New Threats

In November, 1994, the resurgence of the Republican Party in Congress dramatically changed the political picture for ACORN. It posed new threats to long-standing ACORN campaigns and meant a loss of support for ACORN initiatives. It was not, however, anything ACORN had not seen before. From its beginning, ACORN had fought against politicians who resisted their ideas and their work to build power for low- and moderate-income people. The history of ACORN shows it is stronger than ever and better prepared for the continued struggle. 

The last five years have witnessed major innovations in ACORN organizing, making it a stronger organization prepared to operate in a hostile political climate and win. SEIU Locals 100 and 880 have grown enormously, signing up healthcare workers, school employees, janitorial workers, and nurses, among others. Communications have grown also, including a TV station in Salinas, California. New techniques in organizing have increased dues-paying and meeting attendance, especially in large cities. Important new chapters have been added in Seattle, Milwaukee, San Jose, and Baltimore. Finally, mass turnouts at ACORN actions include a crowd of 5,000 for a community meeting in New York and over 10,000 in Philadelphia. 

ACORN has shown that it is always open to new approaches, is always reaching out to organize the unorganized, is always adapting to new circumstances, and is continually developing its ability to empower low- and moderate-income people wherever they live or work. Opportunities and threats come and go, but the mission of ACORN is clear, the vision remains: power through organization and direct action.

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