Down Home, now from the mountains to the sea!

August 2022

Building rural movements, one person at a time.

We've expanded our work, y'all! Our chapters are highlighted: Ashe, Alamance, Cabarrus, Caswell, Craven, Granville, Johnston, Person, and Watauga Counties.
 

July was a BIG month for growing people’s power in North Carolina. We see all you’re doing, and are so grateful to be building this movement with you.

 

Down Home launched SEVEN new chapters across the state in July!

 

You and your neighbors have come together with us to form new, strong, multiracial, and working-class units of power in these new counties:

 

  • Ashe
  • Cabarrus
  • Craven
  • Granville
  • Johnston
  • Person
  • Watauga

 

This all builds on our OG Down Home chapter in Alamance. And we’re not even done growing yet!

 

We are member-driven. This means folks from rural communities from Boone to Oxford to New Bern are stepping up to organize and lead the way to solve problems in our own communities. It also means our members are organizing across counties to join forces and create a larger people’s movement that addresses problems that can only be solved on a bigger, statewide level.

 

As folks learned at the chapter launches with our rope exercise, it’s only by working together that we can actually flex our people power and make the positive changes we want to see.

 

And speaking of the rope exercise, one thing we definitely want to see more of: the kind of fun, teamwork, and fellowship that brought us all together throughout the last month. Here’s a gallery of our chapters in action from the past month.    

Alamance celebrates disco-style

The Alamance Chapter of Down Home has been established for a long time. So for their meeting in July they truly took it old school with a ’70s disco theme. While adults talked about Alamance’s current needs, kids were asked to envision the futures they wanted. We even had a visit from chapter-endorsed school board candidate Seneca Rogers.

 

You can register for Alamance’s next chapter meeting on August 27 (platform heels are optional!). For more info, contact Alicia at [email protected].

Ashe: Small county, big power!

Our members in Ashe County launched their local chapter this month turning out folks from all the hollers!

 

From youth to elders, working class people in Ashe are ready to organize to get the things we need: Healthcare, housing, and better jobs with decent pay. Register for the next chapter meeting on Tuesday, Aug.16. Email Dolly, [email protected]

Cabarrus County brings big chapter energy!

One of North Carolina’s fastest growing counties, Cabarrus is also one of our fastest growing chapters! Biggest issues: education and housing.

 

“Together we can build something really powerful here in Cabarrus County,” said Taeja Fitzgerald, local resident and Down Home’s Field Organizer there. Register for the next chapter meeting on Saturday, Aug. 27. Contact: Taeja, [email protected]

Craven County: Ready to create the future

Craven County was the first capital of North Carolina and the birthplace of Pepsi. Now it’s the birthplace of a new people’s energy.

Members came out to create a new chapter and address issues such as the justice system, the environment, healthcare, and housing. Folks in the chapter are knowledgeable and ready to organize! Contact: Tara, [email protected]

Granville County: Small place, huge chapter

Rural Granville County is ready for change! Several folks told us Oxford hasn’t seen such a big organizing event in a long time. It was known for growing tobacco for a long time–but now it’s growing political power.

 

“Something new is needed here,” said one person. We feel you! Register to attend the next Granville working group on Tuesday, Aug. 2. For more info, contact Toia at [email protected]

Johnston County is ready for a change

About 40 people came to Johnston County’s chapter launch in Smithfield. The biggest issues? Healthcare, schools, and public transportation. You can make a difference! Register for the next Johnston County working group meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 2. Contact Liz, [email protected]

Person County wants to do the work

The new chapter in Person County showed up strong in Roxboro! “When we come together and work together, we can have power here in Person County,” said April Short, Down Home’s Field Organizer.

 

Register for the next Person County working group meeting on Thursday, Aug. 4. For more info, contact April, [email protected].

Watauga County organized!

Our local members turned out in Boone, NC to lead visioning sessions about the fair and equitable County they dream about! They want to see higher wages and fair employment, safe, clean, decent and affordable housing, and a medical system that works for us all! With their new chapter here, they are one step closer to making these things a reality for working families! Register for the next working group meeting on Aug. 4. Contact  [email protected].

Folks gathered at the H.E.A.L. Together NC meeting of "What do you want? What do you need?" in Alamance in July. We brainstormed what the REAL problems are in our local public education system. Do you know what wasn't mentioned as a real problem by parents? CRT, obscene books, or book displays of LGBT literature.

H.E.A.L. (Honest Education Action & Leadership) Together NC is building a movement of students, educators, and parents in school districts across North Carolina who believe that an honest, accurate and fully funded public education is the foundation for a just, multiracial democracy.

Your public schools need your help.

That’s why you are invited to join a statewide call on Thursday, Aug. 11 at 7 p.m. as we continue to explore ways to address the urgent issues we face in public schools. 

Part of Race Forward’s national initiative H.E.A.L Together, we have partnered with the Education Justice Alliance  to create powerful, committed teams capable of shifting power locally and statewide. 

On the August 11 call we will discuss ways to:

  • Prepare your county to engage in local school board issues
  • Build working teams of public school parents, students and supporters that work in coalition with public school partners
  • Engage parents, students, educators, and other public education supporters in a multiracial coalition to defeat right-wing attacks on local school boards

We spent July meeting with folks across the state to brainstorm how to address the real problems our kids face in public schools. We have upcoming events in Charlotte-Mecklenburg County on Aug. 13 (register here); Wake County on Aug. 15 (register here) and Johnston County on Aug. 16 (register here).

We didn’t hear anything from parents about the phony divisive culture wars pushed by the media and right-wing politicians. We heard about schools crumbling, leaky roofs, expensive supplies for parents, and overstressed teachers leaving the profession.  

Public schools are essential to our democracy. They are the last remaining structure of our social safety net. They are natural hubs where communities connect around a common goal, a positive goal – educating our kids.

The aim of this project is to build teams of public school parents, students, educators, and supporters to organize at the local level with effectiveness and staying powe

Down Home member Courtney Crudop at the General Assembly in Raleigh.

Medicaid Expansion is so close. We can't stop now.

Outraged at legislators’ inaction over Medicaid Expansion and other items like teacher pay, Down Home NC joined other coalition members from the People’s Budget to create a vigil to remind legislators of the stakes they’re playing as they delay agreement on budget items.

We were sickened by how easily legislators put aside the 600,000 people in the healthcare gap were once again put to the side. So we decided to show up, even when our elected officials decided not to.  

Standing at the entrance of the General Assembly, Down Home member Courtney Crudop spoke about what it means to be self-employed, raising two little ones, and not being able to access healthcare she needed in order to run her business, nor dental care her children needed. She highlighted the pain of having to choose the work she loved or the work that would guarantee her and hers the healthcare she needed. 

This is why we still have to mobilize. And we won’t stop until our lawmakers pass Medicaid expansion. We have new advocacy actions and training starting August 4, in preparation for the legislators’ return to the General Assembly. Let’s keep fighting. 

Want to bridge the divide? Pick up a phone with us.

As we wrap up this phase of our 10,000 Conversations project, and our chapters begin to organize around the local issues and candidates important to them, we should honor what makes Down Home and our members different. 

At Down Home, we are committed to the idea that we have much more in common with our neighbors than the media or politicians want you to believe. We share experiences, hopes, challenges, and opportunities together with other working folks in our community. Those things cross boundaries of race and gender and sexual orientation. That’s why deep canvassing is so important to our work. It brings us into open human conversations that are nonpartisan.

Watch the video above to hear Bonnie, our deep canvass manager, talk about why listening and finding points of common interest is so important. Won’t you consider taking some time to talk with your neighbors about the issues that matter most to them?

We have events happening in counties across North Carolina this month. Click to find events near you!

How much do you know about local government and how to get things done? Take our quiz to find out! Part of our treasured Democracy Series.

For Reclaiming Rural, Down Home Fellow Kiesa Kay writes about Pat Tompkins about the blessings of life at Fork Mountain Farm in the Blue RIdge.