On the move; Organizations improve lives, neighbor to neighbor.Byline: Milton Milton, town (1990 pop. 25,725), Norfolk co., E Mass., a residential suburb of Boston, on the Neponset River; settled 1636, set off from Dorchester and inc. 1662. Granite quarries are nearby. J. Valencia
WORCESTER - Luz C. Ramirez knew the hardships that so many of her neighbors in the housing complex also faced, and knew the answers to the survey questions that Neighbor to Neighbor was asking about health care, education and job opportunities.
"I said, `Yeah, I see the need every day,'" Ms. Ramirez, a mother of three, recalled.
But the following response was what surprised her: The group surveying residents in the Lakeside Housing Complex nine years ago noticed she wasn't a registered voter VOTER. One entitled to a vote; an elector. , and asked how she expected to help resolve the issues if she never cast a ballot.
"To me, voting was just getting someone to that job, but I didn't know I had the influence," Ms. Ramirez said recently.
Close to a decade after that first survey, Ms. Ramirez lives in a new home with her family on Enfield Street, but she still returns to Lakeside and other city housing complexes to reach out to her old neighbors the way she was recruited, to tell them of the difference they can make just as she has.
Ms. Ramirez is a lead organizer with Neighbor to Neighbor, one of a growing number of agencies and organizing movements that have entrenched en·trench also in·trench
v. en·trenched, en·trench·ing, en·trench·es
1. To provide with a trench, especially for the purpose of fortifying or defending.
2. themselves in some of the region's more diverse and depressed neighborhoods. Building organizations of grass-roots membership from Fitchburg and Leominster to Worcester, the groups encourage people to register to vote, teach them why and build lobbying efforts that address issues that affect residents.
"New immigrants are an asset because they believe this is a democracy, and in a democracy they can make a difference," said Agnes Rivera, coordinator of Minority Outreach Outreach is an effort by an organization or group to connect its ideas or practices to the efforts of other organizations, groups, specific audiences or the general public. and Voter Education.
The nonpartisan non·par·ti·san
Based on, influenced by, affiliated with, or supporting the interests or policies of no single political party: a nonpartisan commission; nonpartisan opinions. program, known as MOVE, works to register voters and, more importantly, get them to cast their ballot on Election Day. The group is concentrating its efforts in Worcester's District 4, which covers Main South and has one of the city's largest minority populations.
There are Latinos and Asians, but their common need for basic services basic services,
n.pl frequently insurance companies split dental procedures into basic and major categories. Basic services usually consist of diagnostic, preventive, and routine restorative dental services. such as health care and jobs are the same, and so their message should be the same, Ms. Rivera said. Indeed, the MOVE program is a collaboration Working together on a project. See collaborative software. between Centro Las Americas and the Martin Luther King Jr. Business Empowerment em·pow·er
tr.v. em·pow·ered, em·pow·er·ing, em·pow·ers
1. To invest with power, especially legal power or official authority. See Synonyms at authorize.
"It's about neighbors knowing neighbors and knowing what connects with them," Ms. Rivera said. "They're not going to trust just anyone. They're going to trust their neighbors."
The plan for MOVE is to boost voter turnout by 900 votes. In 2005, the last municipal election, 1,985 people cast their vote in the district.
One strategy is to involve the small businesses in the neighborhood, using their help to reach out to voters but at the same time educating them on their own fate in elections. They seek permits and licenses and pay taxes and fees, making them part of the political process, Ms. Rivera said.
"They know that if there are potholes in front of their street, it's political," Ms. Rivera said. "People have forgotten why we elect people. They forget it's health care, taxes and potholes.
"MOVE is mobilizing mobilizing,
v 1. freeing or making loose and able to move.
2. observing any ongoing movements in a client's body, whether small or large, assisted or not, that identify strengths and weaknesses, as well as the client's physical and voters, and we're not going to mobilize mo·bi·lize
1. To make mobile or capable of movement.
2. To restore the power of motion to a joint.
3. To release into the body, as glycogen from the liver. them until they know why."
For Neighbor to Neighbor, the strategy has been the focus of key themes that seem cliche in political terms but are dear to residents struggling to find jobs, pay bills and educate their children.
"The issues they wrap their energies around are just important issues," said state Rep (programming) REP - A directive used in IBM object code card decks (and later PTF Tapes) to REPlace fragments of already assembled or compiled object code prior to link edit. . James O'Day, D-West Boylston, who was a political newcomer before building a successful grass-roots campaign in the spring with the help of Neighbor to Neighbor and other groups. Neighbor to Neighbor endorsed him based on his responses to a survey on issues, and from there threw its organizing power behind his campaign, knocking on doors and asking residents to support him.
Mr. O'Day praised the group's work beyond his own race, however, noting the success it has had in lobbying efforts and other elections, including last year's statewide race that propelled Gov. Deval L. Patrick to victory with a grass-roots strategy.
Indeed, Neighbor to Neighbor members are known to carpool car·pool
n. also car pool
1. An arrangement whereby several participants or their children travel together in one vehicle, the participants sharing the costs and often taking turns as the driver.
2. to the Statehouse state·house also state house
A building in which a state legislature holds sessions; a state capitol.
NZ a rented house built by the government
Noun 1. from their homes in Great Brook Great Brook may refer to the following:
In New Hampshire:
"They bring a lot of issues to the forefront, issues people wouldn't want to touch before, but they do because they understand the importance," Mr. O'Day said. "They understand the nature of making the power work for their benefit."
The same year that Ms. Ramirez met members of Neighbor to Neighbor, the group had raised voter turnout in the Lakeside housing complex to 69 percent, considered a victory for the depressed neighborhood. For the first time, she connected with the issues people were talking about: She knew about welfare, because she depended on it, and she knew about job training, because she needed a job.
Soon after, Ms. Ramirez did find that job, and moved with her family to the new home on Enfield Street. But she still kept her interest in politics, knowing that cuts to programs meant cuts to programs that helped her, and could perhaps help her neighbors.
"I went from being a wife at home, to being in the work force," Ms. Ramirez said. "I want to see other people moving on."
Contact reporter Milton Valencia by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ART: PHOTOS; CHART
CUTLINE: (1) Cecelea Benitez, left, of Worcester, Obdulia Ruiz of Worcester, rear, and Luz C. Ramirez, a lead organizer with Neighbor to Neighbor, exchange greetings before they head to the Statehouse to lobby for the new meals tax proposal. (2) Luz C. Ramirez of Worcester, right, a lead organizer with Neighbor to Neighbor, talks with a group heading to the Statehouse to lobby for the new meals tax proposal. (CHART) Increasing voter turnout in Worcester
A person who takes photographs, especially as a profession; a photographer. : T&G Staff/BETTY JENEWIN