Roots of Change.
Formed in 1980, CTWO has been at the forefront of organizing for social change in low income communities of color.
Recognizing the need around the country and inspired and motivated by the international efforts and national movements, CTWO realized there needed to be a vehicle that strengthened the social change infrastructure in a meaningful way.
Thus, CTWO’s pioneering organizer training program was conceived, and is now today’s Movement Activist Apprenticeship Program (MAAP), with close to 500 graduates spanning 30 years, effecting changes in the social, economic, and environmental justice movements around the country and world.
CTWO recognizes that today’s world and society is abruptly and uniquely different than when it started training and producing organizers. Organizers must stay relevant and current, while not losing sight of our roots. We are accountable to conditions of the global economy. As the world’s wealthiest nation’s finances are in disarray, and sharp disparities prevail in abundance– jobs, education, housing, environment, health care – we recognize that our low income communities of color arguably need more from the movement than ever before.
Our society particularly has witnessed a dramatic upsurge in the lowering of the quality of life of the Black and African-American community: there are more Black men in prison now than in college; close to 50% of all adult African Americans have been incarcerated at some point in their life; life expectancy for African Americans continues to be among the lowest of all races; the unemployment rate for Blacks is twice as high as the national rate.
With this in mind, CTWO is embarking on an exciting journey with a number of core components:
1. New visions. “Crafting transformative strategies where race and the global economy meet”. Exploring the role of organizing within and among worker centers, by enhancing their infrastructure and capacity as they wage campaigns to guarantee the future of quality work and jobs for low-wage workers.
2. Our core organizer trainings will be upgraded by infusing today’s technology, and social media as integral components to grassroots organizing that continues to address structural and systemic inequities
3. CTWO will join the new arena of electoral organizing pioneered by many of our key allies and historic partners. We will forge new alliances and coalitions to help scale up efforts to address issues only strategic alliance building can influence with significant results.
As part of it’s New Directions lens, CTWO looks to help strengthen the infrastructure and capacity of the low wage worker network, conduct strategic engagement with allies and partners in the arena of civic engagement, voter activism, policy development, and candidate development.
Our new turn leads us to tackle fast moving economic changes with a focus on becoming a training wing of the growing movement of low-wage worker centers. This is an exciting opportunity to partner with innovative groups in local and regional communities and to help facilitate their organizing capacity. CTWO’s experience and vision ideally situates us for this role. We embrace it with excitement and resolve.
CTWO’s “race and the economy initiative” is ambitious, and we believe that to make it all work requires a big shift in our organization and in our resources. But we’re not changing everything. We at CTWO remain deeply committed to enhancing our popular and successful MAAP and CAT programs, enhancing our Alumni network outreach, re-integrating technology and social media and communications, and aligning it all under the race and economy initiative. As we continue to welcome new leadership, our key CTWO veterans also remain loyal and engaged. So we look forward to seeing you in the next phase in our journey along the path to justice!
Wendall Chin, Acting Director, March 2013