Going Public: An Organizer’s Guide to Citizen Action

Going Public: An Organizer’s Guide to Citizen Action

by Michael Gecan


The dynamic of the relational culture is created by leaders who initiate and deepen and multiply effective public relationships. These leaders know, consciously or unconsciously, that their ability to act depends on the number and quality of relationships that they and their colleagues can muster and sustain. They see themselves as recruiters, talent scouts, and trainers. They look for other leaders, not passive followers or adoring dependents. Their bottom line is not profit and loss, or clients served, but expanding pools of reciprocity and trust among people who can act with purpose and power.


Start on time and end on time. Recognize yourself and one another. Hold yourself accountable (“South Bronx Churches has thirty-five leaders here today!”), so that you can demand public accountability from others and hold them to it. Take the power you build and test it against the power of others. Bring energy, joy, and irreverence to the public square, not just ideology, self-reighteousness, and rote reenactments. Don’t be deterred with others won’t engage. Flow around the obstacles. Persist in unexpected ways.


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