Early last weekend, a bus full (and a few cars straggling along) of Down Home members and staff headed north up Interstate 95.
We were on our way to the People’s Action convention in Washington DC. For many of us, it was our first time in the nations capital and for most of us it was the first time to participate in a space so rich with organizing history and community.
Part of our work at Down Home is making sure that our members are given opportunity and access to grow their leadership skills. Rural North Carolina doesn’t need more talking heads or outside professionals or politicians telling them what to do, they need homegrown leaders. And that’s what we have.
For Down Home members, the convention is a time to develop leadership skills. It is also a time for us to connect with and learn with poor and working class people from across the country doing similar work of building power. In DC, we met folks from Kentucky doing tenant rights organizing, folks from Arizona doing electoral organizing, from Pennsylvania doing home repair organizing, people from Nevada, from Kentucky, Alabama, Minnesota… and all the places in between.
“Connecting with people here, seeing folks from all across the country doing this work, made me know that I am in the right place and doing the right thing,” said Christina, a member-leader from Johnston County.
And while we were there, we also took to the streets of Washington, D.C., to let everyone know we won’t wait for change: we are here to make it happen.
Through workshops, our members dug into organizing tactics and discussions of how to grow our movement, reach more people, and bring about more change to our hometowns. We were proud that from communications to deep canvassing, our staff and members lead many of these workshops. We also dominated the Southern Regional breakout by forcing the entire contingent from the US South to sing Wagon Wheel with us 🙂
Above: Down Home members participated in an action demanding that CitiBank divest from fossil fuels. Left: Down Home co-director Dreama Caldwell on state with Sulma Arias of People’s Action.
At the Organizing Revival, member groups such as Down Home made commitments to double their membership and train thousands of leaders and organizers. And through our members, we also committed ourselves to building our organizing infrastructure, to run electoral and issue campaigns back home here in small town North Carolina, and to inspire millions to join our movement with the story of organizing.