A familiar face around any neighborhood, Seneca Rogers ran for Alamance County School Board with the campaign slogan “We are the neighborhood!”
Seneca was enthusiastically endorsed by our Alamance County members who rallied around him and his children-first campaign. While Seneca did not win a seat on the school board this election, he energized and enthused entire communities not previously engaged around elections and was a voice of reason and kindness in a field of candidates seemingly propelled by extremism and far-right talking points. You can read more about why Seneca ran for school board here.
Down Home’s Sohnie Black recently sat down with Seneca to talk about his important run for office and find out what advice he has for our work and movement. You can read that interview here:
- Why did you run for office? I ran for office because it gave me the opportunity to plant some seeds and to see if those seeds would take hold and grow. The seeds being things that I needed to see in my hometown. Seeds of hope, seeds of seeing that someone from my background- from my side of town- East Burlington, could run for office. Being seen and represented were some of the seeds. I wanted to see myself represented and I was hoping that some of my friends would run for office. They didn’t do it, so I realized that I would have to do it myself. Some of the results of my effort did take hold. People began to reach out to me, to take an interest in who ran for office, to ask important questions about our schools and the future of education in our county.
- What have you seen at your Board of Ed meetings? I’ve seen lots of tension and one upmanship. I see fighting and bickering over petty things that don’t necessarily have anything to do with our kids’ education. I’ve also seen outgoing members speak their mind without fear or hesitation because they had nothing to lose.
- What do you anticipate in the coming year from the BOE? Because we have new right wing members and Ms Patsy Simpson is no longer the co-chair the BOE is more conservative than ever. I believe that we will get the status quo – no forward movement on important issues. I’m concerned that Cummings, Graham and Williams will get left behind. I’m concerned about school staff and their pay and that we’ll lose staff and won’t be able to retain staff. I’m advocating for better benefits and pay increases. The underfunding of our schools isn’t just an Alamance County problem, it’s a United States problem. We will fund wars but we refuse to fund education for our children.
- What are you looking forward to in 2023? I’m looking forward to continuing the work that I’ve been doing. I believe in encouraging small actions on the part of community members and growing from there. That’s a way of meeting people where there are. I’m looking forward to continuing to build and grow new relationships and encouraging the community to show up even if they don’t make a comment. Your presence is important. I want people to understand how the BOE meetings function, how the BOE itself functions. I’m going to encourage them to make comments and send emails. I’m looking forward to not being on the campaign trail, not being center stage and in the spotlight. I want to lift others up and amplify their voices.
- What did the Down Home endorsement mean to your campaign? Down Home helped with engagement. They helped me reach people that I never would have been able to reach on my own. They helped me touch people in places that I didn’t have the resources for and to find people tucked away in my county that care about the same things that I care about. It was good to know that a group of people – an organization has your back. The billboard was also pretty great. My parents were so proud to see that.
- How will you continue your work even though you weren’t elected to office this time? I’ll continue doing what I’ve always done – meeting people and building relationships, amplifying community voices and encouraging people to come out and always planting seeds. The school board is supposed to have two community forums per year and they don’t always do that. I’m going to push for them to have both of those forums in 2023 at locations in the community where their constituents live.