Recently, I had an insightful conversation with a fellow organizer who said, “I think we need to re-establish a culture of organizing in our state”. Still recovering from the pandemic and so often stuck playing the game of coming up with a bunch of surface-level tactics to simply meet the metrics of our funders, with little to show for it in the building of organization. That resonate?

These snapshots of where people are leading by example in the “doing of it” need to be shared in light of what feels like an absence of deeper organizing happening in Wisconsin and beyond. I’ll share first.

In July, I got to take my two sons on a 3-week adventure down to Costa Rica. The first 10-days were spent living with old friends from graduate school in an intentional faith community they started 16 years ago with families throughout Latin America called Casa Adobe. We were immersed in the beautiful culture and people of Santa Rosa, a small working-class town 30 min outside of San Jose.

Besides the treasured time that I got to share with my sons, Gabe and Leo, after a year filled with much transition in our own family, I was asked to lead a small organizing training for a group of students and coach a local organizer who is building a city-wide neighborhood team structure to address the restoration of a highly polluted river that runs right through their community.

One of the seeds that was planted as I returned home was what building deeper community might look like in my life and organizing. Some of my favorite moments were sitting around the dinner table at night with anywhere from 15-20+ people representing

countries from throughout Central America and how alive I felt. In contrast, often feeling like we live in so much self-structured isolation in the US, and change making work that is still bent towards mobilizing during moments of crisis, versus what it could look like to build something with a deeper sense of belonging to serve as the foundation for it all. Not just connecting on what “issues” we’re fighting for (yes, important), but how we are connecting as human beings amidst it all. More questions than answers, but this is feeling very present for me right now.

In solidarity,
Dan Grandone, Founder and Coordinator