Plan Podcast Episode 040: Community Organizing with Elle Dowd

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Do you feel compelled to be more outspoken about social justice issues but you aren’t quite sure where to start? Today I’m joined by my friend and mentor Elle Dowd of Elle Dowd Ministry. Elle will talk to us about different methods for community organizing and how to help shift people’s perspectives on sensitive issues. We’ll also discuss her upcoming book, Baptized in Tear Gas, and what she’s learned and unlearned as a white woman in the movement for Black lives.

Within today’s episode we’ll cover the following questions and topics, see timestamps below to jump to these sections of the interview:

1. I was so appreciative of the feedback you offered me regarding my two previous episodes on Modern Deep Canvassing. One piece of advice you offered me was to recognize where my energy is best spent and who can actually be moved on issues. I thought that was really helpful and the way you explained it was really great, too. I was wondering if you could walk listeners through that as well? Topic begins at 3:09

2. I think I made it pretty obvious that I’m a massive fan of your work. Over the years you’ve managed to shift my perspective on a wide variety of issues. Is there a specific method or framework you follow when trying to help people become open to changing their minds or supporting more progressive ideas? Topic begins at 9:54

3. You recently wrote a book, Baptized in Tear Gas, which we’ll talk more about in a second. The book is about how you transformed from a white moderate to an abolitionist. You now advocate very publicly for the liberation of Black lives. I’m curious if Elle from 10 years ago could spend an hour witnessing the work you are doing now and the way you advocate and speak out, what would she think? Did you always feel so confident with public speaking, protesting, and advocacy? Topic begins at 13:14

4. Do you have advice for people who are sitting on the sidelines of any issue and feel passionate about getting more involved but aren’t sure where to start? Topic begins at 20:00

5. Now to circle back around about the book. Thank you so much for letting me be a part of the launch and giving me the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the book. I loved it and have a full review on my website for anyone interested in pre-ordering it. We’ll also put a link in today’s show notes. I would also love to write a book someday, and I know many listeners probably have similar aspirations. So, now as a published author, do you have any advice to share with us about the writing or publishing process? Topic beings at 26:12

6. Your book could be seen as a white person writing about Black pain. White people are often discouraged from profiting from this type of work, which I know we both understand and support. One thing I’ve really appreciated about watching you write and launch your book is the very thoughtful approach you have had to this and how you’ve navigated it, even though I know it has been a point of conflict for you throughout the process. Could you talk a little bit about that and how white people can share their experiences and help inform others without crossing that line? Topic begins at 30:00

Important Links:

You can find Elle’s work at

Follow Elle on Instagram at @HowNowBrownDowd

Pre-order Elle’s Book, Baptized in Tear Gas

My Review of Elle’s Book

People’s Action Network

The Alinksy Method for Community Organizing


Plan Podcast Episode 040: Community Organizing with Elle Dowd

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