Paul Getsos has more than 25 years of experience working to expand participation by disadvantaged people in the decisions impacting their lives and their communities. Over the past four years, he has worked at the intersection of the new vibrant social movement formations addressing climate change and inequality. He currently serves as the National Director of the People’s Climate Movement, which is working at the intersection of climate change, economic and racial justice. The Peoples Climate Movement has mobilized over 600,000 over the last 3 years on the issues of climate change and justice – most recently in one of the largest mobilizations against the Trump administration this last spring. PCM is also working at the state and local level to build a strong climate movement rooted in economic and racial justice and working to bring climate change into the national dialogue during next years important mid-term elections.
The co-author of an award winning and widely used book, Tools for Radical Democracy, Paul’s work has expanded participation by everyday people in a variety of forums. He has innovated new tools drawing from the rich history of efforts to address social ills through greater civic participation, civil rights organizing and community building techniques developed in the United States and abroad. For most of his career, he has served extremely low-income communities developing leaders in areas that have been written off by traditional institutions, winning major systemic reforms to enhance economic self-sufficiency. He has also worked with other constituencies, including working as a pro bono trainer with organization's working on LGBTQ issues. For the past year, Paul has applied these experiences to the growing climate change movement.
In addition to serving as a senior strategist to the People’s Climate March, Paul has been developed recommendations for a new multi-million dollar program spearheaded by the Center for Community Change to transform the debate on poverty and provides support and training for organizers and community organizations around the country. Paul is a co-founder of Community Voices Heard, one of the country’s preeminent low-income community organizations; where, as Executive Director, he managed programs that improved education and training for tens of thousands of welfare recipients and created more than 20,000 jobs for low-income people.
Paul received a grant from the Ford Foundation to learn about social movements in Argentina, particularly movements of the unemployed, and has shared his research with thousands of community leaders in the United States. As a result of his work in Argentina, the Harvard Responsible Endowment Coalition formed a partnership with local environmental activists on a campaign to get Harvard to divest from a company working to destroy one of the world's largest wetlands.
Paul is a recipient of the Ford Foundation’s Leadership for a Changing World Award, and has taught community engagement, movement building and advocacy courses at a range of institutions including Columbia School of Social Work, City University of New York, and Sciences Po Public Policy School in Paris, France.
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