In April, 2017 we held a training on grassroots organizing at the Central European University, which is currently under attack by the Hungarian government, so the topic was very relevant to our everyday realities. The student who initiated the training reports back about her experiences.
I contacted The School of Public Life for a grassroots organizing workshop because I saw a gap in my formal education on human rights and wanted a practical approach to social change. A few months before, I had started a student group hoping to find like-minded activists. However, few of us had experience with social movements. We were passionate but lacked a framework for how to accomplish the change we wanted to see in the world.
The workshop gave us useful insights into how momentum and organizations interrelate and the differences between community development and community organizing, strategies and tactics, and activism and organizing. One of the key takeaways for me was to have a conscious methodology, a strategy for reaching a goal. After being provided with clear examples, the workshop participants collaborated on plans for achieving various kinds of social change.
When the workshop ended, we were not only more knowledgeable about grassroots organizing, but energized by people from diverse backgrounds who were able to work together on important social projects. Even those who have had a lot of prior experience with activism had a lot to learn and think about. The 8-hour workshop gave my classmates and I a taste of grassroots organizing, and we hope to dive deeper into it thanks to the very inspiring workshop led by Tessza and Mariann.