'Let Justice Roll Down'

A Conference on the Practice and Pedagogy of Organizing in the 21st Century

APRIL 1-2, 2011

In the last three decades, national networks of neighborhood and faith-based organizing groups, unions, and advocacy organizations have developed proven strategies for leadership development, civic engagement, and social action. These strategies have been adopted as integral to local, state, and national campaigns for change. There has also been a growing interest in higher education to develop pathways of engagement for new organizers, researchers, and teachers of organizing.

"Let Justice Roll Down" examines organizing as a strategy aimed at addressing public concerns related to poverty and inequality in the United States. Leading scholars and practitioners consider how community leadership development can impact local and national policy, and what pedagogical tools are best suited to train a new generation of organizers. The conference pulls together cutting-edge ideas from scholarship, field organizing work, and policy leaders to best respond to 21st century political, social and economic challenges.

Conference Highlights


Susan Crawford Sullivan, Assistant Professor, Edward Bennett Williams Fellow, Sociology and Anthropology, College of the Holy Cross
Joe O'Brien, Mayor of Worcester

Keynote Address: Mark Warren
Mark WarrenMark Warren, associate professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, is a sociologist concerned with the revitalization of American democratic and community life. He studies efforts to strengthen institutions that anchor inner city communities — churches, schools, and other community-based organizations — and to build broad-based alliances among these institutions and across race and social class. Warren is interested in the development of community leaders through involvement in multiracial political action as well as the outcomes of such efforts in fostering community development, social justice, and school transformation; and is committed to using the results of scholarly research to advance democratic practice. He is author of Fire in the Heart: How White Activists Embrace Racial Justice and Dry Bones Rattling: Community Building to Revitalize American Democracy.
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Pathways to Change: Concurrent Sessions

  • Community Building and Leadership Development
    Discussion Moderator: Vincent Rougeau, Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame
    Panelist: Rev. Arrington Chambliss, Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, Director, Life Together: Diomass Intern Program
    with Isabelle Jenkins '10 and Kyle Boudreau '10

    Panelist: Mary Keefe, Director, Pleasant Street Neighborhood Network Center
    Panelist: Rev. Dr. Sarai Rivera, Iglesia Cristiana de la Comunidad, Worcester
  • Civic Engagement in Public Policy Making
    Discussion Moderator: Margaret Post, Director, Donelan Center for Community-Based Learning, College of the Holy Cross
    Panelist: Lisa Vinikoor, Lead Organizer, Merrimack Valley Project
    Panelist: Carl Nilsson, MA State Director, Organizing for America
    Panelist: Rudy Lopez, Deputy Director of Politics, Center for Community Change


Marshall Ganz Current Practices in Teaching and Training Young Organizers
Marshall GanzLecturer in Public Policy and Principal of the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Marshall Ganz worked on the staff of the United Farm Workers for 16 years before becoming a trainer and organizer for political campaigns, unions and nonprofit groups. He is credited with devising the successful grassroots organizing model and training for Barack Obama's winning 2008 presidential campaign. His community organizing curriculum is used at several colleges and universities, including Holy Cross.

Respondent: Frank Kartheiser, Lead Organizer, Worcester Interfaith

Voices from Young Organizers

  • Eleanor Miller '11
  • Carlos Saavedra, National Coordinator, United We Dream Coalition