It’s been a little over a year since I came onto the staff at Down Home North Carolina as an organizer, and nearly 8 months since I joined the leadership team as Co-Director alongside Todd Zimmer. It’s been two years since I ran for County Commissioner, and four years since I became a Down Home member when the organization was just getting started. I couldn’t be more proud of how far we have come… and where we are going.
As I write, Down Home is about to embark on the largest coordinated organizing push in our short history. We have identified nine key rural North Carolina counties to build in– two are ones in which we have active chapters, and seven are brand new to us. From the mountains to the coast, our teams will be knocking on doors and posting up at farmer’s markets in an effort to have 10,000 conversations with our rural neighbors to inform our platform process this summer and our electoral efforts this fall. If you live in a small town or rural North Carolina, we want to hear from you! Can you take five minutes to respond to this survey? Click here.
I am so excited to announce that this month we have launched the Down Home Fellowship Program. This program will be a six month, paid training program that will give small town folks the opportunity to learn skills and get a taste of formal organizing. To lead this program we have brought onto our team Femi Shittu, a Caswell County native who has built her career around bringing in and raising up young leaders. Femi knows what it is like to be from the country and is excited about bringing resources and investment to our communities. The first fellowship cohort will launch this June. You can learn more about it and apply to be a Down Home fellow here.
We have important work to move in North Carolina. This year we are paying special attention to school board elections. In the places where we work, we have both Proud Boys and Down Home members as Board of Education candidates and the far-right is relentlessly attacking our teachers and public schools. Holding the line around schools in our counties this year is essential to holding off extremism in North Carolina. If you want to get involved in the work to protect our schools and children, please contact Todd Warren here: [email protected]
We also believe that we have a real chance to pass Medicaid Expansion in North Carolina this year. Down Home is creating a campaign to mobilize rural folks and, finally, secure healthcare for nearly 500,000 North Carolinians living in the healthcare gap. We will be bringing you, our members, to talk to your representatives in Raleigh to tell your healthcare stories. We have to make them understand how important this is. If you want to to share your healthcare story with us, please contact Christine at [email protected]
Our Deep Canvassing Team will significantly support all these efforts by training volunteers to call into rural communities where persuadable representatives live. Bonnie Dobson leads our work in this area and has a special story: She also first met Down Home when a deep canvasser knocked on her door! She is living proof of how impactful this work can be. If you want to volunteer with our Deep Canvassing Team, please reach out to Bonnie at [email protected]
Thank you all for being with us in these important fights for our small towns and rural places. We love it here. We want to stay. We want you with us.
Come on in y’all, we have work to do!
Co-Director of Down Home North Carolina