web analytics

Photo of the day: But if you teach me to organize…

But if you teach me to organize...

A few months ago I was walking down the street in TriBeCa and noticed this amazing poster in a window on Hudson Street. I didn’t have my camera with me so I sent a triptych-tweet with the words instead.



If you give me a fish you have fed me for a day.
If you teach me to fish then you have fed me until the river is contaminated or the shoreline seized for development.
But if you teach me to organize then whatever the challenge I can join together with my peers and and we will fashion our own solution.

I found this quote so inspiring and it stuck in my mind. The other day I happened to pass by it again and had my camera this time. Now I can share it with you.

I did a little Googling and found that the artist is Ricardo Levins Morales. A clearer image of the poster is on his site. I plan to purchase the poster to hang above my desk as a reminder that I can’t change the world alone.

I hope you enjoy this.

Related Posts:

Want to help put humanity back into business?

Sign up for email notifications to stay up-to-date on Whitney's latest writings, speaking engagements, client projects, special offers, and other news.

  • http://www.gumption.com Jennifer b

    Yes. I remember this poster. It is a great notion to rally around. We do need to teach fishing, it's always better to enable people to rely on themselves. That way we can help them solve the even bigger problems they need to tackle. :)

  • http://www.orianmarx.com/ Orian Marx

    That's awesome, but I prefer this saying: “Make a man a fire and he can cook for one day. Set a man on fire and he will burn the rest of his life.”

    • http://www.whitneyhess.com/blog Whitney Hess

      What a great quote. I Googled it but turned up nothing. Did you make it up?!

      • http://www.orianmarx.com/ Orian Marx

        The correct quote is apparently “Give a man a fire and he's warm for the day. But set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life.” – Terry Pratchett http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/23897.html

  • http://www.punkave.com Geoff DiMasi

    I love the concept.

    We have been teaching our students about self-organization tools andI love how this overlaps.

  • BruceEsrig

    Thanks for tracking down the artist and his site.

    This poster melds two historically important movements. Its lesson originates in the labor movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Its setting is the ecological awareness of the most recent half century, as expressed by the Hudson River revival movement.

    • http://www.whitneyhess.com/blog Whitney Hess

      Thanks for this thoughtful analysis, Bruce!

  • Gerry Maine

    Is there one person credited with this quote?

    • http://www.whitneyhess.com/blog whitney

      I haven’t been able to find it, sorry!

      • Gerry Maine

        Thanks, Whitney. I like Bruce’s explanation. We will use the quote in recruting community organizers. It would be helpful to credit whomever melded this together.