Center for
Community Organizing

In 1991, CoCo pioneered its youth program, South Central Youth Empowered Through Action (SCYEA).

Now a nationally recognized model for youth organizing and leadership development, it started with CoCo involving area youth in advocacy campaigns. Due to long-term disinvestment in our youth and marginalizing their voices, the prevailing notion was that America’s youth was a “lost generation.” CoCo disproved this pessimistic view, as the organization quickly saw dozens of leaders blossom before their eyes. Our young members became fierce activists, capable of speaking out about the conditions in their schools and neighborhoods.

It’s through our member leaders, young and old, that Representative Bass’ legacy lives on in our daily work. It is also the foundational bedrock of our soon to be launched Center for Community Organizing. The vision of which is to harness the power of communities and neighborhoods and support activists across the nation in multi-racial organizing towards our collective freedom. Specifically, CoCo will train cohorts of organizers from across the nation in CoCo’s distinctive model of power building in order to improve the material conditions of communities while developing Black and Brown leadership at the grassroots level.

The Center will be comprised of several components, including:

A national school for organizers built around a curriculum that combines movement history and theory of social change with the art and science of organizing, strategic analysis, and policy advocacy.

Civic leadership training to strengthen local participatory democracy by equipping resident leaders from CoCo’s organized base on technical strategy for civic engagement, and to serve in elected and appointed positions on commissions, neighborhood councils, boards, etc.

A learning lab to build the leadership pipeline in different cities committed to advancing equity and opportunity for Black and Latino communities.

A strategy think tank which will provide a space for leaders to share and learn the best ways to deploy policy change and power building.

A cultural hub to bridge art and activism for the community. Community organizing happens in numerous different layers; thus, an Artivist Academy will be established with local artists to create art and a multi-media lab to develop projects that inspire large numbers of people to take action.