Down Home: What inspired you to get involved at Down Home?
Quintierra Jones: Seeing how the world looks & has been in the last 20 years, I learned that some people out there who (much like our current president) don’t care about our needs as human beings & I’ve wanted to help change how people live in this short time we have on earth. We all know that change happens unexpectedly & sometimes it takes a small spark to start something powerful among people.
Access to health care, improved living situations, financial well-being & clean environments are things I want to help create more of. Even if I can only do a small bit, I’m happy to know that I could help lighten the load of those who struggle to get by.
Down Home: What are some of the biggest issues facing your community? Why do they concern you?
Quintierra Jones: Housing. Equal pay for women. Equal treatment for those who may not be able to survive and for the future generations to come.
Like so many others before me, I struggled to get through life. In this economy, people can’t get everything they need to live and they have to make choices between basic needs just to make it to tomorrow. To me, that doesn’t seem right.
We know that tomorrow is never promised as we could slip away in a moment’s notice. For those who have to have medication or treatments for diseases, but can’t afford them, I cry knowing that I can’t help them. Next thing you know, they’re gone!
This concerns me to the point where I wonder, ‘Will the world will end w/ more than just an element?’ (referring to “Fire & Ice” by Robert Frost). Maybe it will end with this world covered in the blood of our brothers & sisters… that’s NOT what I want! As a society we need to help folks now. We are only as healthy as our neighbor.
We need people who can turn to each other and lift them up the second they see a problem and help carry them further than their crutches will. A crutch can only help lessen the pain of an injury (like a sprained ankle). Alone, a single person will struggle to support themselves on that crutch and juggle with whatever they’re trying to carry with that bad ankle. As they try to move on, they can slip & fall, injuring themselves! They will then need assistance in cleaning up a mess that’s too big for them alone. This is why we need to break the cycle! I’m done having to depend on others! I want to go off on my own & say:
“I DID THAT & I DIDN’T HAVE TO WEIGH SOMEONE ELSE DOWN TO DO IT!”
But as much as I want to be able to be independent, I know we need each other and community. For people to be independent and not reliant on others, that takes a community effort. That’s why I am a part of Down Home. We have to organize to make things fair and equitable so that people can thrive. We need fair housing prices– and must organize to get them. We need fair wages– and must organize to get them.
Down Home: Can you describe something that you have done or participated in with Down Home that felt particularly powerful or meaningful to you?
Quintierra Jones: Once, we held a health care vigil at the fountain in front of Jackson County Public Library. We spoke up about what bothered us & had shared experiences in our families of why we need a positive change in health care for the better of our lives.
It means a lot to be able to make the public see someone is there trying to help get the word about our experiences. It also means a lot to show that these are common experiences; that we all see & feel the same way about the state of health care access in North Carolina. We all want something done about this chaotic and unfortunate chain of events that have left so many people hurting. It’s important that we hear when others cry out and that we let them know ‘You’re NOT alone in this fight! I’ll help stand with you.’
I even still have the candle from the vigil that day & keep it as a reminder of why I do this work.