A School for Change | Sojourners

A School for Change


Back in college, when you were asked to declare your major, "faith-based community organizing" with a minor in "direct action" probably was not an option. Soon, the Direct Action & Research Training (DART) Center in Miami will offer a paid, four-month, in-field training to those yearning to launch a career in faith-based community organizing.

According to DART representatives, participants in the program—called the DART Organizers Institute—will learn how to "build power, strengthen community, and win justice." The center will pay travel costs and provide a $6,500 living stipend. At the end of the training, it plans to bring its graduates together to talk about permanent positions starting at $25,000 to $35,000 in the growing field of faith-based community organizing.

For those new to the concept, faith-based community organizing is the process of bringing congregations and groups with similar values together so that they can hold society's political and economic systems accountable for justice. Since its inception, the DART Center has developed 20 metropolitan organizations spread throughout Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Kentucky, which together make up the DART Network.

Using strategies and techniques taught by the Center, local affiliates have won victories on a broad set of justice issues. These include improved public education reform, living wage campaigns, clean-up of drugs and crime, increased affordable housing, millions of dollars reinvested by banks in previously redlined communities, expansion of community-oriented policing, greater access to public transportation, targeted spending toward job training for those coming off public assistance, and more just immigration policies.

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Sojourners Magazine March-April 2002
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