Momentum is a training institute and movement incubator. It gives progressive organizers the tools and frameworks to build massive, decentralized social movements.
- By combining and systematizing best practices from past movements, critical movement theory, and applicable skills, we encourage organizers to dream about big change, and give them the tools to make it happen.
What does Momentum teach?
We see two dominant traditions of organizing in the United States: structure-based organizing and mass protest. In the structure-based tradition, developed by Saul Alinsky and others, organizers start with one-on-one relationships to develop leadership and build a base that can advocate for the needs of particular constituencies. Structure-based organizations, such as community organizations and labor unions, make instrumental demands, using the base’s leverage over policymakers to win concrete reforms for their members. By contrast, in the mass protest tradition, autonomous groups of individuals create polarizing moments that inspire thousands of unaffiliated people to take to the streets around symbolic, popular social issues .
The Momentum model fuses the strengths of the structure-based organizing and mass protest to seed a new tradition of organizing in the United States. Built on the foundation of nonviolent civil resistance developed by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Momentum synthesizes the lessons of various 20th century movements, including the Color Revolutions of Eastern Europe and the Arab Spring in North Africa.
We believe Momentum is the model that this generation of movement-builders needs. Since 2014, a core team of volunteers has been sharing the model through trainings across the country that have already re-oriented hundreds of organizers to the theory and best practices of civil resistance. We teach organizers how to activate the public and change the political weather through civil disobedience, mass training, and popular demands. Organizers are learning to integrate discipline of traditional base-building organizations with the explosive growth of mass mobilization.
Through training and a national community of practice, Momentum aims to give activists the support and tools they need to launch a new wave of popular movements.
Organizations are simply vehicles to achieve purpose. Our purpose is huge: challenging the institutions and policies that uphold capitalism, racism, and patriarchy. Without the active involvement of hundreds of thousands of people, we are doomed to only achieve incremental victories every few years rather than win the public over transformative changes that might seem impossible today. Momentum wants to invest in leaders and teams of people who are poised to win big and drive popular movements in this country. No other group is better positioned to do this.
Previous participants in Momentum trainings come from groups doing some of the most important movement-building in the U.S., including Black Lives Matter, Dream Defenders, BYP100, United We Dream, Showing Up For Racial Justice, 350.org, National People’s Action, PICO, and more.
Momentum team leaders, as of April 2 2018 included;
- Nicole Carty is a Core Team member and Lead Trainer at Momentum
- Maria Fernanda Cabello is a Core Team member and Lead Trainer at Momentum
- Alexandra Flores-Quilty a Core Team member and Lead Trainer at Momentum
- Davida Ginsberg is the Development Director of Momentum
- Cicia Lee is the Training Director of Momentum
- Miski Noor is a Core Team member and Lead Trainer at Momentum
- Lissy Romanow is the Executive Director of Momentum
- Seth Woody is a Core Team member and Lead Trainer at Momentum
- We are indebted to the Momentum Founding Team and former core members, who paved the way for us. We honor and acknowledge their work in building Momentum.
Momentum founders were;
- Paul Engler, Co-Founder
- Max Berger, Co-Founder
- Guido Girgenti, Co-Founder
- Mirja Hitzemann, Co-Founder
- Belinda Rodriguez, Co-Founder
- Carlos Saavedra, Co-Founder
- Kate Werning, Co-Founder
Momentum former team members include;
Momentum trainers, as of April 2, 2018 included;
- Maria Fernanda Cabello
- Nicole Carty
- James Hayes
- Alexandra Flores-Quilty
- Prentiss Haney
- Emily Mayer
- Miski Noor
- Kandace Montgomery
- Kate Werning
- Seth Woody
- Hani Ali
- Ankur Asthana
- Max Berger
- Sara Blazevic
- Brianna Brilyahnt
- Stephen Brackett
- Jay Carmona
- Cherizar Crippen
- Michal David
- Nyle Fort
- Allen Kwabena Frimpong
- Makia Green
- Tim Harlan-Marks
- Mirja Hitzemann
- D’atra Jackson
- Dyanna Jaye
- Biola Jeje
- Morriah Kaplan
- Sophie Lasoff
- Will Lawrence
- Cicia Lee
- Yonah Lieberman
- Tania Maduro
- Thais Marques
- Michael McDowell
- Duncan Meisel
- Dani Moscovitch
- Akin Olla
- Adiel Pollydore
- Carlos Rojas Rodriguez
- Alwiyah Shariff
- Randall Smith
- Ayeisha Thomas-Smith
- Johnson Yeung
These movements were shaped and incubated with support from our training program and community. After the movements are incubated and launched, each runs independently with their own staff and volunteer infrastructure. We share an ongoing movement framework and a relationship of reciprocity, and are in deep personal relationships with one another. The movements share their insights and experiences with one another and other participants at trainings and organizing skillshares. Some of the top leaders of these movements are on our core team, many are Momentum trainers, and they all support building our community.
- Movimiento Cosecha is a nonviolent movement working to win permanent protection, dignity and respect for the 11 million undocumented people in this country.
“Our campaigns aim to bring our community from a place of fear and individual fights to determination and collective resistance. We are making headlines, and organizing a week without immigrants - building toward massive civil resistance and non-cooperation to show the country it depends on us.”
- IfNotNow is a movement to end the American Jewish Community's support for the Occupation, and for freedom and dignity for all.
"Today, the Jewish community is faced with a choice. Will we leave our tradition in the hands of out-of-touch leaders, or will we fight for a vibrant, liberated Jewish community that supports freedom and dignity for all Israelis and Palestinians?”
- AllOfUs, a movement to challenge Wall Street Democrats to represent a truly progressive agenda, or get out of the way.
"We need a new America. Now more than ever. Not based in hatred and greed, but community and care. Our generation is the most diverse, progressive generation, and we are demanding that Democrats pledge to do everything in their power to defend our communities and our democracy from Trump’s hate."
- Sunrise Movement is a movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process. Sunrise is building an army of young people to make climate change an urgent priority across America, end the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executives on our politics, and elect leaders who stand up for the health and wellbeing of all people.
"We are ordinary young people who are scared about what the climate crisis means for the people and places we love. We are gathering in classrooms, living rooms, and worship halls across the country. Everyone has a role to play. Public opinion is already with us -- if we unite by the millions we can turn this into political power and reclaim our democracy."
International Civil Resistance Forum
Wednesday, April 25, 2018 // New York City.
Join us for a day-long gathering with international civil resistance leaders and US movement builders as we look back on a year of unprecedented mobilization in the US across issue and identity, and consider the role of nonviolent protest movements in the year ahead. There is no better time to expand the conversation and learning community to include those with experience and expertise in mass movements here and abroad.
We will spend the day hearing about the challenges and successes that movement builders around the world have faced and how organizers in the US can respond to the historical challenges we are facing today. We'll be building relationships and sharing stories with international movement leaders, diving into case studies of movements around the world, doing fish-bowl style discussions on strategic decisions, and analyzing the rise of authoritarian regimes across the world.
The event will feature international experts in civil resistance and US based movement builders, including:
- Jamila Raqib, Executive Director of the Albert Einstein Institute
- Johnson Yeung, an organizer of the 2014 Hong Kong Umbrella Movement
- Ivan Marovic, former leader of the Otpor movement in Serbia
- An organizer from Venezuela who has asked to remain anonymous until the event
- We are also confirming speakers from Egypt and Zimbabwe and will be announcing them soon.