Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Lecture to highlight presidential influence

Noted author Sanford Horwitt will speak on the influence pioneering Chicago community organizer Saul Alinsky has had on President Barack Obama.

The event, “Community Organizer-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Legacy of Saul Alinsky,” is co-sponsored by DU’s Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning and the University of Colorado-Denver’s School of Public Affairs.

Alinsky was a leading organizer of neighborhood citizen reform groups in the United States from 1936¬–72 and is considered by many to be the father of the community organizing movement. In 1939, he established the Industrial Areas Foundation to bring his method of reform to declining urban neighborhoods. In 2007, the Washington Post wrote: “… Obama embraced many of Alinsky’s tactics and recently said his years as an organizer gave him the best education of his life.”

Horwitt, author of Let Them Call Me Rebel: The Life and Legacy of Saul Alinsky, is a policy adviser and consultant to nonprofit civic organizations. Horwitt’s book is considered the definitive biography of Alinsky.

“Community organizing as it was conceived by Alinsky and carried on by the Industrial Areas Foundation cultivates local leaders, activates the talents of ordinary people and facilitates grassroots efforts to make communities better places to live,” says Eric Fretz, director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning.

The lecture and discussion will be 4:30–6:30 p.m. Oct. 7 at University Methodist Church, 21080 S. University Blvd. in Denver. Hors d’oeuvres will be served at 4 p.m. The event is open to the public.

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