Movement Building in the Context of Community Acupuncture

POCA’s Movement Building Circle wants to share models of the ways our clinics are supporting movements for social, racial, and economic justice. We hope to build upon the activism that’s already happening and expand our reach, impact, and connection to grassroots movements led by directly-impacted people.  In upcoming blog posts, we’ll invite POCA members to share stories of how they’re supporting movements and think collectively through how we can do more.  First, we wanted to share some thoughts on what movement building is and what it has to do with community acupuncture.

What is movement building? 
Movement building is the process of investing in relationships and developing the people power needed to fight oppression and advance collective liberation.  In a time when we're encouraged to see ourselves as individuals and consumers, participating in movements requires us to understand ourselves as interconnected and multidimensional human beings.  Building movements is a slow, deep and dynamic process, requiring time to build trust, humility and perseverance.

Movement building acknowledges that our liberations are bound up with each other and that none of us are free until all of us are. Movement building is different from public health and other kinds of service work in that it seeks a fundamental shift in the power relationships within our society; it supports the leadership of those directly impacted by a given problem as being the most able to provide transformative, liberatory, and just solutions.

How can POCA clinics and members participate in movement building?
As we know, POCA clinics provide critical services for many members of the community: a quiet refuge, relief from all sorts of physical and emotional pain, and space to heal and connect.  Those fighting on the frontlines against oppression and violence need places to recuperate and find relief in order to go out and live or fight another day.  In working to make our clinics as accessible and inclusive as possible, we can provide a little bit of respite to help fortify the work many are doing to transform our world for all of us. 

The Movement Building Circle hopes to expand the involvement of POCA clinics and members, acknowledging that we are already in a good position to contribute to and collaborate with movements. Many clinics already are! Punks form relationships with hundreds of community members, by nature of the job, which puts us in touch with the needs of the community.  Clinics provide physical spaces for relationship building and information sharing to happen, and in some clinics, it may be possible to use the space for organizing purposes after hours as well.  This fits well with POCA's vision, part of which is building alliances with organizations that build community. 

In upcoming blog posts, we hope to highlight other meaningful and creative ways that clinics are participating in movement building.  Some of these posts will feature stories on
Supporting immigrant rights organizing
Punking when you feel politically isolated in conservative cities
Providing bilingual materials
Offering on site CA at detention centers and community organizations, and
Supporting families of prisoners, as well as prison advocacy and education

We also want to hear from you!  We hope you’ll participate in the conversation by
Giving us an idea for a story or sending us the name of someone you’d like us to interview
Creating a blog post about how your clinic is already involved in movement building
Sharing pictures or artwork related to movement building in your area
Interviewing someone in video, podcast or blog format to be shared
Story ideas can be sent to Zelda at .

This is a publication of POCA’s Movement Building Circle, where we envision collective liberation through collaborating with social movements and leveraging POCA's resources.  Learn more about the circle’s mission and goals at this link [] or contact Sonja Sivesind at to get involved.

Author: nicolemaniez

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  1. I love this. I have always thought liberations are all connected. I want to build alliances and build community. I look forward to learning how.