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This paper series looks at the longstanding art and science of organizing, in relation to today’s social dynamics. Our premise is that for us to build power, we need to bridge across lines of difference in ways more radical than ever before. This series is authored by a working group from across California as part of the Blueprint for Belonging (B4B) project, a statewide network initiated by OBI. These reflect the organizing models that the authors have experience with, but are not meant to be exhaustive.

To achieve a world where we all belong, movement organizing strategies must include the element of bridging across differences, a project aimed at crossing identity-based lines and creating shared identities. Bridging addresses tensions or “breaking” dynamics and narratives that sustain division in order to develop a new “we” that is not only more inclusive, but cohesive, durable, and consistent with bringing about belonging and greater social justice. The aim is to challenge the dominant narrative, to change people’s worldviews, and to build enough power to produce transformative changes in human relationships and in laws and policies to address inequality and political polarization. The end goal is a country and a world where we all belong.

The bridging-to-belonging model was developed by B4B, which was initiated in 2015 by a team of OBI researchers and analysts–some experienced in community organizing and social movements–as a California-wide network of researchers, base-building networks, community organizing groups, faith-based initiatives, policy advocates, and labor organizations.

This set of papers include:

  1. Organizing, Power Building, and Bridging by Olivia Araiza, Gerald Lenoir, and Joshua Clark, Othering and Belonging Institute
  2. The History of the Alinsky Organizing Model and Its Practice within Community and Organized Labor by Pauline Hassan Burkey, PICO California; and Kokayi Kwa Jitahidi, Veteran Labor Organizer
  3. The Center for Third World Organizing Model’s Essential Components by Olivia Araiza, Othering and Belonging Institute
  4. Coalitions: Vision, Bridging, Belonging by Polo Morales, CHIRLA
  5. The Strategic Implications of Mass Mobilization as a Tactic by Tim Kornegay, LiveFree California; and Gerald Lenoir, Othering and Belonging Institute
  6. Community Organizing, Electoral Work, and Bridging by Pauline Hassan-Burkey, PICO California; Ben McBride, Empower Initiative; and Polo Morales, CHIRLA
  7. Concluding Thoughts on Bridging and Power Building by Olivia Araiza, Gerald Lenoir, Pauline Hassan-Burkey, Polo Morales, Tim Kornegay, and Ben McBride


Olivia Araiza, Othering and Belonging Institute
Gerald Lenoir, Othering and Belonging Institute
Pauline Hassan Burkey, PICO California
Apolonio Morales, CHIRLA
Tim Kornegay, LiveFree California
Ben McBride, Empower Initiative

Banner and thumbnail art for this paper is by Adonis Papadopoulos for Fine Acts.

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