BUILDING COMMUNITY by Harlan Russell Green (Turkey)

Answering Kennedy’s Call


Harlan Green

Building Community Answering Kennedy’s Call, Harlan Green’s memoir of his years working to build successful communities at home and abroad, shows what is possible when communities come together to improve their lives. 

He describes his work as a Peace Corps Volunteer in a rural community development program in a Turkish village, teaching vocational skills and convincing the villagers to develop new agricultural methods. 

Green also worked as a photographer and filmmaker for the USEPA in its earliest days lobbying communities to implement the Clean Air and Water Acts that were enacted to mitigate the growing air and water pollution.

He joined Cesar Chavez and the United Farmworkers of America during its mid-1970s struggle organizing seasonal farm workers to better their living conditions; documenting the grape and lettuce boycotts, and Cesar’s charismatic leadership using non-violent methods to fight violent opposition by growers and the Teamsters Union.

He then brings what he has learned home when he finds his own community, where he leads a neighborhood planning effort that results in the formation of a livable city safe for children as well as adults. 

Building Community: Answering Kennedy’s Call
Harlan Russell Green (Turkey 1964–66)
Peace Corps Writers
May 2022
143 pages
$9.99 (paperback), $8.95 (Kindle)


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  • This is a quick yet serious read. It could never be called a “blast from the past” because of the depth of the author’s commitment to bringing positive change into our world. It would be inspirational for undergraduates. I wished momentarily for a syllabus that I could include Building Community, Answering Kennedy’s Call as required reading.
    Sherry Keith, Professor Emerita

  • From Peace Corp Volunteer, to filmmaker for the Environmental Protection Agency, to a journalist and filmmaker for the United Farmworkers Union, to the grassroots effort to redevelop Goleta into a “livable community,” Harlan Green demonstrates the power communities have to achieve common goals. Green embodies the concept of service with honesty, humility, and vision. The historical references embedded in the day-to-day work of collaborative community building brings color and warmth to this book, as do the poems Harlan has written, which literally brought tears to my eyes so moving and evocative were they. This is a book about hope and the courage to stand up for a future that believes in and builds upon the collective needs of its people. Kathryn Brown

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