'Midwife for Power': Towards a Mujerista / Womanist Model of Community Organizing

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Alexandra Piñeros Shields


In recent years, communities have responded to police violence in U.S. cities through confrontational models of community organising that evolved from patriarchal and male approaches. Very often, these approaches have not produced the hoped-for outcomes. In this article, I argue that a women-led community organising model, grounded in feminine relational power-with epistemologies, can lead to innovative policy changes, including in contexts of intractable problems, such as police misconduct. This article presents the Midwife for Power community organising model, which creates space for women organisers to nurture solidarity and creativity across all lines of difference, centres personal testimony and uses collective inquiry to create relational power to address injustice. Theoretically, this model draws on the rich insights of Black and Latina organisers and scholars, as well as traditions of intersectional solidarity. In order to illustrate the model, this article presents an empirical case study of a successful police accountability campaign.

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Research articles (Refereed)