Building Statewide Power During a Crisis

Down Home and the NC United for Survival and Beyond demands.

Things have changed in North Carolina. 

Over the last three weeks, North Carolina schools have closed, a stay-at-home order has been issued for the entire state, and filings for unemployment have reached near-historic levels in our state. The communities in which Down Home members live and organize are scrambling to not only adapt to these rapid changes, but also to build power and build community in new ways so we are never in this situation again. In the meantime: This is hard. 

COVID-19 is exposing the social, economic, and political crisis our communities have been bearing for decades and more. Working and poor people, rural people, Black people, people of color, LGBTQ people, disabled people, elderly people, youth and students, parents, immigrants, migrants and refugees, folks struggling with addiction, incarcerated people, and women are no strangers to a broken economic and political system which provides security for an elite few by actively sidelining the wellbeing and dignity of the rest of us. We have known for a long time now that we are dealing with a crumbling public infrastructure that has little to no capacity to truly ensure that the most vulnerable and marginalized among us can survive this kind of crisis– we have witnessed that through natural disasters such as Hurricane Florence in North Carolina, and we have long witnessed it in our own small towns and rural communities that were gutted during the most recent recession, and have been ignored in the “recovery.” More and more we see that those who are seated in power to represent our interests act in the opposite of those interests. 

That’s why we organize. 

Our communities are no strangers to organizing ourselves and our loved ones so that no one will be left behind. At Down Home, we are relying on each other in deeper ways while we also are organizing to create change in the institutions and pressure those who currently hold the power to release needed funding and support for our communities. 

Much of the work of Down Home and our members over these last few weeks has been organizing with over 170 organizations from across the state– from the NC AFL-CIO to Siembra NC– to create a platform of demands that intentionally link together the struggles of our marginalized communities. This platform resists the dog-whistle politics so common in our state that tear apart our causes and fracture our collective power: The North Carolina United for Survival and Beyond platform recognizes that all of our futures are intimately tied together. 

North Carolina United for Survival and Beyond Platform

The demands we have constructed collectively through the NC United for Survival and Beyond platform are by no means comprehensive, but they do lay out the critical needs for our communities in this moment of crisis and reflect not only our fundamental values but the fundamental necessities of a functioning democracy:

  • Healthcare is a human right and no person should be denied care and treatment;
  • Housing is a human right and no person should be homeless, live in fear of eviction or displacement; 
  • All of our families matter; parents and caregivers must be supported regardless of family size, citizenship status, gender, ability, and sexual orientation 
  • From domestic, city, and healthcare workers to retail and service workers, contractors, and educators: All workers deserve livable wages, benefits, safety, dignity and protection;
  • ICE does not keep our communities safe or resolve a broken immigration system; migrants and refugees have the right to live free from fear; 
  • Prisons and detention centers are not the answer to the challenges facing our society and pose a significant health risk to both incarcerated individuals and workers during this pandemic;
  • Democracy must work not just for corporations and the elite few who can pay to have their profit-driven agendas prioritized, but for all of us.

Thank you to all of our members and supporters for helping us pull together at this time, write this platform, and push hard for it over the last three weeks. If you want to learn more about it, visit and, if it speaks to you, sign your name. 

Together, we can do this. What’s important is right here, Down Home.