Reflection on Governance & Community Engagement

If we don’t have power, all we have is wishful thinking.

So said Arturo Aguila in his presentation about Border Interfaith and EPISO to BSC volunteers and interested community members. Mr. Aguila is a community organizer with Border Interfaith in the El Paso area.

Mr. Aguila explained that we have two kinds of organized power: Organized money and organized people. When people organize with other individuals and with groups, it creates power they don’t have alone. It pries open the door to the policy- and decision-makers.

In these days of social, economic, and political uncertainty, Mr. Aguila’s presentation at Peace House brought a fresh breath into my spirit. I have a background in group facilitation and mediation, and learning about Border Interfaith’s community organization model – based on stories, consensus, coaching, clear objectives, and mutual accountability – spoke to my beliefs in what supports equal access to power and to self-determination.

Mr. Aguila laid out Border Interfaith’s community organization process clearly and concisely. I admired the research-based, pragmatic approach to how a group leverages its power with policy- and decision-makers in a community.

I am grateful to BSC for offering the Issues Nights and other programs to community members in El Paso and Las Cruces. The insights I’ve gained through these events are illuminating. They also give me encouragement. There is no doubt in my mind that I will apply what I’ve learned in the future.
Paula Gamboa
Community Member