Political Capital: New Orleans, LA

New Orleans is a city of broad diversity regarding ethnicity, socioeconomic class, and political influence. Because of this, many community organizations focus on increasing the political capital of residents in largely ignored communities. A Community Voice (ACV), is one of these such organizations. Founded in October of 2009, ACV is a non-profit community organization that allows the voices of its constituencies to be heard by local governments. By hosting events, meetings, workshops, and connecting with local residents,  ACV gathers the opinions on local issues in order to empower residents. While ACV addresses the lack of political power within these disadvantaged groups, they also work to connect them with those with more political power, in the interest of meeting common goals. Therefore, ACV uses both consensus, and conflict organizing tactics, in order to increase the political capital of its members.

One example of ACV using conflict organizing, is in their petition of the Florida Avenue Freeway project. This joint federal and state funded project proposes expanding Florida Avenue in the 8th and 9th Wards. According to ACV, this expansion is unnecessary, and will increase traffic in already dangerous crossing areas. Additionally, the proposal ignores other, more expedient possible routes, and the choice to use Florida Ave is rooted in environmental racism and a lack of political capital in those areas, which are mostly poor, elderly, and African American.

An example of ACV using consensus organizing is their annual Housing, Jobs, and Community Fair. This annual fair is comprised of legal services, job sign-ups, loan and mortgage lenders, affordable housing programs, and first-time homebuyer’s classes. By connecting disadvantaged groups, whose access to such programs has been minimized over the years, with groups with more political capital, they are able to engage each other to meet common goals of homelessness, poverty, and lack of education, etc.

Flyer for ACV Event

Flyer for ACV Event

Sources:

A Community Voice ~ Louisiana. (n.d.). Retrieved December 03, 2016, from http://www.acommunityvoice.org/