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Community Organizers
Network facilitated by Nina Gregg

Ethics & Responsibility in Organizing is an action research project engaging community organizers in reflection on the meanings of responsibility in their work.

These reflections include consideration of how the concept of responsibility arises in community organizing, how community organizers learn what responsibility action is, and what community organizers can learn from each other about ethical and responsible practices. In addition to individual deliberations, participants are encouraged to bring these issues into their organizations.


We aim to make explicit the implicit knowledge of these organizers and to affirm, strengthen, and advance ethical practices in community organizing.


Participants represent a range of geographic locations in North America, South America, the UK and Italy; different organizational contexts; different roles in their organizations and communities; and diverse social, political, cultural and economic issues. Nina Gregg is Project Coordinator (USA) working in partnership with Diego Escobar (Carta de Responsabilidades Humanas - Colombia) and Antonio Sama (UK). Institutional partners include the National Organizers Alliance (USA) and Christ Church University-Canterbury (UK).

What is a community organizer?

We define “community organizer” as an agent of change actively involved in promoting social change through different organizational and institutional structures, many of which are non-governmental. We acknowledge cultural, historical, and ideological differences in the ways community organizers work to promote social change and differences in the processes through which change occurs.

Along with these differences, community organizers share responsibility as described by one participant:

“I believe our first responsibility is to our vision of what we think the world should be like. . . . Responsible organizers listen to community members and think every day about how to be accountable to the needs and wants of people most often left out of decision making in a community. We organize because most legislators and corporations do not act responsibly to all of their constituents. A responsible organizer must think about this as part of the core of what they do. . . . we must organize to create the world as we want it to be, which means doing it in an ethical way.”

For more information: Reflection on Action Document: Ethics and Responsibility in Community Organizing

Published on: 3 March 2011
Network contributions
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