Grassroots: passionate people with community mindset

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Having people with the right mindset is fundamental to grassroots movements, according to a Pizza and Politics panel discussion held in the Ragan Theatre on Oct. 10.

Panelists spoke about the importance of having an issue-focused movement, and making sure that the effort is not reliant on one person.

Sarah Scott, a panel member and community organizer, spoke about “checking your ego” when getting involved in grassroots movements.

“A lot of times you get into a movement and you’re like, ‘I’m going to do this, this, this,’ and you can’t control everything,” Scott said. “For a movement to be successful, you can’t be in the spotlight 24/7 because it is all about the community and sharing these interactions that we have.”

Cristobal Villegas, also a panel member and community organizer, and Scott spoke about the hard work that goes into movements, especially behind the scenes, and having people who are passionate and willing to do the work as members of a community.

“If you are just trying to fill your résumé, the chance of you being really involved is probably slim because you’re not really passionate,” Scott said.

Panelists mentioned the importance of a welcoming environment within groups.

“I can guarantee that those you go to and you don’t feel included, those groups probably won’t last to be honest,” Scott said.

Sean Hagedorn, a biology junior, asked about whether peaceful or effective protests and demonstrations should be a higher priority.

“What is legal and what’s not, what’s a punch and what’s not a punch, we know that,” Villegas said. “At the end of the day, protest is disruption… If you really do believe in what you believe in, you are going to do what you must to make sure that change occurs.”

Villegas continued by describing many different methods of protest and demonstration, and that he is not in a position to criticize methods of legal protest for what others may believe is necessary to achieve change.

“There is never a reason to kill someone or seriously harm someone regardless of the difference in opinion,” Scott said. “That’s when it gets too far. Respect one another … ”