Towards the Progressive City of the South: Organizing Chattanooga for Action
With a vision for a more progressive city burning in their hearts, a small group of friends set their hands to work in the spring of 2010 to to build a lasting organization committed to social justice.
We called it Chattanooga Organized for Action, and our lives, and the story of our city, hasn’t been the same since.
What is COA? Chattanooga Organized for Action is a community organizing non-profit that works to initiate, support, and connect popular grassroots organizations for the purposes of advancing the local social justice movement. We’re a multi-issue organization, and we seek to eliminate the oppressive conditions that cause suffering so many of our city’s poor and marginalized people.
At the heart of our organization is an idea: that the path towards a better city can be made by the people themselves. By organizing our communities to win change, we can write a new story for Chattanooga - one that lifts up the marginalized and makes sure none of us are left behind.
Our History, Our Stories: Markers on the Road to Change
Since the spring of 2010, COA has been organizing, mobilizing, and engaging grassroots communities for change in our city. We're proud to count ourselves as part of a larger struggle and a greater movement for social justice, especially in the American South.
For more on the history of Chattanooga Organized for Action, along with stories about our organizing campaigns, click here to read our Organizing Campaigns.
COA will always organize from an anti-racist and feminist perspective, and we're proud to stand with all marginalized communities in our city. Our focus right now is on what we call a tripartite crisis of housing, economy, and democracy that threatens to rend Chattanooga into two cities: one where a dwindling number of people do well while the rest suffer.
All movements have a vision fueling their desire or a better world. Our vision, together with our values and theory of change, are the core beliefs that we've built our organization on. To learn more about our values and theory of change, click here to read our Principles of Unity.
Just holding beliefs is only have the equation. In order to change the world, action is required. Praxis, or when theory meets practice, is the real test of any organization and movement. Want to see our plan putting our values into action? Click here to read our 2014-2017 Strategic Plan.
Who Makes Up COA?
Our organization is composed of three parts:
Community Partners - First and foremost, our community partners are the bedrock of our organization. They are the people and groups with whom we organize to win social change. COA only organizes with those who don’t typically get their voice heard in our city. Our community partners provide the leadership, lay down the vision, and set the goals for our organizing campaigns. COA supports them in every way we can.
Membership - Our membership are the everyday leaders of our city who are ready to make a progressive vision for Chattanooga a reality. Committed to supporting our community partners, our members volunteer their time and efforts to make winning social change for Chattanooga a possibility. Members pay monthly or yearly dues and have a say in the direction of the organization.
Board and Staff - It takes folks working hard everyday to move the movement forward and gain real victories. That’s why we have a Board and Staff solely dedicated to the mission of the organization. Our Board is a working board composed of community partners and members who work to guide the organization towards achieving our goals. Our Staff works with community partners and members everyday towards enacting those goals through our Strategic Plan.