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MissionPhilosophyAccomplishments

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Mission

Each day, decisions are made that affect you, your family, and your community… decisions about your children’s schools, youth health care, public transit, land use, the environment, jobs and contracts.  Are you involved in these decisions? Are your interests being served, your needs met? Do you know who is making these decisions and who is benefiting from them?

In the tradition of Jefferson, King, Alinsky and Obama, community organizing is an essential democratic tradition, one that insists that everyone have a voice in the conversation of public affairs, not only the rich and powerful, the political boss or captain of industry. Everyone should have a seat at the table of power.  Self determination requires the power of organizing people and a common methodology for collective action. SOUL is dedicated to providing a vehicle for ordinary people to act together and build the power they need to get a seat at the table and have their voice heard.

SOUL’s mission is to empower the Southwide of Chicago and the South suburbs to fight for social justice and address issues and concerns within the community. SOUL serves as an organizing vehicle that:

  • Provides a methodology for people to act effectively together;
  • Trains people to become leaders and build powerful public lives;
  • Establishes a set of ongoing structured relationships so that people can work together on a variety of issues over time;
  • Provides a democratic structure for decision making;
  • Brings together resources: relationships, talents, constituencies and interests that cannot be garnered by any one individual, congregation, neighborhood or single issue group;
  • Provides, through its affiliations with other networks and coalitions, a racially, economically and geographically diverse base of people to greatly expand everyone’s power and impact.


Philosophy

SOUL is a not for profit, grassroots, independent, multi-issue, power organization that addresses community issues on Chicago’s Southside and South Suburbs.

We are not for profit. We need money to organize but nobody is in this to get rich.

We are grassroots. If you are a person you can participate, you don’t have to be a big shot or have a fancy title to join in. And we are democratic. There is no one person or cabal that calls the shots at SOUL. Everyone has a voice because that is what community organizing is all about.

We are independent. We do not belong to anyone’s political organization or machine. We have no benefactor or patron. We are not beholden to anyone. We stand together and for the people.

We are multi-issue. We don’t just work on one issue because there are many issues affecting our community. Our issues come out of the concerns and needs of our members and communities.

We are leadership centered and we are devoted to leadership training and development. We train community leaders to become stronger leaders and help improve the conditions of their communities.

We are a power organization. It is important to understand that divided, the people will fall and there will be no justice. United, we cannot be defeated. So, SOUL intentionally concentrates on building power so justice will prevail in the public arena.

To learn more about what we do, please attend a leaders meeting, held 7 PM on the fourth Monday of every month at St. Stephens Lutheran Church, 8500 S. Maryland. Together we can evoke change and improve the standard of living in the Southland communities of Chicago and surrounding suburbs.

Call 773-330-5684 for more information on meetings and how to join SOUL.


Accomplishments

SOUL and its forerunning, the Metropolitan Alliance of Congregations (MAC) have…

  • Fought for education funding reform since 1996, securing hundreds of millions of dollars in added school funding and, through a 7 week vigil in 2002 involving more than 1000 people, put fundamental education funding reform legislation on the state agenda for good.
  • Won victories for mass transit, gaining citizen representation at the CATS Board, merging NIPC and CATS to form CMAP, advocating for a universal fare card and gathering significant political support for the GOLD line.
  • Attacked the AIDS crisis by securing resources from the State for AIDS outreach and conducting education and testing in our churches.
  • Fought for and won victories for hospital accountability, getting private hospitals to rewrite charity care policies, stop overcharging the uninsured and suing medical debtors.
  • Fought for living wage jobs by supporting the increase of the state minimum wage, the Chicago Living Wage Ordinance, and the Employee Free Choice Act and by supporting the SEIU Local 1 Janitors contract campaign and the Electric Windows and Doors sit down strike.
  • Worked for an equitable 2016 Olympics, advancing a community benefits agreement for local hiring and contracting, living wage jobs, affordable housing and improved public transit.
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