'العربية / al-ʿarabīyah
Bringing the Whole Community Together
by Phil Bartle, PhD
The "normal" condition of any community is that it has several social schisms
You saw earlier that you should ensure that women attend the community meetings you call (exception: conservative Islamic communities).
Also: the disabled, the youth, the aged, the very poor, the disenfranchised, the marginalized, the shy and retiring. This is part of your strategy of unity organizing the community.
See Unity Organizing. Every community has forces pulling it apart.
These may be based in differences in clan, ethnic group, religion, class, gender, age, education, physical and mental abilities, occupation, income, wealth, land access (owner, tenant, squatter, other) and other characteristics that divide people. See Social Schism.
It is important that, as a mobilizer, you are seen as neutral (like a referee), not allied to or favouring any faction.
This means you must know the community very well. If you spend much time with some people, others may feel you are biassed.
Do not be afraid in public to mention the differences and factions in the community, but then quickly point out that you are not aligned with any faction or factions.
Remember, too, that you are not aiming at making the community homogenous (all the same), but unity of the community means all factions are loyal to the community as a whole and, in an atmosphere of tolerance, all people understand and respect all others, irrespective of religion, class, clan, gender, ability, wealth, ethnicity, language, or age.
A unified community is a pre-requisite to identifying a single community priority problem and goal.
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