THE ACTION WE TAKE: Parent organizing and building power through a parent-led institution
CADRE creates this power through community organizing, the basis of which is grassroots leadership development and building people-led community institutions.
CADRE provides parents with an independent and creative space in which to develop themselves as active community leaders with political power . Their experiences and goals for the community form the basis of our issue/policy campaigns, advocacy, capacity-building, and coalitions. This type of involvement engages parents in political education, leadership skills development, shared decision-making and planning, action research, policy understanding, and collective advocacy.
Parents get involved with CADRE through our neighborhood door-to-door canvassing, open door meetings, and referrals. As CADRE members, parents experience:
1. Awareness of their rights and membership in a community:
Parents have opportunities to draw out their knowledge and experiences through one-on-one’s and meetings. In these settings parents are exposed to their civil and human rights. Sharing stories brings to light patterns in the community and fosters parent-to-parent support.
2. Education about power in the public educational system and common identity as change agents:
Parents learn about the root causes of issues they personally experience. Their stories and testimonies serve as “data” that document the systemic nature of problems in schools and shed light on untold realities. Parents increase their understanding of the “systems” which shape the quality of their community lives. They also are introduced to strategies for making social change both individually and as a group of parents.
3. Learning and practicing collective action and building an organization:
Parents continue their understanding of power and systemic social change. Parent participate in developing an alternative school reform agenda that challenges the criminalization of children in South LA. In helping to plan our issue campaigns, parents actively learn and make decisions about strategies and tactics to use their power to influence policymakers. This includes speaking and engaging the media and building relationships with other organizations to win new policies, monitor their implementation, produce insightful research, and hold the public school system accountable.
Throughout this process, parents also see the connection between addressing issues and building CADRE as an organization. Parents also set goals for CADRE’s long-term impact and organizational track record among parents.