People Power explores the potential of community organizations to develop political consciousness among working class and poor people. Judith N. DeSena argues that participation in community organizations can empower residents to challenge government and corporations, and attempt to influence the outcome of policy decisions regarding municipal services, and the future of neighborhoods. She contends that the people who participate in these organizations are transformed politically in many ways, including their racial attitudes. DeSena points out that involvement in community organizations challenges the participants' stereotypical perceptions of race and ethnicity, and may lead to fewer conflicts between cultures in urban locales. Overall community organizations possess the potential to increase participation in the democratic process, while easing common stress between members of the community, and improving the lives of the people living in complex urban environments.
Judith N. DeSena is Associate Professor of Sociology at St. John's University.