Evaluating Fairness: My Path towards Community Organizing
I’ve been watching people get left out all of my life. It started small, with bullies and birthday parties, but gradually advanced. I watched the public school system freeze teacher salaries and increase expectations. I watched an industrial urban core gentrify and push out long-term, low-income residents. I watched an increasingly educated workforce struggle to land jobs they were overqualified for while owing small fortunes in debt. I once thought that perhaps the individual was at fault for failing to be proactive, driven, and/or resourceful, but came to learn about the cultural and structural forces at work holding people down. The more I learned, the more frustrated I became, and I realized that I needed to channel that energy into activism. Being no stranger to what seems unfair, I decided to put forth my efforts into turning the tables and amplifying the voices of the silenced.
My education in issues of sustainable development and community planning quickly expanded my passion for social justice, as I was taught that we live in a world where the work of the many allows for the benefit of the few. This innovative degree program crafted my worldview of valuing equity and compassion, and inspired me to focus on building and repairing community in any way that I could. While in school, I test-drove my community organizing skills by starting a non-profit farmer’s market after realizing that the majority of food options on campus were cheap, processed, and mass-prepared. I wanted to create an open space where students, faculty, and the public could engage in commerce and community with local producers, and make meaningful connections between the field and the fork. This sparked a passion for community organizing and working within and between diverse groups of people to achieve a common goal.
I discovered Fair Shot For All when looking for a way to combine my organizing skills and passion for equity into a meaningful career. I moved to Boston from a small mountain town in North Carolina to both experience a new urban lifestyle, and to have a greater impact on the community in which I work. While I have only been working with Fair Shot for a month and a half, I wholeheartedly believe in the initiatives we are working towards, and hope to further develop the mechanisms and tactics for achieving a better society, leveling the playing field and giving a voice to the disenfranchised.
Caroline Buck is a community organizer for Fair Shot For All who hopes to bring a fresh and creative perspective to addressing income inequality in Massachusetts. She lives by the harbor in Boston, MA and never leaves home without a pen and a sketchbook. Tweet her @carofairshot