Pittsfield Listens Theory of Change

Pittsfield Listens supports historically marginalized youth and adult leaders through education, training, and participatory leadership development so that students succeed in the Pittsfield schools and beyond. We do this through our member-led organizing committees, as an effective means to create the change we wish to see in our communities- locally and beyond.

We embrace the phrase- Nothing about us, without us.  This says that the people most affected by a problem are in the best position to determine the solutions. Therefore, we work to remove barriers to participation and we support leadership development. These are essential components of community change work and healthy, thriving civic life. We approach leadership development in a participatory, train the trainer style rooted in a popular education framework. This honors facilitators and participants both as co-learners and experts to critically reflect on issues and themes that surface.

Long-term sustainable change occurs when underlying systemic issues are understood and addressed.  This means we talk directly and explicitly about identity- race, class, sexuality, gender- and the relationship between identity, inequity and power. In this, we support youth and adults with the supportive space to explore these complex issues and help change the structures that create inequality by bringing to light those systems of oppression that we have normalized and made invisible.

This also means we organize youth and adults impacted by a problem to:

  • Identify and educating community on root causes
  • Advocate for just solutions
  • Hold the community/schools accountable to the needs of marginalized members
  • Ensure students/families are authentically included in decision-making

Whole communities are needed to shift power dynamics and recreate schools/communities as liberatory forces. We work with stakeholders for an “inside” (within systems) and “outside” (community-based) approach.

True change also occurs through authentic partnerships.  Pittsfield Listens works to deepen relationships across local, state and regional partnerships with youth and parent organizing groups.  We work to build multi-racial, cross-class, intergenerational, and cross-geography partnerships so that historically marginalized people are engaged in transforming culture and policy in New England, grounded in the values of community, equity, justice, and love.

Learn more about what we do here