Above: A listening session in Ashe County, North Carolina
“People are happy to stereotype us and tell us what they think,” said an older woman balancing her grandson on her knee at a recent Listening Session in Ashe County. “But they don’t seem to want to know what we know!”
Down Home has long made it a foundational practice to learn more about the concerns and values of rural communities through deep listening. This is rooted in our belief that poor and working people are the experts in our own experience and hold the knowledge and know-how to improve our communities. All too often, we don’t have a seat at the table to truly be heard.
At Down Home Listening Sessions, our members make sure everybody has a seat. This past fall, we conducted Listening Sessions across eight counties, diving deep into discussion with over 200 rural residents. Our members guided these listening sessions, with twenty-five members from across the state heading up subcommittees on healthcare, education, housing, and economic justice.
Above: Down Homies went knocking on doors in Vance County recently to invite local residents out to a listening session.
In early 2024, we will be conducting nearly a dozen more listening sessions as we expand our footprint into new counties. Our members will use our learnings from these listening sessions to inform our 2024 Political Platform, slated to launch in March.
“We know what we need, we just need to build the power to get it done,” explained a participant in Person County.