Session 1

Session One

Transforming Resistance into a Social Movement


Contextualizing your organizing work within larger social movement-building frames.

Identifying cross-issue and/or cross-community partners to build collective identities and networks.

Identifying common goals or targets across groups to seize political opportunities or react to political constraints.

How to go from resisting to creating lasting change: Saru Jayaraman uses her long history fighting for bold, lasting social change goals for low-income workers and her experience teaching social movement theory as a university professor to inspire and engage us in our opening session. This session helps people and groups situate their individual work within broader social movement theory, and think about how to make transformative change by building coalitions across organizations, issues, and sectors. Saru covers how patterns of political opportunities and constraints can lead to necessary cycles of contention that, when paired with strong networks and sustained interactions, can lead to a social movement moment. Key to creating that social movement moment are how the actions of organizers and activists create intersectional coalitions and collective identities.

 

Access session readings and the RS Town Square collaborative space below the video to dive deeper into this session's ideas and to connect with other organizers and activists utilizing them in their work.

The Speaker: Saru Jayaraman

Saru Jayaraman is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United) and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley. After 9/11, together with displaced World Trade Center workers, she co-founded ROC, which now has more than 25,000 worker members, 200 employer partners, and several thousand consumer members in a dozen states nationwide.

The story of Saru and her co-founder’s work founding ROC has been chronicled in the book The Accidental American. Saru is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She was profiled in the New York Times “Public Lives” section in 2005, named one of Crain’s “40 Under 40” in 2008, was 1010 Wins’ “Newsmaker of the Year” and New York Magazine’s “Influentials” of New York City. She was listed in CNN’s “Top10 Visionary Women” and recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House in 2014, and a James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in 2015. Saru authored Behind the Kitchen Door (Cornell University Press, 2013), a national bestseller, and has appeared on CNN with Soledad O’Brien, Bill Moyers Journal on PBS, Melissa Harris Perry and UP with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, the Today Show, and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.  Her most recent book is Forked: A New Standard for American Dining (Oxford University Press, 2016).