Community Organizing Residency
When people of different faiths and backgrounds share a common cause, that cause is strengthened. The Community Organizing Residency (COR) is creating a nationwide network of religiously diverse community organizers who share common bonds, skills and language, and who will continue to support each other in their work beyond the residency for many years to come.
Jewish, Muslim and Christian residents of different denominations are placed with congregations, unions, or community groups in New York, LA, the Bay Area, Chicago and the Twin Cities. Each one is paired with a professional organizer who trains and mentors them. They attend intensive retreats together for interfaith study and reflection about the role of faith in organizing.
COR is the only program of its kind in the country. Now in its fourth year, it has been shown to be highly successful, with almost every resident who went through the program employed as an organizer. Just as important is the qualitative feedback from COR residents, who use words like “transformative” to describe the program. COR residents uniformly speak highly of the training, and tell us that both the professionalism and the interfaith aspects of the program set it apart in its power to support them and impart strong organizing skills. You can read about the COR experience in the residents’ own words.
In addition to supporting each other in their work, we believe that collectively the women and men who go through our training will be an important resource in the organizing community for dispelling all kinds of bias — and especially faith-based bias — over the coming decades.
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Alumni from the first four cohorts of our Community Organizing Residency gathered in Los Angeles to continue building the multi-faith movement for justice. One attendee came away with “a sense of belonging to a justice-centered, fierce, dedicated, savvy, compassionate, multi-faith, multi-racial community.”
That’s not the start of a joke. It was how Bend the Arc’s fourth interfaith Community Organizing Residency kicked off this month. The program continues to be one-of-a-kind in the U.S. by breaking down barriers for organizers working on issues that include immigrant rights, fair wages for workers, and affordable housing.