“Community-centered” approaches to social change are nothing new. But the term has become a buzzword in the professionalized social impact world, and strategies intended to elevate the needs of grassroots movements often miss the mark. How can nonprofits do better at treating the people they’re trying to support as partners instead of patients? How can organizations shift their approaches from advocating for a population to advocating with them?
Darnell Moore, head of strategy and programs for the US office of the human rights organization Breakthrough discusses these issues with: Coya White Hat-Artichoker, founder of the First Nations Two Spirits Collective and the community health and health equity program manager at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota; Mauricio Lim Miller, founder of Family Independence Initiative; and Fresco Steez, the minister of training and culture at Black Youth Project 100.
“We have to be thinking about ways that our work moves us from the very cozy spaces that we tend to exist in, and out into the communities, into the streets, into the places with the people that we serve,” says Moore. “That hasn’t been the case for a lot of us, often because it’s sort of not made a priority.”