Who We Are
What is OOC?
Formed in 2007, the Ohio Organizing Collaborative (OOC) is an innovative statewide organization uniting community organizations, faith institutions, labor unions and policy groups across Ohio. We are a coalition of 20 organizations with members in every major metropolitan area across the state, working on issues including minimum wage reform, ending mass incarceration, and combatting climate change.
It is our mission to organize everyday Ohioans, building transformative power for social, racial, and economic justice in our state. To achieve these ends, OOC manages a diverse portfolio of issue organizing, non-partisan electoral programming, leadership training and movement building work – employing a broad range of techniques, including faith-based, worker-led, neighborhood-based, student-led, and constituency organizing models.
What’s at Stake?
Ohio is a battleground state: not only for Presidential elections,but for the future of the American economy and our democracy itself. For most of the twentieth century, ours was a state where people migrated for good-paying jobs in steel fabrication, automobile production, and manufacturing work associated with those and other industries.Today, Ohio is ground zero for the restructuring of our national economy. As poverty-wage jobs replace good-paying jobs across the state, our cities and neighborhoods are in continual decline, poverty rates are soaring and most children have considerably less opportunity than did their parents.
Ohio plays a central role in the national narrative of the disappearing middle class, rising racial tension, the growing anxiety of white working class families, and polarization resulting from increased economic insecurity. We are headed in one of two directions: Ohio can continue its decline, resulting in an increasingly reactionary electorate, deeper poverty and racial inequity, and a majority low-wage worker economy; or Ohio can become an engine for the new economy, a leader in addressing racial disparity, leveraging our electoral significance to shape a national agenda on poverty, rebuild our cities, and point the way for the Midwest and our nation.
Our Vision for Ohio
At OOC, we are building a social movement with the capacity to shape a new Ohio economy that expands opportunity, dismantles implicit racial and gender biases, and increases democratic participation through voting and day-to-day organizing.
We recognize that this is a long-term project, with results that may take ten or more years to achieve. OOC has a core commitment to the development of everyday people, to their political formation and resulting capacity to build power for themselves. We believe that lasting social change occurs from the bottom-up, in church basements and union halls, at community centers and on the doors.
The progressive movement cannot be sustained by the East and West coasts; we all fail if we cannot engage ‘the middle’ of our country. And we cannot build a national progressive movement by flying operatives into the Midwest for a few months during each election cycle. At OOC, we are committed to recruiting and developing a talented, diverse staff of organizers who are rooted in Ohio and committed to this long-term strategy.
It’s simple: We need an Ohio that leads the U.S. in public education investments, not an Ohio leading the attack on public workers.
We need an Ohio that prioritizes the revitalization of older industrial cities through the development of green manufacturing jobs, not an Ohio that privatizes its public economic development agency.
We need an Ohio that builds our economy through good jobs and strong communities, not an Ohio boasting hundreds of statutes preventing returning citizens from obtaining employment and systematically disenfranchising two million Ohioans.
We need an Ohio that makes progressive public infrastructure investments, not an Ohio focusing on massive tax breaks for the corporate elite and a wealthy few.
We need an Ohio that creates opportunity for everyone regardless of race or citizenship, not an Ohio where immigrants and people of color are scapegoated for our state’s economic and social decline.