This past Saturday, July 16, was a great day for democracy and change in Johnston County, North Carolina. Down Home members gathered in Smithfield Community Park to launch the newest chapter of Down Home.
There were folks new to organizing and new to Down Home, as well as longtime friends of the organization in attendance. About 30 people gathered in the park to create fellowship, eat some BBQ together, and workshop what the most pressing issues for Johnston County are.
Member Kelvin Moore, who everyone calls Coach, gave a speech welcoming everyone. He talked about why being a Down Home member is important to him. “I became a member because I like the mission they stand for,” he said. “We can have a strong voice if we are united.” He went on to say how he believed in the future. “We’re in the beginning stages now, but if we stay united we can have a tremendous impact.”
Because Johnston County is tight knit, Coach has actually taught the organizer for the event, Liz Lynn. Lynn talked about her journey as a young person, from being raised in the beautiful rolling farmland, to moving away because she wanted more opportunities for her family. But, in the end, she loves her home and came back to Johnston because that’s where her home is.
“I want to be a part of the solution and get resources so I can stay here,” said Lynn. Many people at the event echoed this sentiment–that they want to work together to improve their community and make it all it can be.
The chapter launch came after many years of Down Home’s ongoing “deep listening project” where local members and canvassers talking to local residents about what concerns them. To read some preliminary findings, check out Down Home’s “What we are hearing in Johnston County” report.
The first steps of the newly formed chapter will be to work on creating their local platform, which they will then use to make endorsements for the 2022 election cycle.