What do you think of when you hear the word “gang”? Maybe you think of drugs and violence. Certainly, “gang” is used most frequently in newspapers and t.v. to talk about groups of people engaged in crime and drug dealing.
But what makes a gang a gang is not the activities of its members. A gang happens when there is a group of people who share a common identity and engage in activities together.
The identity can be positive or negative. The activities can be positive or negative. A group of people can organize around a particular neighborhood for the purpose of selling drugs. Or a group of people can organize around a particular neighborhood for the purpose of cleaning up the local parks.
I know the word gang has some serious negative connotations, and you may be wondering why I chose to use it. I chose it because a gang is powerful. A gang is not powerful because it engages in violence or crime. It’s because gangs are powerful that those seeking power naturally form them.
A gang is powerful because it shares a common identity and activities. In math class, we learn that 1 + 1 = 2. But when two people form a relationship, a third entity is created– the relationship between those two. So, 1 + 1 = 3. Now take a situation with three people: Joe, Sandy, and Bill. In addition to the three people, there is a relationship between Joe and Sandy and between Sandy and Bill and between Joe and Bill. Joe + Sandy + Bill = 6. This equation continues to grow exponentially.
People are more powerful in communities than we are individually, and that’s the reason people have been forming communities since there have been people. And in a Change Gang, we harness that power for good.
We share an identity– we are people who care.
We share a belief– a cause that we care deeply about.
We share activities– researching non-profits and donating money.
And together we are exponentially more powerful than we are alone. Together we are changing the world.