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1. Read what Student A wrote and write a 1 page response using the reading (Minkler & Wallerstein provided in files) to respond. Include 2 sources
p. 51: “The continued pivotal role of community organization in health education and social work practice reflects both this approach’s time-tested efficacy and its fit with the most fundamental principles of these fields. Community organization thus stresses strengths-based approaches; the principle of relevance or starting where the people are; the principle of participatory issue selection and choice of actions; and the importance of creating environments in which individuals and communities can become empowered as they increase their community capacity or problem-solving ability. ”
Often our picture of community action is a protest of some sort with marching, chanting and signs. Social advocacy is the most visible and tangible way that communities (geographical or shared values & characteristics) have often mobilized for a cause or against one, making their voice and views heard, which can gain public recognition and build empowerment and mastery and engagement among the citizenries. However, the authors acknowledge that advocacy and protest, albeit having its role for empowerment and public awareness, must “mature” and transition to more constructive measures through community organization, collaboration and strengths-based approaches underscored by empowerment and relevance. Social action can get the ball rolling but, in the end, it is often not enough once the media, the public and thus politicians shift attention back away. Real change must occur by creating critical conscientiousness through dialogue, community capacity, and identifying winning targets of change.
I have observed an excellent recent example of this called the “county before country” movement, where most if all these community-organizing principles are being employed by a few counties in Ohio, Kentucky, for the purpose of increasing autonomy over what they believe are over-reaching state and federal intrusion. Engagements here are truly the definition of “grass roots” and relevance, and include becoming more active in town council, school boards, municipal government, advocating candidates for local government positions that reflect autonomous and liberty-oriented values, petitioning legislators and senators, publishing “sanctuary county legislation,” working toward more food sustainability, among other efforts. Community organizing includes collaboration, planning, conferences, door-to-door canvassing, family events, and other means to increase critical consciousness and engage more local citizens toward issue selection and community capacity, participation and relevance, and empowerment.
2. Share a question you have about this week’s reading–it may be a question regarding clarification of the content of the article or a more theoretical or philosophical question about the content.
I was a little confused by the theoretical frameworks of ecological system perspective and social system perspective on p. 40, under “The Concept of Community. The authors give the traditional ways in which communities are defined: “(1) functional spatial units meeting basic needs for sustenance; (2) units of patterned social interaction; or (3) symbolic units of collective identity,” and then describes the two theories — ecological and social — where ecological is based on an autonomous and many other physical factors where social systems on organizations that operate within a community. I would love if the authors gave a few examples of each because I am not understanding what the social system is exactly. I can understand ecological: people sharing the same area, thus with similar concerns.
2. Read what Student B wrote and write a 1 page response using the reading (Minkler & Wallerstein provided in files) to respond. Include 2 sources.
In the reading “Improving Health through Community Organization and Community Building” by Minkler and Wallerstein, I found a meaningful quote about community empowerment on page 46. “At the community level, community empowerment outcomes can include increased sense of community; more civic engagement; and actual changes in policies, transformed conditions, or increased resources that may reduce inequities. … Moreover, the empowered community that effectively works for change can bring about changes in some of the very problems that contributed to its ill health in the first place.” This quote stands out to me because it reflects how community empowerment is a key concept in the process of community organizing. The quote also demonstrates the positive influence that empowerment can make. Empowerment allows the community to make sustainable changes that improve health in all dimensions. Here is something that I have a question about – does anyone have an example of empowerment in community organizing that they have seen in their own community or that they have read/watched about?