John Atlas, author of a book about the ACORN anti-poverty organizing group, is scheduled to speak at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Education on Friday, April 20, at 4:30 p.m. The event is in Enderis Hall, 2400 E. Hartford Ave., room 107.
Atlas will discuss his book, “Seeds of Change: The Story of ACORN, America’s Most Controversial Anti-Poverty Organizing Group.” The program is free and open to the public.
The book looks at ACORN’s accomplishments and the controversy leading to its demise. Atlas, a public interest lawyer, activist, radio talk show host and organizer, had unique access to ACORN’s meetings and staff in researching the book.
Economist Robert Kuttner wrote of the book, “In an era when our president is a onetime community organizer, ACORN needs to be better understood and appreciated as a source of civic and political mobilization. John Atlas combines scholarship, political insight and powerful narrative writing in this essential book.”
“ACORN was the largest and most important social action group of its era, unique in its ability to connect local organizing with national vision and power,” says Aaron Schutz, professor and chair of the Department of Educational Policy and Community Studies. “ACORN organizers walked the streets day in and day out, building community individual by individual, knocking on doors in impoverished neighborhoods. The story John Atlas tells captures ACORN’s successes and mistakes, providing key lessons for anyone who hopes to help build collective power among those struggling to succeed in an increasingly unequal America.”
The Department of Educational Policy and Community Studies and the Urban Studies Program at UWM are sponsoring Atlas’s presentation.