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R.I.P. Community Organizer Extraordinaire Ed Chambers



Ed Chambers, Saul Alinsky’s successor as Executive Director of the Industrial Areas Foundation from 1972-2009, died yesterday.

I, and thousands of others, learned much from Ed over the years. I was an IAF community organizer for the last twelve years of my nineteen-year organizing career and am the kind of teacher that I am largely because of that experience.

IAF has always had a strong culture of critique among both organizers and volunteer leaders, and Ed had what I’m sure was a well-earned reputation of very gruff and candid. I, however, will always remember him being very gentle and supportive of me when he was my mentor during the time I was a trainer at the ten-day IAF National Training, considered by many as the best place to receive community organizing training.

You can purchase Ed’s book, Roots for Radicals: Organizing for Power, Action, and Justice, and learn more about him here.

You can learn more about the IAF at The Best Sites To Learn About Saul Alinsky.

Here’s a short video clip of Ed:

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. Thank you Larry for your tribute to Ed Chambers. I learned a lot from him and the other IAF organizers. He helped changed the lives of hundreds of leaders across the country.

  2. Thanks for posting this, Larry. Ed meant a lot to me as well and in much the same way as you describe so simply.

    Good to see you still contributing.

  3. Good witness, Larry. I’m really curious to watch that whole video. What is the URL?

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