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Coming to campus

- December 5, 2005

Coming to Campus is a section announcing visiting speakers of note.

Those who wish to submit items for this section should send a brief description (maximum 300 words) of the event, including the date, time, and place, and giving the name, title, outstanding accomplishments and, if available, a color photo of the speaker to: Visiting Speaker, Advance, 1266 Storrs Road, Storrs, CT 06269-4144 or by e-mail: advance@uconn.edu, with Visiting Speaker in the subject line.

The information must be received by 4 p.m. on Monday, a minimum of two weeks prior to the event.

Publication will depend on space available, and preference will be given to events of interest to a cross-section of the University community.

The University’s Urban and Community Studies Tri-Campus program and the UConn School of Social Work are co-sponsoring a public discussion on community organizing on Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 6:30 p.m.

The group will focus on the past, present, and future of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

In addition, a small discussion group on the topic will take place on Dec. 6 and 7.

This is “open by invitation.” If you wish to attend, please contact Robert Fisher, director of the Urban and Community Studies Tri-Campus program, at 860-570-9282 or by e-mail: Robert.Fisher@uconn.edu.

Started in 1970 in Little Rock, Ark., ACORN is one of the most powerful national networks of community-based organizing in the United States.

With more than 85 chapters, ACORN focuses on empowering poor and low-income people and winning victories for people in their communities through a variety of strategies and tactics, including direct action.

Recent campaigns have focused on Katrina Relief (ACORN’s national office was based in New Orleans), the Community Reinvestment Act, and helping to deliver affordable housing, promoting living wage initiatives, and challenging financial institutions for predatory lending and refund anticipation loan practices.

“ACORN and UConn: Still Going Strong After 35 Years of Community Organizing,” features Wade Rathke and Maude Hurd from ACORN, and a panel including Frances Fox Piven from the City University of New York; Joel Rogers, of the University of Wisconsin; and Louise Simmons, a professor of social work at UConn. Urban and community studies director Fisher will moderate the discussion.

“At a time when progressive-oriented organizations seem to be in decline or disarray, ACORN, even after 35 years, appears to be getting a second wind,” says Fisher. “It’s a good time to discuss critically its past and present as well as its potential for the future.”

The event will take place in the Zachs Community Room at the School of Social Work, 1798 Asylum Ave., West Hartford. It is free, and light refreshments will be served. For more information on ACORN see www.acorn.org.

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