a lawyer that will take years to resolve the issue, why don’t we try something different that won’t cost a lot of money, plus you’ll get to do some networking, relationship building all while resolving the issue. It will still take quite awhile, but certainly not going to take two or three years and you won’t need to rely on a corrupt court system to help you.