Urban decay can sap the determination--not to mention the soul--of anyone who experiences it. But there are forces that can and do reverse it. They are not spectators, or critics, or occasional demonstrators. They are groups of citizens, encouraged and trained to take power with dignity and creativity and unrelenting determination, and to make it work for them, day by day, month by month, and year to year.
For more than twenty-five years, Michael Gecan has been a professional organizer with Industrial Areas Foundation, which has trained thousands of little-known community groups from Brownsville, Texas, to Brownsville, Brooklyn. Having grown up witnessing at close range the destructive effects of political patronage on powerless, disenfranchised Chicago communities, Gecan knows from experience that strong relationships in the public sphere and sustained and disciplined organizing can spark the public and private alchemy necessary to achieve sidewalks, parks, schools, housing--and the collective renewal that results.
Full of good advice and entertaining accounts of success, Going Public is the story of those who, says Gecan, "succeed in unexpected ways and in unexpected places."