Linking the Grassroots and Power Levels

Helen Chauncey

The Coexistence Initiative

Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003

This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).

A third challenge, which is also one we've talked about, is the need to link the grassroots and those with power. If that linkage doesn't happen, even at that the linkage is step 2 because step 1 is getting grassroots and the people with power to understand what it is what is needed. But the step 2, that linkage is a real challenge, because it does not automatically take place and if it doesn't take place, as we talked about a little bit earlier, those with power, those at the top can undo what exists at the grassroots level very fast, if they work on it. So that too, is a challenge.


A second lesson, again we've touched on this briefly, but it's worth stressing, is that you need to be at the grassroots level and you need to be at the management of power level at the same time. If you think of grassroots as a community, and you think of the management of power as higher level policy, national policy maybe, international policy, you need to be at both of those levels, but you also need to constantly build the bridge. If you don't, the potential for one or the other and it's usually the higher level and abusive power can easily undo years and years of work at the grassroots level.