2: Community Organization
democratic countries, knowledge of how to combine is the mother
of all other forms of knowledge; on its progress depends that of
all the others."
students are familiar with colonias either by viewing The
Forgotten Americans video or through a class discussion, brainstorm
a list of community problems in colonias.
Ask your students if they feel that the problems outlined in the
first part of the film can be solved.
Ask them how optimistic they are about colonias families
making changes to improve conditions in these South Texas communities.
one or two video segments either the section about Rosie De Leija
(13:43 to 17:08) or the segment about Veronica Cruzs work
with Proyecto Azteca (29:17 to 31:31) or information about
EPISO (31:32 to 34:11).
you dont have to limit the discussion to colonias.
Consider expanding the discussion to talk about Appalachian communities,
Native American reservations or poor communities in your area. Check
your local newspaper for a story about a community group who has
organized and made a difference in your community.
the glossary of terms and the discussion
questions to help students understand grassroots organizing
and some of the ways it has been done. Ask your students if they
feel optimistic that these strategies can really make a difference.
Ask what strategies your students think would work.
you feel comfortable that your students have a good understanding
of grassroots organizing and community building, consider trying
an experiment. Contact a local public official and let your students
present their proposals to that official either at a community meeting
or in the classroom. Have the official comment on the presentations.
encourage you to share your experiences from this discussion, class
project, and essays. We also encourage you to give us feedback on
what impact this unit had on your classroom and the experience of
your students. Please send
us your feedback on how you used this unit and what results