Class Matters Workshops

Download this brochure for more information on Class Matters workshops.

If you're interested in hosting a workshop, please click here for a brochure, or contact me about booking an event.

Order Class Matters

Class Matters book cover

Order Class Matters: Cross-Class Alliance Building for Middle-Class Activists by Betsy Leondar-Wright (New Society Publishers, 2005).

Press Coverage of CM

Classist Comments

What's the most classist thing you ever heard someone say?

(I'm not talking about someone like Bill O'Reilly or your right-wing uncle. More specifically, what's the most classist thing you ever heard a liberal or progressive person say?)

Read five interviewees' answers — and my own.

Class and Other Identities

How do you experience class differently because of your race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, or other identity? What class dynamics do you notice within your identity groups?

Here's how a few visitors answered those questions:

And answers from the Class Matters book:

Tips from Working-Class Activists

Recognize Working-Class People's Constraints

In Southerners on New Ground, we always budgeted money to bring people who couldn't afford the travel to our weekend retreats. We bought plane tickets for people. We didn't make them fill out a fancy form to prove their need. We only got burned once.

— Pam McMichael

I remember going to a national women's group conference. They wanted low-income people and people of color there, so we said sure, Piedmont Peace Project would bring a group of folks in. First, they didn't do a sliding scale, which was shocking enough. But the worst thing was, we came with kids in tow, and we got there and there was no childcare. We had to turn around and go home. We were so used to providing childcare, we assumed there would be childcare.

Some groups have meetings in the middle of the day, and then wonder why no working people come. Ridiculous! We used to plan meetings taking people's work hours into consideration. In farm communities, we'd meet after dark. With millworkers, we'd have meetings in shifts, one in the morning and one at 6 p.m. You've got to know your constituency.

— Linda Stout

Who gets to be the gatekeeper for resources? In a poor community, when one organization has some access to, say, scholarship money for a training program, who decides? This woman controlled a pot of money to send people to our community organizing programs, and she wanted to give only partial scholarships so that participants would have to make some effort, do some fundraising. And I agree with that, because if something is given away, people don't value it, they're more likely to drop out. But I'm also aware of a barrier she's setting up, which is a class dynamic, and a classic example of gatekeeping.

— Raúl Quiñones Rosado

I hate it when middle-class advocates go to conferences themselves without taking low-income activists with them, and without raising money to fund low-income people to be able to go. No conference on poverty should happen without someone living in poverty. But also, don't send a low-income person by themselves! I went to DC by myself for a NOW conference, I didn't know where I was going, and they wanted more money from me than I was supposed to pay. You need someone else with you at a conference, like a buddy system. If you haven't been to enough conferences and aren't empowered enough to speak up, you need someone to have a conversation about what happened.

— Lisa Richards