Community Action Works
Community Action Works

Our Values

Engage with courage and tenacity.

Every day, we rise up against powerful polluters posing serious threats to public health and the environment. We are called to take action in ways that might feel challenging, scary, and vulnerable, or bring us into conflict. Often, we work with community leaders who are going through an exceptionally challenging time in their lives, who may be finding out that their families have been poisoned or that their health is at risk, and we are calling on them to organize, too. We know we have to do this work, and we know that to do it, we need courage. We need to be brave enough to fight back and tenacious enough to keep fighting until we reach justice. We also know that when we stand together, we are more courageous than we are alone. So our story doesn’t end with fear. Rather, moments of fear and conflict are opportunities for us to build community power, and win.

Organize with vision and imagination.

When we organize with vision and imagination, we dream up the future we’re headed to and create it as we go. We need imagination because we’re working to build something we’ve never seen before. We need vision to ground us in our work, inspire others to join us, and to keep us heading towards healthy communities. Vision and imagination reflect how we think about the big picture, and also how we organize day to day. We value trying new tactics, engaging in a creative and iterative process, and collaboration and cross-pollination with partners and non-traditional organizing allies. We set an intention to be flexible, to sit with discomfort that may come with trying out new ideas, and to infuse our work with creative energy. Imagination and vision are the values that push us to be proactive in building a new world. We value creativity in our own lives, and work to bring imagination and vision to our organizing, our post-campaign visioning, and our big-picture vision for our future.

Guide, don’t decide.

We believe that the local leaders for public health and the environment are the best experts on their own communities, and they must be the ultimate decision-makers. We value having deep, authentic relationships with the leaders and groups with whom we work. We value collaboration, conflict resolution, and having hard conversations. And importantly, we value deeply listening to what the folks we work with need and being transparent and accountable in our process to guide them towards making their own decisions for their communities.

Build community power.

We are committed to building community power from the bottom up. We believe that when people come together, we build power to take action for a healthy environment and transform our world. We believe that people power will bring about transformation. We plant the seeds of community, love, and justice and tend to them, nurturing the growth of community power, and helping people see that we can use our power to make the change we need.

Seed transformation.

We value work to help others understand how transforming the fate of health and environment in their community is tied to transforming the fate of our whole world—just as we mobilize activists to work beyond their own backyard, we intend to bring them into the fight to end all oppression. We are committed to bringing about real, lasting change that will transform the world.