Afua Atta-Mensah, Executive Director of Community Voices Heard, Says "Basebuilding is a Contact Sport"
Atta-Mensah, a former public defender, recalls how she first got involved with CVH and learned about its relational organizing method, a foundational principle of the organization that requires members to share narratives with one another face-to-face.
"At a time when we sit across the breakfast table and text the person across from us to pass us the Cheerios, talking to somebody is a revolutionary act," she says. Her PHIL Talk delved into the importance of one-on-one conversations to finding common struggles, building coalitions, and reviving movements. She acknowledged how difficult community engagement is, but emphasized its centrality to building a critical mass of socially conscious people with political power.
"Basebuilding is a contact sport. Just getting that initial engagement with someone is hard work," Atta-Mensah exclaimed. "We have to knock 50 doors just to get 20 people who will talk to you. Out of that 20, maybe 12 will talk to you and want to do something more than just identifying the problem and move to action. Change movements are built by a small cadre of people."